Top of the World Highway to Dawson City – The Road Less Taken
We left Whitehorse by way of Highway 2, north to Dawson City. An abundance of multicolored wildflowers lined the road, making it look like an English rock garden; and vast vistas loomed ahead, with no one else around and no signs of human habitation for miles. We stayed at a state park and a jeep ride took us to a river walk (267 steps down), and an overlook that took our breath away. The road got rougher toward Dawson City, but going slower left time to see the beaver lodges and dams, and a bald eagle at the top of a pine tree.
After settling in at Dawson City we took the jeeps out and found some old mines and lots of old machinery. Way back in, we came across a beaver pond with a large beaver swimming with a piece of wood. When he saw us he slapped his tail and dove under. The guys had some fun in the streams and the jeeps were covered in mud. We later explored the old buildings around Dawson City, marveling at what it took to live here in the winter. We enjoyed the can-can show that night and again ran into some travelers we had met along the way.
The next day we crossed on the free ferry, and set off for Chicken (so named because the residents didn’t know how to spell ptarmigan, a local bird.) Our first introduction to Alaska was some more rough road, but the views of the mountains, valleys, and rivers went on forever. Chicken has a funky little bar, with all sorts of tourist memorabilia tacked all over the walls and ceiling. The evening was shattered by a loud boom, and we discovered a kid had set off an old cannon. Shortly thereafter, there was the sound of gunfire, and someone came into the bar and said they had finally gotten a pesky bear that had been breaking into camps.
It rained on the trip down to Tok, so the coaches got slimed with mud. Be sure to check road conditions before attempting the Top of the World Highway. We heard from some other adventurers after we had passed, that the road had washed out about ¾ of the way across. It did not take the highway department to get it repaired, though.