June 2, 2008

Klondike Highway - Carmack & More!

The Klondike Highway resembles the Alaska, but is a bit narrower, and at least initially, smoother. The travel guides and books al agreed on a “must stop” just north of Whitehorse – Mom’s Bakery. Located near the end of a small, curvy dirt road we arrive only to find they’re closed (it’s not quite “season” here, Eh!). Not being one to be easily discouraged, I found the back door, gave a knock, and sure ‘nuf, none-other than Mom herself answers with a warm greeting. Explaining our situation, and the departure from the Highway, just for a loaf of her wondrous treat, she obliged by bringing forth a piping hot loaf of “fresh from the oven” rye….”cooked for the family”. Wow, the smell permeated the truck within minutes, forcing an emergency pullover for a mid-morning snack. My mouth is still watering!
The artsy Native Peoples community of Carmacks was founded by THE legendary George Carmack, finder of the “Discovery Claim” (the largest single strike in the Klondike http://www.pc.gc.ca/lhn-nhs/yt/dawson/natcul/natcul6_E.asp ). One knows that art is dominant here just by taking a close look at the intricate mosaic on the community sign.

The town is home to the Tage Cho Hudan Cultural Center. Staffed by a couple of knowledgeable young Native ladies, we were given a personal tour which included a complete history of the Peoples and the area prior to the 1898 Gold Rush. In addition for being known for the Native art, especially the intricate leather and bead-work, the local streams are home to a large source of jewelry grade agate.

And if that isn’t enough, the town inspired the writing of a Wilson Pickett song (no, I can’t figure out what he was doing up here either!).

The Highway has the only remaining Roadhouse from the Gold Rush, still standing on what was originally the Overland Trail, without the help of any restoration or preservation.