I wonder if Keno the game was named after Keno, Yukon? I hope not; I’d hate for its namesake to remind more people of scratching a pencil over numbers on a slip of paper while chain-smoking in sketchy bars rather than that of the real Keno, Yukon, which is a very cool place Dave and I rode to during our Yukon travels.
Keno, population 15, sits perched at the end of the Silver Trail highway 13 km, (8 mi) from Elsa, and is the former location of some serious silver-lead mining in 1919. When the mines closed in 1989, they left infrastructure behind in the hills and Keno now relies on these caved in shacks and cavernous holes as character attraction for tourism.
The dirt road to Keno ends at stop sign a few feet from the front door of a frontier-style hotel. There you can turn either left or right to check out the one-road town. We explored and found some great homemade pizza and carrot cake before riding a few kilometres up a rougher road leading to the town’s renowned signpost.
We camped here overlooking the valley below observing various shacks leftover from the old mining days.
A shout out to my sister who lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. According to this sign she’s 3100 km (1926 mi) away!
A word about food storage while riding bikes; we are forever diligent about living in bear country and not having the option to store our food in a vehicle overnight, we have a bear vault where we store most of the food. Whatever’s leftover we try to stash elsewhere like hung in a tree or even putting the bag in an outhouse. Sure it’s kind of gross. We try to double bag before setting stuff on the floor. In this case of camping at the signpost near Keno, there was only a port-a-potty. We were high in the tree-less hills and didn’t have many options so our bag of food that didn’t fit in the bear vault went on the floor. If you’re reading this and you’re not a world-traveller, you’ll likely think this is the most disgusting thing ever. The port-a-potty didn’t close well from the outside so I grabbed a nail found on the ground and used it to slide the latch into the ‘lock’ position. We sometimes have to get creative to keep those bears away!
The lighting is so perfect even the port-a-potty is photogenic!
From Keno, Dave and I began our trip up the Dempster Highway on Aug 3. This would be the first of two very important milestones for our trip while we were up north; to ride to Inuvik, NWT, Canada’s northern-most settlement accessed by road, and Deadhorse, Alaska, the world’s northern-most road-accessed settlement. The story of our travels along the Dempster Highway will come in our next post!
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