Exploring Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada

Steve & Inga on the Yukon River

“I’m completely bushed”, I said emphatically. We had just spent two and half weeks tracing the Klondike gold rush trail from Alaska to the Yukon, testing ourselves against the elements and spending 14 nights in a micro-mini tent. Our adventure began with a ascent from sea to summit on the Chilkoot Trail, followed by a canoe trip on Yukon River from Whitehorse to Carmacks, in remote wilderness with limited road access. Ending our trip back in Whitehorse we were ready to pamper ourselves.

Historical Guest House B&B

Instead of usual nondescript, functional hotels we’ve stayed in previously, this time we treated ourselves to the Historical Guest House Bed and Breakfast. This charming B&B, was built with hand hewn-logs in 1907 by brothers Mike and Tony Cyr, who themselves had hiked over the Chilkoot as gold seekers. Tony and his wife, along with their son Laurent lived there for many years. This would have absolutely no significance to the average American, but we had pulled our canoe up on the riverbank to enjoy a sun dappled picnic at the site of Laurent Cyr’s gold dredge a few days earlier and felt a special connection to sleep in the same house as the Cyrs after following in their footsteps and paddles.

Takhini Hot Springs

Feeling chilled to the bone after the last few cool, drizzly days on the river we headed to the outskirts of town to the Takhini Hot Springs for a long soak. Natural hot springs feed a large pool at the deep end which is quite warm compared to the shallow end. We eased into the warm water feeling the aches and pains from the last two weeks of intense physical effort dissolve, and our disposition relaxed.

Klondike Salmon & Rib House

Back in town we were more than ready for our first non-freeze dried meal in many days. We proceeded to our favorite restaurant, the Klondike Salmon and Rib House, where we often eat when we’re in town, sometimes every evening meal. I devoured my first salad in days savoring each crunchy bite of fresh greens, sweet tomatoes and crisp cucumbers lightly coated in vinaigrette. The fresh arctic char, grilled to perfection, was delectable accompanied by creamy mashed potatoes and crisp sautéed vegetables. We washed it down with Yukon Gold ale and had just enough room to share a huge slice of homemade berry pie. We reminisced about the highlights of our wilderness adventure, debating the size of the bears and lynx we saw and made plans to complete the next of the river trip from Carmacks to Dawson in two years.

Buckets from the Cyr dredge, Yukon River

Since it was stayed light until 11 pm we strolled 2 blocks over to the river to have another look at the waterway that had provided so many memories and dreams for the future. Returning to town we visited Mac’s Fireweed Bookstore, a place that has absorbed many vacation dollars as they have an outstandingly extensive collection of Canadiana. We selected a few autobiographies to round out our collection of stories of the north, and headed for the Cyr homestead, holding hands and feeling lucky that by sharing adventures we strengthened our connections with the north and each other.



Related Articles

Planning your Chilkoot Trail backpacking trip

Planning a Yukon River paddling trip

Canoeing the Yukon River

A Northern Wilderness Adventure-Chilkoot Trail

The thrill of dog sledding


Historical Guest House B&B
5128 5th Ave.
Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada
(867) 668-2526

Klondike Salmon & Rib House
2116 2nd Ave.
Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada

Takhini Hot Springs
Km 10/Mile 6 Takhini Hotsprings Road
Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada

Photos by Inga Aksamit
Published in Romantic Traveling, Fall 2009, Vol 19, No 4.

Sunset over the Yukon River

See related  story, “Bear Encounters on the Chilkoot Trail”, in Travel Stories from Around the Globe, available in the Kindle store: