Friday, 21 July 2017

Creature Comforts: Animals & Hot Springs in Whitehorse, Yukon

On this trip I was hosted by the Canadian Tourism Commission and Travel Yukon.

I've just returned from Whitehorse, capital of Canada's Yukon Territory. Although many visitors use the city as a jumping-off point for places even more remote, such as Dawson City, there are plenty of things to see and do locally.

There's a cluster of attractions just outside town, along Takhini Springs Road, that I spent a day exploring courtesy of Who What Where Whitehorse Tours.

First stop was the Yukon Wildlife Preserve. If you haven't had any luck spotting the territory's distinctive animals in the wild, you're sure to see some in this spacious open zoo.

For a start, there are these mule deer with their impressive antlers:

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... and stone sheep with their frankly demonic horns:

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... a lynx which sat still just long enough for this much-zoomed shot:

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... and even a bison. That means I've now met both European bison and North America bison (collect the set!)

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After I left the Preserve, I headed a short distance along the road to the Takhini Hot Springs. These thermal springs bubble up from beneath the earth and are directed into two adjoining baths, one kept at 36°C and the other at 42°.

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I can only imagine what it must be like to take a dip here in the midst of winter, in sub-zero temperatures. I'm told if you get out of the pool mid-winter and shake your hair, it'll freeze in place!

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After sampling the springs, I had lunch at the excelent Café Balzam, which is located in the same complex. Though it's a creperie, I opted for the day's special: a savoury waffle with cheese, spinach, pecan, egg and salmon. Tasty.

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For dessert I chose La Chevronnée: a goat's cheese crepe topped with blackcurrant preserve. That's the kind of dessert I favour, not too sweet.

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My conclusion? Whitehorse may be a frontier town in many ways, but it doesn't lack creature comforts. Nor interesting creatures.