We made the trek to Eagle (a VERY small town on the Yukon) over a rough gravel road called the Taylor Highway. Rough is actually an understatement, and it gave us a new perspective on precipitous drops. We would get to know this road intimately – but more on that in a later post. This road recently washed out and was under repair, so part of the way we were escorted by the highway crew.
In talking to folks we learned that it is possible to get stranded in Eagle when the Taylor Highway washes out, which seems to happen on a regular basis. A fellow told us that he had to leave his RV there for an entire week last year. We could see how that could easily happen. Not much going on in Eagle these days. Apparently the tour buses and even the ferry from Dawson City don’t come there anymore. Sadly, that has put a pinch on the local economy. Couldn’t get a cup of coffee, but we loved some of the rustic cabins around town…
They also have a very nice monument to the arctic explorer Amundsen – who passed through here…
One of our main missions in coming to Eagle was to stop in at the combined BLM/NPS office there. We found info on gold panning along the Fourtymile River and discussed canoeing opportunities in the area. We had originally been entertaining the idea of canoeing the Yukon from Eagle to Circle. The problem with that plan is the logistics of getting back to the starting vehicle – about 500 miles of travel; a major expense and a big hassle no matter how you look at it.
The best advice came from a local woman who was working one end of the construction area on the Taylor highway. She suggested putting in at the Fourtymile River Bridge. From there the Fourtymile River flows into the Yukon and comes back by Eagle for a nice 4 to 5 day trip or “float” as they call it around here. We could get a ride (hopefully) from Eagle back to our car. This became our new short term goal.
The next day we headed back south along the Taylor Highway and made camp at the Walker Fork BLM campground since there is a large stretch of river between mile 89 and Walker Fork open to public gold-panning.
A plan began to take shape: we would do a final supply run to Tok, then camp in Chicken the next day to see the sites there, grab a shower, and do an RV flush and fill. Then we’d return our RV to Walker Fork to sit during the canoe trip. When we returned from the canoe trip we would remain at Walker Fork for a few days to try our luck at panning. Seemed like a plan.
Chicken had great showers, and a nice site by the river, and a post office; but not-so-great WiFi, and no phone service. Post cards went on their way, but blog posts and email would have to wait until we returned to Tok after the canoe trip. Little else was of interest to us in the town except the giant chicken sculpture. Gift shops just aren’t up our alley.