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Dawson City

Yukon - Feb. 2008

In 1898, Dawson was THE place to be. The gold rush was in full swing and thousands of gold seekers came from all across North America to try and make it rich. The city still holds onto the look and feel of a turn of the century frontier town.

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Old fashioned architecture is widespread throughout Dawson and sometimes it is hard to tell which buildings are old and which are new.

Many of the old buildings have been damaged by their own heating systems melting the permafrost underneath, causing the entire building to shift as if in a drunken manner.

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During the summer, the only way to travel north from Dawson is to take the ferry. In the winter, it is a lot easier with the temporary ice bridge.

Along the ice bridge, someone has built an Inukshuk out of ice blocks.

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I had the opportunity to take a helicopter ride over Dawson while filming the Yukon Quest sled dog race.

Looking down on the entire city.

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Surrounding Dawson is a great, vast expanse of wilderness that can only be fully appreciated when viewed from above.

The extreme cold here causes the trees to remain covered in frost & snow for most of the winter.

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Looking down to the river's edge in town.

Dawson from above.

 

Winters are long, dark and cold in this part of the world and Yukoners have a reputation for being a rugged, tough folk who can survive just about anything. One thing they like to do up here is drink, but they have a certain style... They like to put disgusting things into their drinks and then challenge visitors to try it. The rules go something like this: Take perfectly good alcohol, drop in some unspeakable severed body part, then chug it down, making sure that the body part touches your lips... I don't make this stuff up.

Of course, I had to try two of the more extreme examples.

The Sour Toe Cocktail:

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This one is world famous. Yes that is a real, severed human toe. They keep it stored in salt so that it stays dried out. This thing is NASTY looking.

It really looked a lot worse than it was. If you really are interested in trying it out, you can learn more about it at the sourtoe website.

 

The Dog Ball Highball:

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The Dog Ball Highball is not a usual menu item in Dawson. I was attending a party at Bombay Peggy's and some of the people there were raising money for the local humane society. Yes those are real dog testicles in the glass.

A shot of Yukon Jack whisky and two, really disgusting looking dog testicles. I hear that they came from a husky mix. I wonder if this is what happens if your sled dog doesn't pull his weight!