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North to Alaska - Full Version - Day 11 (May 27)

Thursday: Still one day ahead of schedule we are headed toward Carmacks on the Klondike Loop Road (Hwy 211 miles). Gas today was $45.83, Canadian. After crossing the Takhini River (Tagish Indian "Tahk," for "mosquito," and "heena," meaning "river") we traveled along Fox Lake where there had been a huge fire in 1998. Then, around noon, we came upon an area where another fire had devastated that area in 1958. By this time there is a baby forest of 20-foot-tall quaking aspens growing close together along with an occasional small evergreen.

We passed the "Montague Roadhouse Historical Site," one of 52 original stagecoach stops between Whitehorse and Dawson City, in service around 1900. While visiting the adjacent restroom Margaret discovered she was sharing it with a sleepy bat. Later we parked the vehicles and hiked along the Plume Agate Trail Road to a snowy stream bank where we found lots of mud and some interesting rocks, but no agates.

After a day of driving through various stages of roadwork, mostly gravel and mud, we reached the Carmacks Hotel and RV Parking, the only game in town, on the Yukon River near the "only" bridge crossing between Whitehorse and Dawson City. Here George Carmacks unearthed a $5 pan of gold at a time when a $.10 pan was considered good. That winter, 1896, he took out more than a ton of gold, and when word got to the outside world it set off the Klondike Gold Rush.

This is a beautiful spot, even though the single unisex bathroom was "not up to Good-Sam standards." After an early supper (parmesan-onion-turkey patties, broccoli and salad with some good Chilean chardonnay we found in Whitehorse) we walked along the river boardwalk and skipped rocks with G & S, then checked out the latest group of digital photos and crashed at 10:30.