Expedition Alaska 2015: The Sourtoe Cocktail & Ferry Crossings ~ Dawson City, Yukon
When leaving Whitehorse we came to a fork in the road, literally. The road that led west was the Alcan and a span of about 60 miles of potholes, frost heaves, gravel and construction (as reported to us from friends who had already traveled it). The road that led north was the Klondike Loop and Top of the World Highway...a longer route that would take us to the infamous Dawson City. We put a message out to our Alaska Facebook group and learned that the roads were in great shape...so long as it didn't rain. North we went.
|Another free overnight spot in the Yukon. This is on the Klondike Loop at MP 142.6 about halfway between Whitehorse and Dawson City.|
|The George Black Ferry crossing the Yukon River.|
|The Downtown Hotel is home to the Sourtoe Cocktail.|
|Jack London's Cabin...Dawson City and Forty Mile were central places in his novel Call of the Wild.|
A stop at Bonanza Market, Forty Mile Gold Workshop and the Dawson City Museum (which is excellent).
We had coffee at the Alchemy Cafe, which also serves some amazing locally grown dishes.
But the real draw was a chance to earn our Sourtoe Certificate. Now, I've known about this Klondike tradition for some time but our friends Jeanette and Eric, from JenEric Ramblings, had beat us to Dawson City and already posted photos of their success with the sourtoe. There was no turning back now. There's no way to explain this without telling your the of the legend.
"The legend of the first “sourtoe” dates back to the 1920’s and features a feisty rum-runner named Louie Linken and his brother Otto. During one of their cross-border deliveries, they ran into an awful blizzard. In an effort to help direct his dog team, Louie stepped off the sled and into some icy overflow—soaking his foot thoroughly.
Fearing that the police were on their trail, they continued on their journey. Unfortunately, the prolonged exposure to the cold caused Louie’s big toe to be frozen solid. To prevent gangrene, the faithful Otto performed the amputation using a woodcutting axe (and some overproof rum for anesthesia). To commemorate this moment, the brothers preserved the toe in a jar of alcohol.
Years later, while cleaning out an abandoned cabin, the toe was discovered by Captain Dick Stevenson. After conferring with friends, the Sourtoe Cocktail Club was established and the rules developed. Since its inception, the club has acquired (by donation) over 10 toes."
|That's the toe they place in your shot.|
Alas, we both earned our Sourtoe Certificates and received applause from the other bar patrons. We made our way, perhaps a little tipsy now) back to the ferry and headed home. Dawson City had lived up to it's reputation, at least in our minds. It was a fun stop that made us extremely happy we had taken a chance on this route.
|Nellie on the banks of the Yukon (Dawson City is in the background). Taken from the Government Campground.|
|Top of the World Highway...remember when our friends JenEric Ramblings said it's be fine as long as it didn't rain? Well...it rained...a lot.|