Touring the Yukon & Alaska with Road Scholar

I’m back on the road again, this time as Group Leader for a 15-day tour of the Yukon and Alaska for a company newly returned to the region, Road Scholar. I worked for them many years ago when they came north as ElderHostel, and it’s great to see them back in a major way.

Participants arrived in Whitehorse over 2 days on 7 different flights and a bus. Most of us met for an introductory dinner on Wednesday night, but our first outing together was for a tour of Whitehorse on Thursday. The first stop was the Whitehorse Fishway. There were no salmon as I’d hoped, but the guide did a good presentation even without them actually being there.

Whitehorse Fishway

Then it was over to the historic sternwheeler SS Klondike for a tour of one of the last vessels from the large fleet than ran the Yukon River.

SS Klondike

We explored the city for a while, then everyone was interested in an optional excursion I suggested, so we went out to the Yukon Wildlife Preserve for the afternoon. The musk oxen are fascinating creatures.

Yukon Wildlife Preserve

Our guide had just explained that lynx don’t have tails because they’re not tree climbers when one of the kittens headed up into the limbs of a pine tree. Kids! 🙂

Lynx mother and kitten

A couple of the mountain goats came down from their high perch to greet the group.

Mountain goats

Cathy and I have annual passes, but to us this is the best time of year to visit the preserve because of the babies. Isn’t this caribou adorable?

Caribou calf

Yesterday we hit the road. The first stop was at the historic First Nations village of Champagne, where my little traveling buddy Nanook got into the scene.

Nanook visits Champagne, Yukon

We took a long walk at Canyon Creek, up the original Alaska Highway tote road to a small Native cemetery with its spirit houses.

Yukon Native cemetery with spirit house

The view from the cemetery, back down the Alaska Highway towards Whitehorse.

Yukon Native cemetery above the Alaska Highway

In Haines Junction, we visited the new Visitor Centre and Cultural Centre, where this wonderful piece of art was pointed out to me.

Mushroom art

With the weather rapidly improving, I made a long detour to Million Dollars Falls, an hour south on the Haines Highway.

Million Dollars Falls

This is a powerful spot.

Million Dollars Falls

On the way back to Haines Junction to check into the Alcan Motel, we saw our first bear, a young black bear crossing the road in front of us. I expect we’ll see many, and I’m hoping for a grizzly or two as we drive from Haines Junction to Tok, Alaska.

This was the view at 05:45 this morning from the second floor where most of my guests have rooms – not a bad way to start the day! Tonight we’ll be a few hundred miles up the Alaska Highway in Tok.

The view from the Alcan Motel in Haines Junction


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