Day 16 Mileage 2953 kms. Travelled 259 kms from our gravel pit overnight stop to the community of Teslin, Yukon. Before the Alaska Highway was built, Teslin was a remote paddle wheeler outpost where people hunted, fished and trapped off the land. This is a very interesting Tlingit community rich in their culture and proud of their heritage.
We stopped at the Heritage Center and learned a lot about the culture of their people with the help of their Elder Chief. He said we could call him Sam. Teslin derives its name from tas’ten meaning “long sewing sinew” in the Tlingit language. It describes the 148 km or 98 mile long and narrow lake. The citizens there rely on hunting, fishing and gathering healthy foods from the land. They prize the salmon which they say navigate the longest migration run in the world to return to them each summer. Their Oral traditions, Sam told us, spoke of their people travelling from coastal Alaska inland to trade for hundreds of years. Tlingit ancestors began living permanently in the Yukon in the 1800’s. More families arrived in the past century and they now operate as a self-governing First Nation.
From there we went to the George Johnston Museum located just off the highway and displays Tlingit native ceremonial regalia, hunting artifacts and rare local photographs taken by George Johnston, a venerated Elder (Kash Klaa). The story of George Johnston is amazing. He brought a 1928 Chevrolet by steam paddle wheeler to Teslin that had no roads and would taxi people for a dollar on a four mile road he had built. In the winter he painted it all white and drove it on the 98 mile frozen lake to hunt wolves.
The cost for the heritage center was five dollar each and the museum six dollars each, money very well spent. We even spotted a bear running across from the Heritage Center which was a bonus. Tonight we will spend at the Yukon campground just ten kilometers out of Teslin for the flat fee of $18. It’s a nice evening and firewood is supplied so will have a fire and enjoy the evening off the road. On our evening hike we met some very nice young people traveling from Montreal to Alaska in a unique truck set up with two roof top tents. We have met so many great folks on the road from all over in all sorts of different rigs from tents, roof top tents, cars, mini vans, cargo vans to big class A and overland rigs. Of course the number one method of travel is the truck camper, I may be a little biased but pull types and fifth wheels are few and far between unless they are small teardrop or off road trailers. Filled up today in Teslin for @2.03 /litre.
Mileage 3019.6 kms. Drove only 66.6 kms today to Johnson’s Crossing. The campground there where we had internet and power. Great showers and we did laundry as that is one thing our camper lacks that the cabin has. Here we could fill up with water and has a dump station, yep in an RV when you flush that is not the end of it. Temperatures have remained around 20 to 22 celcius and dropping to our low tonight of four. Made chili tonight, it was that kind of evening, worked on the blog and did maintenance and house cleaning. Johnsons Crossing is known for its famous cinnamon buns. While we were there a number of Class A motor homes were stopping in for the buns. They had called ahead and warned the owners to have them ready, at least 24 in the group all Americans heading to Alaska. As in the north I cannot stress enough about having cash available. The couple who run the shop said the internet is very unstable and although we used it to pay our $37 camp fee, the next morning it was down when we wanted to purchase Yukon camp passes. Also fuel up when you can, his fuel shipment was late coming and was out of gas and diesel. Great couple, a very basic campsite at the end of a very high, long bridge. When I asked if the name Johnsons Crossing came from the George Johnston from Teslin, he said no, probably not, could have been some American general or something he was not sure. He did tell me though he believed the elder native woman from the area that said it was because the first ferry across the river had two Johnson motors, so let’s go with that.
Ok going to sign off tomorrow we will head to Whitehorse and stock up on supplies. Glad you are interested enough to follow along gives me a reason to keep showing and sharing this beautiful land, its cultures and people who live here. Subscribe if so inclined to be notified when I can get internet to get this trip posted… stay safe and we hope to see you down the road….
Gerry and Charlotte