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Whitehorse, Yukon to Watson Lake, Yukon

posted Jul 29, 2009, 4:09 PM by Paul Gareau
We just finished a nice 5 day ride from Whitehorse to Watson Lake. Lukily, we ended up having a great tailwind most of the time that made the days much easier. It's been pretty hot, with today's temperature around 89F/31C, and the forecast is for more of the same. Watson lake is 16 miles off-route for us, so we wild camped at the start of the Cassiar Highway and rode into town to get on the Internet and to shop for our next 4 days worth of food. Tomorrow we'll ride down the Cassiar highway to Boya lake for a rest day, then it will be about 8 more days of riding to get to the Junction of Route 16, which will take us through Prince George and into the Canadian Rockies.
Chris had his first flat of the trip at the end of our first day from Whitehorse (my first was a few days into the Dempster). We also met yet another rider who is doing the Pan American highway. He had started in Florida, and was headed up to Alaska before turning south again. While we were in Whitehorse, we met a couple who is also doing the PamAm, with their 8 year old daughter, and we've heard from some other North-bound travelers about Axel, the PanAm rider from Argentina. That night, we filled up our water bottles and bags at Jake's Corner, then wild camped a few miles down the road. The next day brought us to Teslin Lake, which had a great government campground. We both went for a swim in the lake, and I was able to get some laundry done at the same time.
At the start of our third day, we stopped at a store in Teslin to get a few days worth of food, and ran in two two German cyclists, who were both travelling separately and in different directions. There aren't too many roads up here, so running into other cyclists is a pretty common occurance. One of the cyclists was Michael from Germany, and we ended up riding with him for most of the day. Chris and I hit our daily distance at Smart River, which ended up being a great spot to camp. A local family was there and gave us some hot dogs, tea and yogurt. We also found a bridge that was great for jumping off, and got our swim in for the day.
Note: Argh! The only internet access here is at the public library, and we were just kicked off the computers. More later...
Update: OK, we rode a little further into Watson Lake to "Campground Services". They have free WiFi and free computer access. They rule, and we'll be buying our food here to thank them.
Chris and I had been surprised by how good the scenery was so far on this part of our route, but our fourth day surpassed the rest. We rode through some great rocky and snow-speckled mountains and we reached a nice lake just as we hit our target milage. Just as we had reached the lake, we met two woman who were riding in the other direction. They had come up the Cassiar, and gave us some good tips for that leg of our trip. 
Chris has been working on cooking pancakes and bannack (or fry bread) since we were in Dawson. He made the best bannack ever that night, and some great pancakes the next day with some wild strawberries I had picked. We're not sure if we should blame the wild strawberries we've been eating, but we've both had some stomach problems, and yesterday I was hardly able to eat. Liquids were OK though, and I drank a lot of Kool-Aid to give me energy for the ride. Today I feel better, but not quite 100%. Hopefully by tomorrow I'll be back in riding shape.