Tagged with " Dawson City"
Sep 11, 2010 -

Parks Canada’s Bear Creek Compound

Parks Canada’s Bear Creek Compound is somewhat legendary in Dawson as few have stepped foot in it. Today, for the first time in at least seven years, and possibly for the last time, the compound was opened to the public for a few hours. Checking it out seemed like a good use of my afternoon break!

From the Parks Canada website:

Bear Creek is an industrial complex of some 65 buildings and related structures located in the Klondike River Valley, 10 kilometres east of Dawson City. From 1905 to 1966, Bear Creek was the Klondike headquarters for corporate mining interests, acting as the administrative and repair centre for the goldfield’s dredging operations. These huge dredges worked the goldfields, replacing the small individual miner of the gold rush and ensuring the viability of gold mining as a profitable business up until 1966.

(For a refresher course on dredges, go back to my post about Dredge No. 4.)

Parks Canada acquired the complex in 1975 but because of environmental concerns could not do too much with it. One of the biggest hazards is the mercury that was used in the gold extraction process. The cost of rehabilitating the site to make it safe for the public would be prohibitive. Today, Parks Canada mostly uses the buildings for storage, but there is one garage left for repairing big machinery.

Visiting the compound was an extraordinary experience. The majority of the buildings are in some stage of decay, mostly advanced, and many have artifacts left in situ, as though time has stood still. It reminded me a lot of touring Alcatraz, actually, and the weight of history was incredibly present.

I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to tour the Bear Creek compound. What a way to conclude my stay in the Klondike!

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Canada, Travel, Yukon    3 Comments
Sep 6, 2010 -

Dawson Countdown

I had The Talk with management this week about next summer and thankfully we are exactly on the same page. It was understood from the get go that I would probably not be coming back to Dawson next year, but if I did I would have a job of some sort.

Not coming back to Dawson?

I have absolutely no reason to. I’ve explored the area around here extensively. What I have left to explore would be best done from the more central location of Whitehorse. I’d like to see more of Alaska, drive the Campbell Highway, and tour the Silver Trail, for starters! Much as I dislike Whitehorse, there is no room in this life for sentimental attachments to locations. And in cold hard numbers, not coming back to Dawson means $500 in gas money in my pocket, money that I could apply to taking Miranda with me on some trips next year.

So, I’m leaving Dawson in a week! I cannot believe I’m down to exactly seven days left. It’s boggling, but I’m not in race mode. I’d like to go back to the Drunken Goat if I can, and, of course, Gerties, but otherwise I don’t feel like I’ll be leaving anything undone. My focus is on getting Miranda travel ready.

I will always have a home in Dawson and it is a place I look forward to coming back to several years from now, perhaps with my nephews and niece in tow. I leave with doors wide open and bridges intact, with fond memories of sweet ice cream and panoramic views, and without being thoroughly fed up with the limitations of services at the end of the world. It’s a great way to go. 🙂

The big question now is how am I going to manage my mail from next month onwards. I have a few phone calls to make to Whitehorse and I may end up having my mail held for months in some sort of limbo. I really saw these past two summers that I don’t get much mail worth paying attention to, so that may end up being the cheapest and easiest solution.

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Canada, Finances, Law and Government, Mail, Travel, Work, Yukon    4 Comments
Sep 4, 2010 -

Cat Food Heart Attack

I misjudged how much cat food I was going to need to finish off the season and found myself having to buy a bag here in Dawson. The best place to buy pet supplies is the Home Hardware, so that’s where I went. They carry the small bags of Whiskas, the food my cats eat.

Whiskas comes in three sizes. The small bag is normally about $7, the medium bag about $12, and the big bag about $20. I usually have several medium bags on hand, bought for $10 or less with coupons.

In Dawson, the small bag sells for $15!!! To my horror, I actually heard myself say out loud in front of staff “It’s no wonder I stock up in Whitehorse!”

This is obviously a necessary product; letting your cat starve is not an option! So, I have to wonder if that’s why the price is jacked up so high. I understand the logistics behind getting things here, but pricing up here really does not seem to have any rhyme or reason.

I have to say that much as I love Dawson the appalling grocery situation here is starting to wear on my nerves, especially after seeing how smaller towns in the Northwest Territories have proper grocery stores. I’m really looking forward to replenishing the larder in Whitehorse!

(I’m just grateful I won’t have to buy propane in Dawson this year.)

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Canada, Cats, Finances, Northwest Territories, Personal, Propane, Shopping, Technical, Travel, Yukon    7 Comments