Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Carcross ~ Yukon

We are on the road again having left Whitehorse and heading south on Highway 2.  The day was overcast with showers so the scenery was not the best for photos but the clouds lifted as the day wore on and we did enjoy some sunshine.

Emerald Lake
We passed by Emerald Lake, “Jewel of the Yukon” that has several pretty shades of blue green water.  The color is created by sunlight reflecting off “mare” which is white calcium clay that forms then settles at the bottom of the lake. Isn’t nature grand?

Welcome to Carcross
Our first stop of the day was the small community of Carcross, current population of 450.  It was originally called Caribou Crossing but due to confusion with the same names being used elsewhere, the name was changed in 1902 to a shorter version of that name.

General store
An RCMP post and settlement was formed during the gold rush days and Carcross was a major boat building center at one time.  Tourism is their biggest draw now, as the Yukon has a lot of great wilderness for hiking and biking adventures.

Carcross Commons
There were not a lot of tourists visiting on this rainy day.  We didn’t go into the town but walked around in Carcross  Commons area for our stop.  The totem poles and artwork that decorates the shops are the best attraction, in my opinion; I enjoy the First Nation art.

Gift stores and shops
Carcross is the traditional territory of the Carcross/Tagish First Nation and they have reclaimed their language, traditions and their culture, which came close to disappearing over the years.  Six Clans now exist here to carry on the traditions of their elders.

First Natiions Art
These are of the Tlingit and Tagish, each with their own distinctive history and represented by the mural facades here.  Their history and way of life of the Carcross Tagish First Nation people are a unique blend of them both.

Carcross Carvers creations
Keith Wolfe Smarch and his son Aaron Grey Wolfe Smarch are considered the “carvers of Carcross”.  This very talented team have done some beautiful work displayed in Carcross.  This is an interesting interview, click here to watch them and see their work.

The Duchess
The White Pass and Yukon Route’s Canadian terminus is here and today there are thousands of tourists who have enjoyed the incredible scenery on the trip to Skagway and back each summer.  The Duchess, here now for display only, was purchased in 1900 to run as the Taku Tram on the 4 km (2 mi) connection between the Tagish and Atlin Lakes.

SS Tutshi remains
The sternwheeler SS Tutshi was built in 1917 to originally accommodate the tourists and then used as a carrier for mail and freight to other communities and mines.  The construction of roads changed the need for that and it was no longer being used in 1955.  It was going through a restoration when a fire destroyed most of it in 1990.

Carcross Desert
One would never expect to see a desert in this countryside, but there it was.  The dunes of the Carcross Desert are not technically in a real desert due to the humidity but was fun to see.  The one square mile of desert is considered the “world’s smallest desert”.  


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