After two exhilarating days in Atlin, we headed back North of 60 to Takhini Hot Springs, half an hour north of Whitehorse. This hot spring brought back some memories of our numerous hot spring visits in Japan, and was the hottest developed hot spring we had been to in Canada. We relaxed here for the day in preparation for the long drive the next day up the Klondike highway to Tombstone Park, 500 km north.
The Klondike highway follows the Yukon River from Whitehorse to Carmacks and passes near Five finger Rapids, the trickiest part of the river journey for the steamships that traveled between Dawson City and Whitehorse. The rapids are the only area downstream from Whitehorse that has been altered by man to improve the navigability of the Yukon River. This involved adding a cable that allowed for extra control of the steamships when going downstream through the narrow channel, as well as to provide extra force when going upriver.
Another few hours North of Carmacks is Klondike junction, where the Klondike River meets the Yukon River. This is the start of the Dempster Highway, a 750km dirt/gravel road that connects Inuvik with the rest of Canada. We drove 72km up the Dempster to Tombstone Park. Tombstone Park is in central Yukon and was one area that was not glaciated during the last ice age. This has resulted in V shaped valleys, with craggy mountains and is also the northern boundary of the tree line. 20km north of the campground was the start of the tundra that continues North to the Arctic Ocean. Tombstone has over 8000 years of human history as it is a rich area for migrating wildlife, with its own resident herd of caribou as well as the southern boundary of the large Porcupine Caribou herd that migrates from the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge to the central Yukon and back each year. The location of the herd can be seen at http://www.taiga.net/satellite/index.html.