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Entries about gold mining

Sept 12, 13 McCall, & Warren Idaho

Who knew Idaho would be so interesting, Where are potatoes grown in Idaho, Historic Drive

sunny 22 °C

We found ourselves in paradise here. The McCall RV Resort is the best RV spot we have every stayed in. This place is extremely well kept, the staff very friendly and helpful. There is a hot tub, steam bath, swimming pool, private bathrooms that are beautiful and spacious. They even pick up your garbage right at your site.


Besides that, McCall is a great little town of 3,000 people. The population swells in the summer to 16,000 with summer visitors. Lakes, hiking, river rafting, boating, fishing...it is all here. Then it quiets down in the fall, but zooms right back into tourist mode for the winter, skiing, snowmobiling, etc. fill out the population once again.

Who knew? We didn't. Idaho was not in our plans until the wildfires pushed us a bit more east than we had planned. Couer d'Alene was an eye opener, as was the drive south along the Salmon River to get to where we are today. Scenery that will knock your eyes out.

Today we spent the morning on a walking tour of McCall. We had coffee at Mountain Java, down by the lake.


While walking along the lake we talked to a lady about to go paddle boarding, and she told us about a gold mining community 40 miles out into the wilderness, Warren, Idaho. We went to the local forest service office and they gave us a map, along with a CD and descriptive pamphlet outlining the drive along the Wagon Train Road. That will be tomorrow's adventure.

Some neat sculptures on the street here as well. This one is called the "Bearing Wall"


We had lunch at a local brewery. We shared an Elk Burger and each of us had a brew.


Our Honda with a town building:


We wiled away the rest of the day trying to get caught up on finances, and we have a problem with the cable back home in Aylesford. Arn, Jenny's brother is living in our house for a bit, and we got the cable tv restarted for him, but it has not yet come back on. Some time on an internet chat with Eastlink, and we hope the problem has been worked out.

Wednesday was our day to take the drive to Warren, and perhaps stop in at a Hot Springs in another tiny town out there. Warren has a population of 5 full time people, but in the summer that number swells to 50 or so, plus the tourists who make the backroad drive to see a slice of gold mining history. Back in the 1862 gold was discovered and at one time Warren had a population near 1000. Placer mining came and went, and Chinese came in to work the placer claims at a later date. Over 350 Chinese lived here at one time, they even have their own cemetery.

The drive is through the remains of a 1994 fire that devastated the area. It is still pretty desolate in places.


Along the way is the quaint little spread of house known as Secesh. Near the end of the Civil War, people fled both the south and the north for the gold fields of Idaho (again, who knew all this history existed?) They did not live in harmony with their neighbours and named their area after the Secessionist movement that brought about the civil war.

This is an old Stage Coach Stop on the road to Warren. The town even has a small cemetery, with just 35 graves


The old river bed near Warren itself looks very much like you are in Dawson City, in the Yukon. From 1912 to 1942 dredges gathered the last of the gold from the river. All that is left is some rusted equipment and piles of gravel spit out the back of the dredges. Much of the town has fallen in on itself.


But many buildings have been revived by ancestors of the original miners, and there is a sense of pride in the community in the people we talked to.


An old water cannon, used to blast overburden from the gold bearing dirt stands in front of the local ranger station.


The old one room school still stands. When it was originally built back in the 1860's the N in Warren was backwards and has stayed that way ever since. In 1934 a town meeting decided not to change the error.


On our way back from Warren we stopped for a soak at the hot springs at Bergdorf. This hot spring has been a privately owned business since the 1860's and is rustic and pleasant. The water temperature at the outlet is 113 F and the pool is about 100 degrees F. A nice break from our day long journey. $8 per person is a small sum to pay to soak in the history of the place.


Our time here is at an end and we will soon be moving south, to Twin Falls, for a two night stay. We are getting laundry done and up to date once again.

We have now decided to move on towards Yosemite National Park. There is a change in the weather coming tomorrow, and, although still smoky, the prospects of north winds, and a bit of rain have opened up our plans once again.

Lastly. We will have travelled almost the full length of Idaho from North to South, and have yet to see a potato farm, so we googled where they are grown. The Southeast 1/4 of the state is the potato belt. We will not see that area until a future trip.

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 18:12 Archived in USA Tagged potatoes gold_mining warren_id mccall_id Comments (2)

July 29, 30 - Dawson

Dredge_#4, Cemeteries, City_walk, Convoys

sunny 22 °C

July 29

We were up early and ready to leave Whitehorse behind. We wanted an early start to the day because the r/v park only has two dump stations and the day before there was getting to be a pretty good line up to use them. After getting the glamorous part of camping out of the way (very full grey and black water tanks) we stopped at Starbucks for a road coffee.

Today is the 525 kilometer drive to Dawson City. We've driven this road before and it is pretty tedious, with just a few good stops for scenery along the way. We played a cd of Robert Service's "The Cremation of Sam McGee" as we approached Lake Labarge and we quote from the Klondike bard: "and there, on the marge, of Lake Labarge, I cremated Sam McGee".


We switched back and forth driving on the first half of the trip, where the road is fairly decent and reasonably good time can be made. We gassed up in Carmacks ($1.19 a litre) and headed on. We stopped at the Fox Lake fire memorial and took a walk in the woods to the lookout.
Huge fire that burned for a whole year and finally had to be dug out of the ground in the spring to get it completely out. Lots of mushrooms growing here:

We also stopped at the Montague Road House Historic Site. This was an inn on the road to Dawson:



We stopped at Five Finger Rapids and had lunch at the lookout. Later we stopped for a break at Moose Lodge, and Jenny posed, using her scared face, with this giant mosquito:


After the halfway point the road is at best described as rough, with gravel patches, potholes, and, worst of all, dips. The dips bounce the trailer against the hitch pretty violently, so we were slowed to 35 kph in a few places. Not much traffic on the road this year so we felt fine taking our time. This photo gives an idea of the amount of dust in the rough sections:


We arrived in Dawson almost 9 hours after leaving Whitehorse. We'd booked an R/V park at the south of town and settled in for the night. A thunder shower washed down the trailer for us and the temperature dropped to 8 C overnight, just chilly enough for us to put our heater on in the morning.

We have now seen 18 r-pods on our journey. Across from us is a 2012 173 model, from Quebec...a nice young couple hiking their way around the north.

July 30:

Our day started with a French Toast and bacon breakfast. There are a lot of convoys of Motor homes that come through here in the summer, and monopolize the small ferry across the Yukon River. Today was no exception, and when we got to down town Dawson there were 13 Class A Motorhomes lined up for the ferry. Each ferry run can take only one motor home and 5 or 6 cars, so the ferry line up was at least 3 hours for the very short crossing of the river. The Top of the World Highway is the draw as it allows a loop tour of the Yukon and Alaska without having to backtrack to Whitehorse.

They are on an escorted tour, with guides at the front and and a tail rider at the back of the group to keep stragglers in check. Oh my, we could not travel like that. In their defence, most of the couples on these tours were very much senior, way beyond our years. This 24 unit convoy had formed in Idaho and were on a 60 day round trip that would end when they reached Edmonton in another month. Their motor homes were in the $500,000 and up price range, and most towed a vehicle behind.

DSCF3750 (2000x1125)

DSCF3750 (2000x1125)

There was also a motorized barge, being loaded with equipment and supplies for one of the many operating placer mines in the area:


We learned later in the day there is another 24 unit convoy in Dawson. When we lived in Dawson Creek back in 2005 these massive motor homes piloted by very old people were called "coffin dodgers". It is a bit like a seniors care home on wheels.

We walked up to the Robert Service house on Eighth Street. The poet lived here from 1899 to 1912 and wrote his best work while working for the Bank of Commerce, Here I am sitting on the front porch


Here is the bank where he worked...it still stands today:


On the way we saw this this fixer upper and thought we should buy it and move here...a bit of work involved:


There is a whole complex of buildings, build on permafrost, that have been left to nature, just to show the effects of trying to build houses on unstable ground:



We also wanted to see the local cemeteries, and, after a bit of a search we found them. Some very interesting graves here. The NWMP cemetery is the best kept:




We drove to the top of the dome for a bird's eye view of the area. The dome is the site of an annual party to celebrate the almost continual sunlight on June 21 each year.

In the afternoon we went to see Dredge #4, the biggest dredge to ever work the Klondike area. It is 12 kilometers out of town along Bonanza Creek. From 1940 until it was sunk in a dam burst in 1959 the dredge worked it's way 12 kilometers along Bonanza Creek, by creating it's own moving lake. The dredge dug in front about 10 feet at a time, extracted the gold from the ground it dredged and then dumped the tailings behind it, always moving forward along the creek bed. Fascinating.


In a previous visit we did the Diamond Tooth Gertie's visit for the can-can dancers and the casino and decided not to re-visit them this time around.

Gas prices here in Dawson City are quite high. We paid $1.35 per litre here, which is about $5.18 per US gallon. We hear gas prices in Alaska are running about $3,20 a gallon. Down in British Columbia gas is about $1.19 per litre, or just over $4.00 per gallon.

July Summary:

We are now 2 full months into this trip. We have travelled 13,750 kilometers in total. We have been in 8 Canadian Provinces, and 2 Territories. Our average gas consumption for the entire trip is 16.2 liters per 100 kilometers, or about 14.5 miles per gallon. The Honda Pilot is performing well as a tow vehicle, and handles the 3,200 pound load of the R-pod quite easily. In the past 30 days we have been in two great national parks, Grasslands and Wood Buffalo. We have dry camped less than originally planned, and have used r/v parks more than government campgrounds. We plan to change that beginning tonight with a dry camp on the Top of the World Highway.

The road ahead:

August is a big month for us. 11 days in Alaska, and then down the Cassiar Highway to Prince Rupert. We will stop in Steward BC and Hyder, AK on the way south. We'll spend three days on Haida Gwaii, and then head south though the British Columbia interior to the Okanagan Valley. We expect the end the month with a one night stop in Osoyoos, British Columbia before pushing on to the second half of this trip...3 months in the United States.

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 08:45 Archived in Canada Tagged dawson gold_mining historical_cemetery dredge_#4 Comments (1)

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