Normally when we get to a city we head straight to a supermarket, stock up on food and gas, email the family and hit the road. But Whitehorse was different. We were waiting for our replacement windshield which ended up taking a couple extra days to arrive so we had no choice but to explore Yukons largest city…but with a population of an English town it seemed laughable to call it a city.
The sun was shining so we headed a couple miles south of the city to a dam in the Yukon River. From there we scrambled up a hill which gave us a superb vantage point across Schwatka Lake. It was all shades of blue as the sun and clouds hit the surface. The lake was surrounded by forest and at its far side took a very narrow path wiggling its way like a snake through the woods. There were so many trails leading in all directions that we decided to come back the next day for a more extensive hike.
So we spent the next morning going up and down hills where we had more great views across Schwatka Lake and the nearby Hidden Lakes which were kettle ponds and a much darker, navy colour. It was such a lovely area to walk, trails led us alongside the lakes and high above them and it was just wonderful knowing that we were in the wilderness but so close to a city, what a cool place to live.
The weather was superb with clear blues and warm enough that we started eyeing up Schwatka’s clear waters for a dip. Craig was the first to brave a plunge and managed to do numerous dives as appose to our normal jump in, scramble out and wonder how long hypothermia took to set in. I slowly joined him and it was lovely and refreshing, just what we needed!
In the afternoon we explored Miles Canyon, also just a few miles from the city and a stunning spot. A bridge led across the fast flowing river as it funnelled down a narrow area with steep walls. On each end of the canyon the river widened and looked more like lakes than a river. As the sun slowly lowered the canyon walls took on an ochre tone against the emerald Yukon River.
The city itself was pretty enough with a lovely waterfront and some quirky cafes and shops amongst old wooden buildings. There were quite a few homeless people but that’s the case with most cities. I think Whitehorse would be quite a nice city to live in actually. We ended up staying a few nights at Walmart, which is renowned for being a campervaner’s best friend when in a city. But we have never seen a Walmart quite as busy as the one in Whitehorse, it was literally like an RV park. But it was a free, handy place to stay and we always appreciate that.