Whitehorse, Yukon, Jan 2017

by Liis Aruvali July. 25, 2017 1235 views

Much like the previous year we decided to start this one cold. Again in the hope of finding northern lights we aimed for the North of Canada this time to Whitehorse in the Yukon territory. As always our intentions of research were greater than the reality of doing so but we did find different type of accommodation for this time around (compared to our usual - airbnb). We rented a car from the airport and had previously made a booking for a cabin in the Sky High Wilderness Ranch for the first night. It is quite close to the city of Whitehorse so we picked up a few necessities (water, snacks, heat packs etc.) from town and got ourselves checked in. The ranch is about 20 min drive from the main road and is quite easy to find. The cabin was super cozy with no electricity, wood burning stove, no running water and no lock on the door!

Because we were so close to the city we decided to go out for dinner the first night. Quick Google and we recognized a name on the top 5 places to go for food which was a couple of blocks away. It was called Antoinette's.. good beer and good food!

After dinner we had a quick siesta and got the fire going in the stove to heat up our tiny little cabin. Just after 11 pm we were ready to go again so we put on pretty much all of the clothes we brought as many layers as possible and figured we can find a place close to the ranch with less trees obstructing our view of the sky. After the second parking lot and having no luck we refused to call it a night and took the main road North towards Dawson city. We drove for about 45 minutes and found a place to park with a clear view of the sky. At this point the temperature had dropped to -40 °C but we didn't have to wait for long, around 1 am we saw what we were looking for - the northern lights.
After the show we headed back to the cabin and got the fire going again before going to bed. Around 7 am we woke up because the fire had gone out and we were both freezing! Started another fire and snoozed until we got a knock on the door saying they will be plugging in our car as it is -41 ° C out and there is a good chance the car wont start.
After getting everything packed up we got the car started with no issues and headed to town to get more supplies. Our next 2 nights were booked in the Adventure Tours Yukon Wild in the Ibex valley. It was a little harder to find but again we had a small cabin booked, same deal - no electricity (this one had solar batteries which gave us light in the evening), stove and of course an outhouse.

We had booked an ice fishing trip with our host but due to the extreme cold he advised us to push it to the following day. He gave us a recommendation for the Takhini hot springs and we headed there instead. On the way we found Yukon Wildlife Preserve so we decided to check it out. We got the tickets and went for a walk. It was around -39° C and we managed to wander for about an hour before it became unbearable.

Mr. Frosty

Mr. Frosty

The best thing you can get for walks in the cold are heat packs for your mittens and socks. They keep the toes and fingers toasty!
The next stop was the hot springs. We had lunch in Cafe Balzam which is next to the hot springs and is incredible! Delicious crepes with a cup of hot apple cider kept us sweet :)
There is a hair freezing competition on every year so of course we had to give it our best shot! The picture is too small to add and it is not mine so whoever is curious you can use the address below to bring up the picture of my awesome partners best work :
That evening our host prepared a sauna for us which was just what we needed after a long day. Made another fire in the stove in the cabin, ham and cheese toasties on the stove and hot (spiked) apple cider. This did also mean that in the middle of the night there had to be a pee run. The outhouse was around 30 meters from the cabin, in the middle of the wilderness, no lights and we heard wolves hauling in the night... but we made it!
The next day started very much like the previous one...woken rudely by the brisk cold air in the cabin around 7am, so again another fire was made to keep us snoozing away for another hour or so.
We had a snowmobile trip booked for today in the Sky High Wilderness Ranch and we had agreed with our host that if the weather warms up we can go back for the fishing during the day.

After the snowmobile tour we went for lunch in the Burnt Toast in Whitehorse town which was an awesome spot. Since the temperatures refused to budge throughout the day we went for a drive on the Alaska Highway instead of fishing.

Again in the evening we were lucky enough to have a sauna and the apple cider to heat up our bones. This time we thought we were sneaky and added more wood in before bed to keep us toasty hopefully longer..nope.. about an hour in we were both sweating bullets and had to cool down the cabin by holding the door open for a while so we could actually fall asleep!

The next day we were already going home. It was a lovely day again and we were lucky to spot wildlife on our route back to Whitehorse.

It was nice to be able to get away from it all, no cellphone signal, no internet outside of the city, fresh air and silence (well, except for the wolves). Definitely a brilliant place to visit if you are not afraid of cold :)

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