Carcross: 10th May 2016
We had lunch; great barbecue chicken, at the Caribou Crossing Trading Post. There, they displayed indigenous animals, both living and stuffed … some of them long extinct. There was also a small museum, with a section devoted to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police … come to think of it, we never saw a live ‘Mountie’ all the time we were in Canada!
There were also many huskies, my favourite dogs, on display. We could have taken a sled ride, but it was a wheeled sled, for there wasn’t any snow. (Regular readers may remember the dogsled ride we took in Norway, the video of with won me a GoPro!) It wouldn’t have seemed the same, so we passed, and just admired some recently-born puppies instead. They told use the puppies were still too young to be taken from their mother, so we resisted the temptation to smuggle one out … our house is really too small for a fully grown husky, lovely as they are, anyway.
Just outside Carcross is the Carcross Desert … who would have believed you’d find a desert this far north? Plenty of sand, though, but rather surreal looking, with firs and pines growing out of it, instead of palm trees.
We stopped for a while at Carcross… originally, it, too, called Caribou Crossing. In the days of the Gold Rush, this was the major transportation hub; the railway runs through here, and it stands on the shores of Lake Bennett, along which a steamboat service ran. And, long before boats and trains, the Chilkoot Trail passed through here.
We checked the ‘SS Tutshi Memorial’; this is the remains of a paddle steamer that used to give pleasure cruises on the lake. It was in the process of being restored, but was partly destroyed by fire in 1990. It’s interesting to know, though, since she was built in 1917 right up until her retirement in 1955, cruise passengers would ride up from Skagway on the railway for a sail on the lake.
There’s also a preserved steam railway engine, the Duchess, as well as some other railway artefacts. The railway still runs through Carcross, and it would be physically possible to get the White Pass & Yukon train up here. But, we drove to Fraser, British Columbia, where the train, awaited us, to take us back down to Skagway.