Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Alaska Trip: Part 6

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Motorcoach Industries (MCI) 45'

The trip from Dawson City to Whitehorse was by bus: this was the vehicle and driver that had collected us from Dawson’s airport and would stay with us to Skagway. It was a long haul, scheduled at nine hours with a lunch stop at Minto and comfort breaks at Pelly Crossing and Five Finger Rapids, a distance of 536km, mostly through wilderness.

Yukon panorama

And of course, at the stops were the usual collections

At one – heavily promoted by our tour guide – were the largest cinnamon buns I have ever seen. Four of us shared one and I have to say the centre of it was far better than the outside. I asked one lady to lend a hand to gave a sense of scale.


Of more scenic interest



At Five Finger Rapids there was a steep flight of stairs – and the bus driver issued a challenge to see who could be faster down and up 150 steps – or whatever it was


Someone asked me why I had not taken the challenge: I answered, perfectly truthfully, “It would kill me.”

The steps lead to a path which eventually gets to the rapids. We did not have time to see these close up, but the extraordinary thing is that at one time the sternwheelers had to winch themselves over the riverbed to get through.


We arrived in Whitehorse, and were met by my partner’s niece who is resident there. She had already booked us a table at the best restaurant in town (there is usually a long line up even when there isn’t a bus load of tourists just arrived) and has a small car. After supper she took us out to see Miles Canyon and the Klondike sternwheeler. The bus driver was holding a small competition (the prize being a coupon for a coffee shop in Skagway) – the question being how did the Klondike get to its present location, The construction of the Schwatka dam formed a lake and made navigation impossible, so it was moved in a steel cradle over wooden skids lubricated with soap flakes. Even though we were the only people to actually go out that evening, in the rain, we did not win the prize. But one of the nice things about the North is that you can go out exploring after dinner in daylight.

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The other disappointment was that the trolley was not running – we were too early in the season. So another trip to Whitehorse will have to be arranged.






Written by Stephen Rees

June 13, 2018 at 10:17 am

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