Splish-Splashin' Klondike-Style - As Read on
10/04/08 20:57 | Permalink
You can't get much
further off the grid than the Dawson City River Hostel.
Dieter Reinmuth, an avid outdoorsman, photographer, guide book
author and world traveller who settled in the Yukon 20 years ago to
make his living panning for gold, built this funky off-the-grid
retreat as an ode to fellow explorers who arrive from all over the
globe seeking adventure and a genuine Klondike experience.
This place of rustic luxury is one of my favourite secret getaways
in the far north. The bath house, pictured above, is a
not-to-be-missed ritual. I make a point of arriving here good and
filthy. If the Germans have arrived before you, the stove will be
roaring and the water near boiling. If you're all alone, you'll have
to gather wood for the pot-bellied wood stove under the large metal
tub of water, light a fire, then wait half an hour for the water to
heat up. A bucket of cold water sits at the ready for optimizing
bathing temperature, and a wooden-handled aluminum pot serves as
your ladle. The little bath house heats through like a sauna and
with the first drop of hot water on your Yukon-dusted skin, you'll
feel like a modern-day prospector who's hit the motherlode.
The office is run on solar power and everything else operates on
fire wood scrounged from deadfall in the forest. "If you want to
cook or take a bath or warm up the common cabin on a cool night,"
says Dieter, "you need to be able to split wood - a skill not too
many people have any more - and a certain number of guest might be
discouraged at first, but most soon start to enjoy this
frontier-type of work-out."
Cabins and dorms built with recycled wood and reclaimed windows are
scattered about this riverside property directly facing Dawson City,
a 5-minute ferry ride away. Travellers share an outdoor kitchen with
a woodstove and an indoor living room with well-worn furniture and a
collection of well-read books. Panoramic views of the sparkling
Yukon River and Dawson City's colourful heritage buildings can be
had from the sundeck. Kayaks, canoes, bicycles, motorbikes,
knapsacks, sleeping bags, guidebooks and maps are strewn haphazardly
around the camping area during the day while their owners prepare
for, or recover from, epic adventures.
At night, under the purple twilight of the midnight sun, it's United
Nations around the campfire, where testosterone-spiked stories of
close encounters with wolves are one-upped by stories of bear
attacks and narrow escapes on mountain passes in lightning storms.
Dawson City River Hostel / Dieter Reinmuth,
Box 32, Dawson City, Yukon, Y0B 1G0 Telephone 1-867-993-6823. Author
and publisher of the "Yukon Travel Adventure Guide" and "Saga of the
Sourtoe". More info on