I agreed to not set my alarm until 6am, but forgot I still had one set for 5:30 and with the time change it was 4:30. Caleb got up to turn it off for me as I was confused by the sound of it. Back to sleep until the sky is bright and Caleb has to go back to the car for our shampoo that we forgot in there last night. We look at the map and local paper and there are plenty of hikes and museums in the area, and other activities that require plenty of walking on our part, especially if we miss the sign or street to get there.
We walk to the Lower Dewey Lake, which we think is just a 0.7 mile trail, short and strenuous, that will take an hour, but we will learn that the hike to get to the lake is that length, and that the walk around the length requires rock climbing gear and carrying Piggy over some of the more treacherous terrain. We will later overhear a conversation about the 2.7 miles around the lake. We might have made it a half mile or so before deciding to turn around.
We water the dogs on the return to the car and leave them there to find breakfast. We are parked at an angle behind part of the Klondike Gold Rush National Park and return to the car for my passport. We get a map and a stamp and then set out for food. We walk into a few cafes – mostly meat filled carbs and icing covered carbs and eventually settle on muffins – chocolate banana and coffee cake, before walking into a café, partly inside a jewelry store, that sells bagels covered in jalapeños and cheese. We order two, one for now and one for later, and a large lemonade that is given to us pink because it has strawberries in it – not too sweet.
We continue walking around enjoying the shops selling jewelry (there are a lot), the historical buildings, and the mountains in the distance. The day is warm – like shorts and long sleeve weather. After walking another couple of miles it’s time to try some Alaska game for lunch. I bite into a caribou burger from the BBQ Shack and Caleb tapes my reaction. It tastes disgusting – like the ones I’ve never liked and have chosen not to eat. Luckily we got two sides with our meal – macaroni salad and coleslaw – to help with the taste.
There are popcorn shops and places selling fudge and ice cream and pizza and we walk into a place selling jerky and jams. A guy is cutting up samples of reindeer and salmon and we try the peppered fish. At first all I could taste was the spice and then the fish taste set in and it wasn’t bad, but the aftertaste was less than desirable. Down the street there is an international store selling packaged foods from popular areas – Britain, South Africa, and the Philippines – that also offers internet and other services.
More walking and we are looking for food to take with us for the long drive back to the continental states. We see a place that sells pizza, but it’s the Sky IPA that keeps us there. We finish our drinks and go back to the car to get the dogs to join us on a walk to the Skagway Centennial Park and then across the footbridge to Yakutania Point and Smuggler’s Cove. I have to carry Piggy across the bridge, but she is fine the rest of the way. There is exercise equipment along the trail and I think about how great it would be to live near something like that.
The walk is considerably short and has a few rocks and lots of tree roots in Piggy’s way, but it’s not until we get back to town that she face plants into a building which is exactly how tired we want both dogs so they can sleep quietly in the backseat. We also saw a quilt store with some fancy patterns, a loom store with everything pre-made or we would’ve bought Caroline something and me the $375 boots if they were in our budget, and a yarn store that sells Quivit for $98 an ounce – also not in our price range, but it’s the thought that counts. They also had dog hair from the sled mushers that would’ve been neat to knit into something nice and warm.
We reach the Canada border, show the puppy papers, and I’m about to drive away when I ask if the agent has a stamp – and she does. She reaches into her pocket and uses the hood of our car for a hard surface. She stamps mine with a dry stamp (date can be seen) and re-inks for Caleb’s passport – his first one not from the United States. We stop to see the Chilkoot Cabin but can’t find it and the suspension bridge is closed when we pass it this time too. Luckily the store we passed going north that was closed is now open and we are able to buy caffeine and Kinder Surprises – something Caleb found out about in Bahrain. Caleb got a Russian cat lady and I got a polar bear.
We’ve seen one black bear, a couple of squirrels, and a rabbit since entering the Yukon. The weather is still warm, dropped ten degrees from Alaska’s 63, and added some wind. We will see another eight porcupines. We drive to Whitehorse to see the Log Skyscraper – a three-story apartment, a log cabin church, and a riverboat. We leave town after getting gas and head west. We will eat dinner in the car – chips and cheese, and feed the dogs on the go. We stop for some views of the mountains, lakes, and sunset.
We arrive in Watson Lake at 11:30 passing the time by having Caleb describe the pictures in 4-photos, 1-word (phone game) and seeing how quickly I could guess them. That, with the help of coffee, chocolate, a Rockstar, and sunflower seeds helped keep us awake. I’m fine when it’s bright out, but as soon as the sun goes away I’m like a bird and want to close my eyes after being awake and active for so long.
We stop at a hotel at the end of town and the rate is $120 if we don’t use the kitchenette or jacuzzi, plus $10 per pet. We drive down to the Dragon’s Den and pay $130 with taxes – our most expensive room yet – and it comes with one pair of slippers in the bathroom or just to wear in the room to keep your feet off the cold tile – a first for us in a hotel.