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    T r a v e l R e p o r t-S e i t e  4
 
 
 
M e n u e
 
 
 
   
 
   
The Yukon: In the Footsteps of the Gold Rush
 
 
 
 
 
Not all the buildings have been done up for the 100 years celebrations. In fact, some contemporary witnesses seem to await the final collapse.
 
 
 
 
 
In the beginning, the prospectors were still using shovels and panning trays on the riverbanks of the Klondike, but with time, the machines got bigger and more extravagant.
 
 
 
 
 
These dredgers then ploughed through the entire valley, all the way down to the bedrock. A lot of water was used to break up the ground and wash the soil.
 
 
 
 
Unfortunately, all the topsoil was lost in this way, and the whole Klondike Valley was turned into a gravel-strewn desert. Today, very little gold is sifted from the Klondike's tributaries. Instead, the large companies, especially the Japanese ones, have started to sift through the hills with big machines, right where the Klondike is said to have run before the hills existed.
 
 
  Three days later, we say good-bye to Dawson and continue on our journey. Few canoists go further than Dawson, and from now on, the river is noticeably quieter.
 
 
 
It's not always easy to find suitable trees to make it harder for the bears to get to our food.
 
 
 
 
 
After a few days, we reach Eagle and thus Alaska. We get our entry stamp at the post office without any further formalities, and fill up our galley at the general store.
 
 
 

Just before Circle, the steep banks disappear and the river becomes visibly wider. Numerous flat islands herald the beginning of the Yukon Flats. As we've only just started to navigate with a map and compass, we don't notice until much later that in this area, the compass deviation due to the magnetic declination, i.e. the difference between the geographic North Pole and the magnetic North Pole, is around 27 degrees.

A few kilometers before Fort Yukon, we cross the polar circle. When there's no wind, the thermometer shows over 30 degrees Celsius in the shade. We land among the Indians' dilapidated huts and replenish our supplies at the well-stocked store.

 
 
 
 
Today, after 44 days of travel, we celebrate half-time. I've built an earth oven on the riverbank and baked a lemon cream cake. We're right on schedule and, as the weather's perfect, we are confident of reaching our destination.
 
 
 
 
A short while later, we arrive in Beaver. We can tell by the salmon drying in the sun on neatly lined-up racks on the beach, and the moose antlers mounted on a totem pole, that the cultural life is still fairly intact here, in contrast to some of the other Indian villages we've visited. There, we had got the impression that the cultural life revolved mainly around the liquor store. We buy a frozen king salmon, which is going to feed us for the next 2 days in the form of salmon soup, salmon steak, salmon fillet and home-made smoked salmon.
 
 
 
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Last update: 03/14/09
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