Dawson City, the Wild Wild West

The Yukon, in its entirety, has a population about the same as Hamilton's. I still can't really get my head round that.

Wandering round Dawson City is like being on a film set or a theme park, with its Wild West saloons and stores and raised wooden sidewalks. We went to Diamond Tooth Gertie's Gambling Den last night to see a can-can girl show. I loved it- reminding me of my P5 teacher Miss Cunningham and all our school shows! Neil was inveigled up to dance on stage (my dad will go pale at the thought of that). We had made the rookie mistake of sitting in the front row! Neil is now famous in Dawson and had people recognising him in the street today. Small town joys! At least he got a garter for his troubles. And I got photo evidence!!

Today we hiked up the mountain overlooking the town (Midnight Dine), visited the First Nations cultural centre and drank coffee and wine in some very quirky bars- each one more individual than the last and with plenty of eccentric characters to go alongside.

The free public service bbq at lunchtime was also a great occasion to chat to some other people and enjoy great food.  Eager for some exercise after a day in the car I went along to the Dawson City Masters swim session and turned out to have the entire pool to myself, which was just beautiful. Dawson made us feel so at home in 24 hr that we are really glad to be staying here a few more days.

We wanted to paddle on The Yukon river but were told the water levels were too high so instead we opted to hire a bike and ride out on the road to come back via the 33 km ridge line trail, an old road from the gold panning era, with bits of interesting kit and machinery to see. The guy in the hire place declared this to be too far and 'infeasible'. I know a challenge when I hear one!! In the end it was a beautiful trail with great views. We celebrated a big ride with ice creams and fish tacos at Klondike Kate's.

Saturday we were lucky enough to be there for the Run Dawson summer solstice festival, where it seemed like everyone in the Yukon 'community' (which includes Whitehorse, 330 miles away) had turned up to walk or run a 5km, 10km, half marathon or marathon. Neil and I decided a 10km was plenty. I pitied the 10 hardy souls who did the marathon in that relentless heat. We both set off fast and I tried to keep Neil in sight for as long as possible, whilst realising it was only him and 2 other guys ahead of me and no one in sight far behind. I must have slowed a lot in the last few kilometres. Possibly the heat but more likely that I just didn't have anyone to chase. In the last 0.5km I got overtaken by another woman. Neil was first man but I had to make do with second. He won $50 so now a pro runner!! Everyone who raced got a steak dinner and live music so it was a lovely day, even if it did turn out that I was about 5 min slower than I would normally expect to do a 10k and really could have tried harder!!


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