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.
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?
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.
|Welcome to Carcross|
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.
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.
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.
|Gift stores and shops|
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.
|First Natiions Art|
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.
|Carcross Carvers creations|
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.
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.
|SS Tutshi remains|
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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