I posted my resolutions a few weeks ago (a little late!) and realized that I had already crossed one off the list. In late March, I flew out to Whitehorse to spend 8 days in the Great White North, a new yearly tradition. Last year, I headed out to Yellowknife to celebrate the end of my graduate program and to visit my best friend. This year, well, I found a seat sale and booked a flight without thinking. To the Yukon!
My mother decided to join me, and so my travel style had to change a bit. Gone were the days of showing up in a city and hoping for the best. I needed a plan. And so, I took out a map of the Yukon, googled some things and cracked open my Lonely Planet Canada guide. And let me know tell you, there is not much information out there for a trip to the Yukon. Luckily, my best friend had spent a month roadtripping in the area last year (where he also got engaged!) and gave me some tips.
So for eight days, we would be renting a car, driving from Whitehorse – a delicious weird Hipster-vibe town – to Dawson City – a relic from the Gold Rush days – and ending the journey in Haines Junction – a town of 600 people and the gateway to the biggest National Park that is jointly looked after by Canada and the United States.
Flying into Whitehorse should be an attraction in and of itself. It is stunning. The city is nestled in between snow-peaked mountains. The air is fresh. It is so crisp that I am pretty sure a few weeks in the North would cure you of any ailment. My mother, having arrived a day early, picked me up in the rental car and we headed to our AirBnB, an adorable basement apartment with a gorgeous dog to greet us. Shortly after, we headed out for Mexican food at Sanchez Cantina, having stopped at a friend’s place for a drink and an introduction and a bewildered – “you came to Whitehorse in the winter?!”
Yes. Seat sale. Remember?
The next day, we headed out early to Dawson City. The drive was long, but the road was wonderful and well-maintained. It was such a gorgeous drive. On the way, we stopped at Braeburn Lodge for the famous cinnamon buns. The cinnamon buns was actually larger than my head. No joke.
Dawson City is unlike anywhere I have ever been. Imagine you are in a Western movie with Clint Eastwood. This is Dawson City. But with snow and some mountains. But the vibe of the place felt like a forbidden ghost town. I half-expected a duel to erupt in the middle of the streets. And of course, we did the Sour Toe Cocktail. I’m still a tourist and I love me a gimmick. For the full story, read it here: And yes, my certificate is proudly hung up in my apartment (please note, I don’t have any of my diplomas hung up) and the membership card is safely in my wallet.)
We left Dawson City after a night of chasing the Northern Lights and headed to Haines Junction where we spent the majority of the time eating chocolate in the lounge, venturing out for hikes and watching Family Feud. Mom-speed. Haines Junction is a tiny town with a great veggie burger, Yukon beer and stunning, overwhelming views of the park. I could live my whole life staring at these mountains and never get over the wonder.
The end of the trip saw us back in Whitehorse to drop Mom off at the airport, and I hung out in Whitehorse, at an adorable hostel, and ate noodles, and a phenomenal kale salad at the Dirty Northern Public House, reading a book and drinking more Yukon Beer.
I flew out the next day, already missing the winter air and the beauty of my second territory. Nunavut, I’m coming for ya next year. Get ready.
A few things I need to add. One, Air North may be the best airline I have flown in a long time. First, two FREE checked bags. Second, the food was terrific. For a vegetarian, airline food is normally gawd-awful but this was the stuff of dreams. Plus warm cookies. And terrific coffee. Third, the Yukon isn’t as expensive as everyone thinks it is. Fourth, although it was cold, it never felt like it was freezing. I think this has to do with the mountains and the lack of humidity. Fifth, everyone will wonder why you go at the end of March. I honestly thought this was perfect timing, except for a few things – some businesses were closed, and I didn’t get a chance to take a helicopter ride. Sixth, hot guys on tinder. Didn’t get a chance to meet any of them (mom-trip) but seriously hot and outdoorsy. Seventh, highly recommend renting a car. Eighth, pack layers. I felt like I had enough. Bring warm boots. I bought these terrific Merell boots before leaving. Game changer. They were warm, water-proof and easy to hike in. Ninth, Go to the Yukon. You won’t regret it.
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