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Yukon - Land of the Midnight Sun
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Yukon - Land of the Midnight Sun
  Yukon Territory Travel Tale

by Lorry Patton
No feeling is quite as eerie as daylight in the middle of the night; no sight as startling as a landscape of glaciers; no sound as moving as utter silence.
A study in contrasts, the beauty of the Yukon leaves a lasting impression on visitors, an impression that might be lost were it not for the profound impact the Klondike gold rush had on the area.
Throughout the Land of the Midnight Sun, the spirit of the 1890's, when the quest for gold reached fever pitch, is very much alive. Visitors can tour goldfields and glaciers, pan for gold along legendary creeks, spend days exploring historical buildings and evenings watching vintage- style musical shows.
In the Yukon, paved and gravel roads crisscross fields of wildflowers, deep canyons and a desert. These roads and the towns they pass through might not exist today had it not been for fortune-hunters lured by the Klondike gold rush.
Dawson was once the largest city west of Winnipeg and north of San Francisco, with a population of 40,000 during gold-rush era. And even though the numbers have shrunk dramatically--to about 1,200 year-round residents-- the city is well maintained and preserved in turn-of-the-century charm, thanks to the efforts of the Yukon government and Parks Canada.
Many buildings, including the Palace Grand Theatre, the post office, the commissioner's residence, Madame Tremblay's store and Diamond Tooth Gertie's Gambling Hall, have been restored.
During the flurry of the gold rush, Whitehorse, now Yukon's capital, was developed. It became the terminus connecting Skagway and bustling Dawson with a sternwheeler on the Yukon River and a train at the White Pass Railroad. Today, Whitehorse is still a transportation center --the Alaska Highway passes through it.
But it is the untamed beauty of the Yukon that attracts many. In Kluane National Park in the territory's southwest corner, a great icefield more than a mile deep at its center, forces tonnes of glacial ice down valleys, creating spectacular formations. (For the best view of the huge area, air tours are available.)
For those craving a more active past-time, 150 miles of hiking trails, which cater to both novice and expert hikers desiring day trips or overnight treks, cut through tundra, sand dunes and lush forests full of birds and animals.
Good roads, including the Alaska Highway, make it easy for motorists to travel around the territory. Air service to most of the larger Yukon communities is available, and vehicles can be rented in Whitehorse, Watson Lake and Dawson City.



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