This month’s Route Finder looks at the route made famous by the last great Gold Rush of the 19th Century – The Klondike Gold Rush 1896-1899. Seattle, Washington State to Dawson City. It may seem a straightforward trip north west but at 2104km as the crow flies it isn’t just the distance that throws up challenges.

 

 

expect to see beaver, elk, caribou, moose, muskrats and if you’re lucky wolves and bears both grizzly and the smaller black bear. Whenever wild animals are involved it’s absolutely essential you respect them, give them plenty of space and never surprise them, for wildlife safety advice speak to your outfitters. They provided us with a ‘Bear Attack’ crash course and two cans of bear spray – an ultra potent type of mace that they assured us would do the trick if you were to ever need it.
The Yukon is still alive with culture and you can still see evidence of the Klondike Gold Rush all along the banks of the river. I thoroughly advise stopping at Hootilinqua to visit the relic of an old paddle steamer that ran aground there and also a pit-stop at Carmacks where you can re-stock on any essential supplies and have a friendly chat with the locals who own the campsite there. I wouldn’t however recommend spending too much time in the centre of Carmack which regrettably seems to have a rather hostile indigenous population. We had a bad experience with a couple of inebriated first nations chaps who didn’t much care for outsiders. However, with a little diplomacy we diffused the situation and heading back to camp were very much looking forward to hitting the ‘Five Finger Rapids’ the next day.