Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Whitehorse


I left Stewart and the glaciers and made my way back to Highway 37 and turned north  again.  The rains started belting down, so I made an early night of it in a Dease Lake campsite.  I had debated about heading into Telegraph Creek to view the incredible history of that area, but I decided to head on to Whitehorse.


I took a quick trip out to Dease Lake Airport, where an old bird sat waiting patiently.


Being the winter warriour that I am, I have watched more than my fair share of the Discovery Channel shows, and I was looking forward to stopping in Jade City and seeing if there was any spare jade around...

I did have a good chat with one of the shows' stars and I came away thinking that the show that you see is pretty well non-scripted, and down to earth, so to speak.

 From the conversation, I had the impression that the other shows focussing on placer gold mining were somewhat scripted and designed for the audience.  If I ever win the lotto, I will buy a D11 cat and push dirt somewhere, even if it is not on a Yukon gold site...I did learn that some of the jade presently in China originated in BC and area from a very long time ago.  There are reports that Chinese trade coins over 250 years old were found in the area of the jade claims.  Whether the natives were trading with the Chinese, or that Chinese jade hunters  were over here directly, it is an intriguing piece of hearsay history..

Jade City itself has a very large collection of jade pieces for sale, and while I found the prices high, I am not up on the value of jade.  I found it interesting that there was a piece of asbestos displayed, which had come from the nearby abandoned town of Cassiar.




After Jade City, I had the weather and the light to roll onto Whitehorse.  While there were a number of construction delays and some slippery sections where they poured water on calcium chloride, I rolled into a campsite without incident.






Ian and I had seen the Klondike last June, on our way to Dawson City.









I visited the local First Nations Culture center...



The full size canoe was absolutely magnificent..


The samples of beadwork showed incredible artistry and many hours of painstaking eyestrain...



This piece reminded me of a carving I did many years ago....









I wandered out to the airport and the the Transportation Museum.  This DC3 was set on bearings and so finely balanced that the slightest breeze would make it "fly" into the wind...



This girl had served in the Burma campaign during the Second World War...the stories she could tell.





I guess I am not the only guy to name their rides after pretty girls...





The transportation museum was a wonderful collection of artifacts and genuine examples of the machines and equipment that serviced the north and built the huge networks that are required to keep people alive and safe in a country without roads.


Well, not very many roads, at least...
The museum had a good history of vehicles used by the military to build the Alcan Highway: a tremendous exercise in logistics and planning only made possible by the threat of invasion from the east.


Another example of the efforts by volunteers and enthusiasts to keep the history of an industry alive.





Skis for the aircraft were an important component of an all weather service..


I found the rope "springs" on the skis of this bird to be an interesting feature, and probably more reliable than other forms of stress relief..


Another example of the military equipment brought to the north to deal with the muskeg and mud of the AlCan route...




From the Transportation museum, I wandered over to the nearby  "Beringia" exhibit. The folks working there are very knowledgeable and passionate about this time period in history.  I learned about the difference between a mastadon and a mammoth, two animals that I had never thought about before.  In my ongoing quest to better understand the paths by which mankind arrived in this hemisphere, the exhibit is very educational and informative.  I remembered taking  archaelogoy and anthropology courses in univesity, and I have always been intrigued with the prehistory of early man.



In the old days, bison were real bison...



I found the discussion around  the archaeological finds near Old Crow extremely interesting.  Archaeologists are doing fantastic work in the field of early man.


A modern art piece on the outside of the exhibit was extremely well-done, and designed to handle the climate of Whitehorse.






One of the stories from the old people alluded to man-sized beavers who allegedly attacked people...sometimes there is more truth in the old tales.....


On the grounds, the folks had developed a full-size sample of the mammoths who roamed Beringia, the land which bridged the two continents.