Dawson City: The Golden City

Home of the Sour Toe CocktailDawson TalentVintage General Store Our First Wolf SightingIce Cream ShopA House Amongst the RiversMinning TownOld WestOld West IIVintage PortraitBicycle ManFestival Coming UpWild FlowerKlondike EverythingCud EastboundJoey O'NielDana SiposTonight Great MusicAfter the ConcertInside the WestRock StarRock StarWe Built this WestminsterRocking at the WestminsterRocking at the WestminsterFun at the WestminsterDawn in DawsonPoetry LivesPoetry LivesKan KanGold PanningAnnika in Training ModeGoldThird Place!Let the Gold Rush BeginDawson CityMartin and his motorbike

Vancouver, Canada, September 2015

It was the center of the Klondike Gold Rush, that began in 1986 and ended three years later 1899. It was the capital of the Yukon, until the Alaska Highway was built and that honor was passed on to Whitehorse a city about 500km south of the mining town.

Dawson City was also home to some of the great poets and writers of our time like Jack London, Robert Frost and Pierre Burton. It is here where Jack London got all his inspiration to write The Call of the Wild and Roberto Service wrote the poem that defined my stay in the north The Cremation of Sam McGee. I like this poem so much, as apparently the entire population of the north, that I decided to share with you the famous first excerpt that can be found in beer cans, a mural in Dawson City and even in restaurant napkins. This poem will automatically take you to Dawson City and by the time you finish reading, Mr Robert Service will have already left a piece of the north in your heart. It goes like this:

There are strange things done in the midnight sun

By the men who moil for gold;

The Arctic trails have their secret tales

That would make your blood run cold;

The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,

But the queerest they did ever see

Was the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge

I cremated Sam Mcgee.

Yet most of this things about Dawson City we had read them before in Wikipedia and in other websites. But nothing prepared us for what we discovered about this little magical shining town.

The Architecture

Klondike Everything

Klondike Everything

When we arrived we felt as if we were riding the Delorean with Marty Mcfly and had arrived to the late 1800`s. The town looked and felt as if it was frozen in time and the gold rush times where on it´s maximum heydays. Even when you visit the beautiful Visitor Center the staff members are dressed in beautiful 1800`s themed clothing. Taverns, barber shops, supermarkets, and restaurants are all inside buildings beautiful vintage buildings recently painted for the summer. Of all the buildings we were able to visit there was one that stoop up from the others, The Westminster Hotel. It was not the most beautiful, nor the most historically important, but by far it was the one that we had the most fun with, since it was the one that housed the best live music club in town. Being that the sun light was present for most of the night, the party here in Dawson seemed to go forever.

Fun at the Westminster

Fun at the Westminster

After our sunny night ended with a couple of drinks on top, we walked to the campground where we were sleeping. The town was empty and the rays of the sun were shining over the buildings as if it was a prolonged afternoon, making the sight a very romantic view. For moments I could feel it´s history just by looking at the dirt road streets and the vintage signs on the walls of the buildings. I then realized I was indeed in a very special place.

Fun with Gold

Annika in Training Mode

Annika in Training Mode

When you arrive to a big town or a city most of the activities for tourists include participating in historical tours of the city, visits to museums, eating at diverse restaurants or signing up for an extreme adventure in the outdoors. Not only does Dawson have that but it also has something very few towns in the world have, a Gold Panning Competition, which of course undoubtedly we signed in to participate (just 10 Dollars each). The entry ticket not only payed for the entrance fee but also for the training. As if that was all, it also payed for the right to keep the gold that you collected in your pan.

The Gold Panning Competition was organized by the township and at different levels, Annika and I participated in the beginners group, but there was also the children´s group, the seniors group and the senior group using a particular pan. The last division had a lot at stake, which was an entry all expenses payed to participate in the international gold panning contest in Spain.

The panning is really fun, but it is hard work. The technique has to do with basically shaking the water with the rocks and sand to sink the gold to the bottom of the pan for it´s recovery. The reason why this works it´s because apparently gold is 16 times heavier that water, so if you were able to get your gold at the bottom of the pan, the chances of finding the nuggets were quite high.

And so after a couple of training sessions Annika and I were ready to rock! The competition was as follows: We were given a pan with some dirt on it, our job was to sink it in the water pools and find the gold. Whoever found the most number of golden nuggets in the least amount of time won the competition. The catch and what we did not know, is that the judges had planted the amount of nuggets and knew how many each of us had. In our division there were eight. To make the story short I surprised myself by winning third place, how fun was that!

Dawson City

Dawson City

But after that I realized how miserable a gold panner life must have been, and how the people who actually made the money during the gold rush where the ones selling the pans and the tools to the people that arrived here.

Finally the Music!

Dawson Folk City

To my delight we discovered that Dawson City houses important talent of the folk genre. It even holds a yearly Folk Music Festival that is very famous in Canada, the best par was that when we came back from Inuvik we were just in time for it! However, before that had happened we attended a small concert in a venue that looked more like a theatre than a concert hall, nonetheless the artists where fantastic. The line up began with Cud Eastbound, Joey O´Neil and Dana Sipos. From song one till the end we were hypnotized with their folkloric rock style. It was like listening to poems that could only be written from people who understood the north, all of them were based either in the Yukon territory or the Northwest.

So ladies and gentlemen I here present to you an opportunity for these artists to expose their talent through our blog.

All together we spent about a week in Dawson City. In that little small town in the north of Canada, we partied, we listened to music, we ate wonderful food, we made friends and we panned for gold.

I am not surprised that even though the gold rush ended here 100 years ago, you can still come here and find riches beyond belief.

Poetry Lives

Poetry Lives in the Morning

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