Yukon - The True Canadian North

"Larger than life" has been an official tourism motto of Yukon - one of the Canada's most remote yet absolutely stunning plac...

"Larger than life" has been an official tourism motto of Yukon - one of the Canada's most remote yet absolutely stunning places. Its unparalleled beauty, welcoming people and unspoiled nature made me fall in love with Yukon, and I've been wanting to come back ever since I left it. And I'm not alone: in fact, many visitors to Yukon felt the same way. Some people, I was told, even throw their return ticket away to stay in Yukon forever.

Yukon is really vast. And remote. With the total number of people living there of slightly over 37,000, it has one of the lowest population densities in Canada. So even in "crowded" places like national or territorial parks, you can walk for days without seeing other people. What a paradise for solitude seekers.
Yukon is located in the northwest corner of Canada bordering Alaska, Northwest Territories and British Columbia. Most visitors come to Yukon during its short summer to enjoy nature, to experience the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis), to visit places of the Yukon's fascinating history and to immerse into a culture of its native people who have deep connection with the nature.
Despite its remoteness, Yukon has surprisingly good infrastructure to support its ever growing tourism sector. Alaska Highway, a famous road connecting Alaska and Yukon with the rest of Canada and the United States, is a main transportation artery in Yukon. It was constructed during the World War II to link the contiguous United States to Alaska through Canada.
There are dozens of stops along the way telling the history of Yukon or unveiling its natural secrets.
This bridge over the Canyon Creek, for instance, was the most ambitious and important bridge to be built by US Army Corps of Engineers during the construction of the Alaska Highway.
The modern bridge over the creek used today.
Holes from the bullets in the information sign at the rest area show just how tough the life can be in the north.
Yukon is the land of extremes. Did you know that Yukon is home to the highest peak in Canada - Mount Logan? Located in Kluane National Park and Reserve, it's also the second-highest peak in North America (5,959 m / 19,551 ft). 
Southwestern Yukon with adjacent parts of Alaska and British Columbia form the world's largest concentration of ice fields. Although glaciers are now rapidly retreating due to climate change, with North being a place where its impact is the most vivid. 
Many animals including iconic grizzly bear, wolf, caribou elk, sheep and others call Yukon home. Its wildlife viewing opportunities are truly remarkable. But don't forget - you're in the grizzly bear country, so bear safety is paramount. Be like this ground squirrel - be alert!
And what a colourful place Yukon is! It even rivals the tropics for its palette of colours. Especially in the fall when leaves and grass turn yellow, orange and red.
With much of the Yukon's land lying in the subarctic and tundra zones, trees are rare and short. The soil is mostly covered with grass, moss and lichen. 
Wild flowers are so desperate for the warmth of a short summer, so they are blooming until they get dumped with snow which usually happens in September or October.
As much as nature brings different colours and forms to life, Yukon people also like bright hues and depicting nature in their art. 
I really liked the story of the Yukon's first nations that I found at a playground in Whitehorse. The story tells about the raven that steals the sun.  
One of the most common versions of this story presents the world as a dark place where "The Light" is hidden away in the box. This box is owned by an old man with a beautiful daughter. Not wanting to live in darkness anymore,  Raven takes a form of a pine needle and falls into a girl's drinking water. After being swallowed, Raven takes a form of a human child, is born, and is raised as a old man's grandson. Eventually Raven is given this special box, at which point he reverts back to his original form and flies away with the "The Light", affixing it permanently in the sky.
In the next post, I'll show you the capital of Yukon, Whitehorse and tell you the story of the Klondike Gold Rush. Stay tuned!

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