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Revisit the Yukon Gold Rush; Dawson City, Canada

Few places in Canada have captured travelers’ imaginations like Dawson City. Home to the Yukon gold rush, it remains a throwback to the past. Over 100,000 people flocked here at its height in popularity, hoping to tap into one of the largest and wealthiest gold mines in history.

More and more visitors head here each year. Some come for a slice of history along wooden boardwalks and Gold Rush era wooden boardwalks.

Others… not so much. Backpackers come for extended outdoor trips through the Yukon while road warriors use Dawson City as a base for driving along the Dempster or Top of the World highways into Alaska.

Regardless of why you’ve come to Dawson City, there’s no denying this town is the real deal. Rough and ready bars filled with hardened locals line the main thoroughfares, while blisteringly cold winters – which can get as cold as -76°F (-60°C) – ensure Dawson City will maintain its frontier feel for generations to come. Continue

Watch the Northern Lights; Northern Canada

The aurora borealis – also known as the “Northern Lights” –  is an uncommonly beautiful tapestry of color spread across Northern Canada. Reds, greens, blues and whites all stream across the night skies; sometimes like faint wisps, other times an explosion of color all seemingly from a central point.

What causes such a display?

Its origin has been argued for centuries. Originally thought to be produced by the sun’s reflection on ice (sort of like an extreme rainbow), popular consensus shifted to the collision of gas particles between the sun and earth’s atmosphere.

The different colors represent various gases: low atmospheric oxygen- roughly 60 miles (97km) from earth’s surface –  produces yellow, while high altitude oxygen produces red and nitrogen produces blue.

Other interesting – though entirely implausible – theories include vapors from ore deposits, reflections from campfires and the spirits of local hunters and/or animals. Continue

Hike Kluane National Park’s Icefields in the Yukon

Kluane National Park is home to some of the Yukon’s most beautiful – yet inaccessible – mountains. There are no access roads to the park, meaning you’ll most likely walk through the eastern section only (the west is near complete back country).

While you may not see all of the park, what you do see is among Canada’s finest scenery. The St. Elias Mountains run through the park; the most famous of which are the Icefield Ranges which include Mount St Elias, Mount Logan (the highest peak in Canada) and Mount Denali, the highest peak in all of North America.

Collectively, these make up the second longest coastal mountain range in the world, behind the Andes in South America. Another impressive stat: Kluane contains the second largest non-polar ice field in the world (behind Greenland).

All this awaits you… if you’re willing to hike to it. Continue