The “Dawson Toe” – A hard life up north

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The “Dawson Toe” – A hard life up north

The Dawson Toe

We arrived in Dawson last night – a stunning town steeped in history and folk lore.

The drive up from Whitehorse was spectacular and enroute I could not help but recall the movie “Into The Wild”. I found myself peering off in to the distance trying to spy abandoned school busses with some lonely urban teenager living a remote life in the Northern Yukon.

Dawson Sour Toe

Photo: Budd Stanley

On arrival in Yukon, I was reminded of a town I am in the process of moving to, Kaslo in the Kootenays. With a rich history and a funky flair, Kaslo and Dawson share a few things in common – even mining. The wooden boardwalks on main street take you straight back to a bygone era and you can see dancing girls and drunken miners spilling out of bars as you stroll along the short main street.

The real treat was to come later however.

The Nissan’s have been chewing up the miles effortlessly but tonight is the real test for the diesel. It is parked outside in minus 30 and we are anticipating a sluggish start but… lets see.

I remain impressed with the seats. With almost 4,000 kms under our belt, both myself and passenger Steph Jeavons are comfortable and not at all tired with stepping in to our office each day for another days driving. The zero gravity seats that Nissan uses allow you a more comfortable ride without compromising the feel that a driver is looking for from the seat – that extra little bit of sensory perception that signals something is about to go wrong, just before it does!

With the cars parked on the street, Budd Stanley, Bryan, Steph and myself stroll over to the bar where we are treated to a very unique experience. The Sour Toe cocktail is heralded the world over as a must do in Northern Yukon. A black necrotic toe sits in a mound of salt, waiting for the next patron to “kiss the toe” as they knock back their chosen shooter. Budd was a long time member of this fraternity but tonight was our opportunity to knock back a sour toe cocktail.

The Dawson Toe

Photo: Steph Jeavons

I opted to go last, which frankly was a mistake since the toe had softened considerably from the other two going ahead of me. Doing my best not to think about it I flung my head back swallowed the drink and stared at the toe – stuck in the bottom of my glass. I was furiously shaking the glass trying to dislodge the toe in order for me to get my certificate. Unceremoniously the toe flopped against my lips – job done. We were now honorary members of the sour toe cocktail fraternity and have a really cool certificate to show for it!


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