Alaska, the Last Frontier - Summer 2012 travel blog

tour boat

view from the boat

Whitehorse from afar

sea plane

Schwatke Lake

recreation on shore

Miles Canyon

bald eagle

log cabin apartment building

bicycle wheel dome

Our last day in Whitehorse featured the kind of weather we have been waiting for all along - crystal clear blue skies and temperatures that rose steadily in the bright sun light. We spent the morning exploring the area around Schwatke Lake, a lake formed when the Yukon River was dammed, providing hydroelectric power to the city. The name Whitehorse came from the impression early settlers had that the roiling rapids looked the manes of white horses, but now that the dam is here, there are no more roiling rapids. The rapids also complicated the lives of the early gold miners who were schlepping their possessions via the river. Everything had to be taken out of the boats and portaged past the rapids.

We took a boat ride on Schwatke Lake and down the Yukon River into Miles Canyon. The shoreline is lined with walking paths, mountain bike opportunities, places to launch boat and on a gorgeous Saturday it appeared that everyone in Whitehorse was outside enjoying the day just like we were.

We hear that the Alaska Highway is still closed between Teslin and Watson Lake, the route we took here. On the radio people are advised to stay away from the flood zone for a few more days. We've met fellow tourists who will involuntarily spend a few more days here while the waters recede. The route ahead to Skagway is down to one lane in spots we hear and the forecast is not nearly as fine as today's. What adventures lie ahead?

Even on cloudy days we've been having trouble staying up past sunset. Last night we were up past midnight and it was still bright enough to read outside. Ken put aluminum foil over the window near the bed and as the temperature goes down during the night it crinkles and pops. It makes me feel like I am sleeping next to someone making Jiffy Pop. When we arrive in Skagway, Alaska tomorrow the clock will go back an hour and sun rise will be at 3:30am. We know it's summer even though it often feels more like late fall. Now that the satellite dish is working here, it has recorded the morning's Today show before we have gone to bed the night before. It's all rather disorienting!

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