Woke this morning to some pretty heavy fog that was somewhat limiting the visibility in and around the river bank we camped on overnight.
Nevertheless we were confident that there was going to be no danger in heading down the river, so we threw together a fantastic breakfast of bratwurst, noodles and oranges and set about packing up camp which was all soggy from the heavy overnight rain.
We pushed off and leaving the fog behind us after a few hours of somewhat blind paddling, we were left with a stunning afternoon with which to paddle (and mostly drift) into Dawson City – the end point to our river adventure.
We marked the closing kilometers and completion of our journey down the Yukon River, by smoking some Cuban Cigars donated to us by Chad’s Dad, for this very purpose, before we took off.
It was an amazing experience paddling into Dawson City, a charming Gold Rush town that hasn’t lost any of it’s character from yesteryear. We hit the riverbank around 2pm and took our time loading up the truck up with everything we pulled out of the river.
Heading into the center of town to the “Downtown Hotel” we checked in at around 4pm and crawled into the ‘Sourdough Saloon’ for a celebratory pitcher or two. The guy on the desk told us there was a jacuzzi in our room complex across the road (we didn’t believe him at first), and also about his passion for winning scrabble words (yes, very random I know) – his latest being ‘QOPE’, supposedly the 19th letter of the Hebrew Alphabet???
The boys and I headed up to our rooms and individually indulged in some long overdue showers. All refreshed and smelling more like human beings, we headed up to the local mountain affectionately referred to as ‘The Dome’ to take in some views of the town and take some shots. It was pretty surreal being able to view from high above, the massive river we had just semi-tamed over the past few days.
But we couldn’t be sitting on a mountain all evening. We had some serious partying to do in a northern town that is well-known for its Summer nightlife. Stop number one – “Klondike Kate’s” for a good feed. Having not seen a female for a good few days, I was wrapped that we were graced with the gorgeous Ashley who waited on our table while we had a damn good feed. The restaurant had a massive map on one of the walls that was littered with push pins marking the home towns of visiting patrons. The paper around South East Queensland was surprisingly clear so I obviously did my bit and punctured the Brisbane dot on the map with a shiny yellow-balled pin.
Next stop on our whirlwind Dawson City pub crawl was a swanky little martini bar called “Bombay Peggy’s“. We relieved this neat little watering hole of a quantity of their liquid stock and moved on to ‘The Pit’ – a low-roofed, rustic live music venue that was pretty empty. Marking it down for a return visit later in the evening, we moved on to the crowning jewel of the town – “Diamond Tooth Gerties“.
Here, Chad bought a round of scotches and Duke, Chris and TJ hit the $5 Blackjack tables. Duke lost $40 pretty smartly, as did Chris. TJ, on the other hand, put everything he was tinkering with on his last hand and won… taking away $110. Some people are just born lucky. I couldn’t believe I was getting away with taking photos in the casino. Try that stunt anywhere else (Vegas, Treasury Casino in Brisbane) and you’d be out with a swift kick up the ass by some bouncer’s size 11 boot.
Having so much fun, we realised that time was getting away from us, so we scooted back to the Sourdough Saloon to experience a legendary tourist attraction in Dawson – the infamous “Sourtoe Cocktail”. I don’t even know where to start in explaining what this was all about. Perhaps a little help from the official ‘Sourtoe Cocktail Club‘ website is in order here:
Established in 1973, the Sourtoe Cocktail has become a Dawson City tradition. The original rules were that the toe must be placed in a beer glass full of champagne, and that the toe must touch the drinker’s lips during the consumtion of the alcohol before he or she can claim to be a true Sourtoer.
The rules have changed in the past twenty-seven years. The Sourtoe can be had with any drink now (even ones that aren’t alcoholic), but one rule remains the same. The drinker’s lips must touch the toe. ” You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow – But the lips have gotta touch the toe.”
The Sourtoes are actual human toes that have been dehydrated and preserved in salt. Swallowing one is not suggested.
If you’re game enough to want to know more about this quirky tradition, check out this video which runs through the entire experience from head to TOE. Haha, I kill me!
With this life-altering experience out of the way, it was straight back to Diamond Tooth Gerties to catch the midnight (and supposedly more risque) Cancan show. We were quite the rowdy bunch of lads and got a few laughs from the audience ourselves. Something tells me they won’t soon forget the night the “Yukon Rush” boys came to town!
Ended the night back at “The Pit” which seemed to be the happening spot after hours… in fact it seemed everyone and anyone we had come across in town throughout the night ended up back there…
Oh what a big night in Dawson! Check out the gallery (below) for all the pics.