We leave the colorful, eclectic buildings of Dawson behind.
The road out of town is a straight shot. The roadsides are lined with tailing piles and dredge ponds.
It’s a long ways to Whitehorse, so we put some miles behind us. Tyndall wants to do 120k. It is early in the day and I am unwilling to commit to that just yet. Soon, a tailwind kicks up and we are cruising. It’s hard to stop.
This is empty country, and the towns are few and far between.
We’re nearing the end of our second long day and I pause to look back. Smoke is billowing into the sky, somewhere around Stewart’s Crossing. I think of friends in Anchorage. From what I can tell, it’s been a smokey hot summer there.
We spend the night at Pelly Crossing. Helicopters shuttle firefighters back and forth well into the evening. There’s a community garden with an herb spiral. Someone must know a little bit about Permaculture, I think.
It’s a hot day. The sun beats down. We want to get to Carmacks, but can’t take the heat. A dirt road leads down to a fish camp on the Yukon. No one is fishing today, so we take advantage of the spot and spend the night. There’s a small stream that empties into the Yukon that King salmon travel up.
Tomorrow we say we’ll get an early start to beat the sun, and I have heard there are cinnamon buns at the Braeburn Lodge.
An early start means we get to share the road with wildlife. There’s a brown bear up the road behind us, and a black bear down the road in front of us. Bunnies hop across the road, unconcerned. We take their cue and sneak by.
We race thunder clouds and horse flies to the Braeburn Lodge, and eat on the porch as the wind kicks up. The storm passes us by, and the sun comes back out. The next day, we intend to get to Whitehorse.
In the morning, we pedal out under smokey skies. Ground squirrels stand at attention along the road. I scare up two elk.
Three miles from the intersection with the Alcan, hot springs distract us. A hot soak melts away five days of accumulated road dust.
We arrive in Whitehorse and follow neighborhood streets to dirt trails.
Trail maps showing miles of singletrack entice us. Tomorrow is for exploring.