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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

Beringia Land Bridge

~Thursday, September 15, 2022~

Day 823

Day 87 of Alaska Trip

The only thing keeping us on a schedule is our reservation at Liard Hot Springs, B.C. So it’s nice to have the flexibility to extend our stay, or NOT. At this point, we’ve decided to stay through Saturday, but we’ll have to see what there is to see just what there is to discover about Whitehorse. For now, we think it’s worth extending our stay since we don’t think there’s much to see in our next pass through Watson Lake, other than the famous “Sign Post Forest”. Stay tuned on that one.

We were in need of getting Sadie a nail trim and found a feed store that takes care of the job, but with assistance. It was the first time I’ve actually held Sadie or even been in the room with her while getting it done. She couldn’t stop shaking, but assumed it was only because I was there. All the other groomers she’s ever had have said how good she is. And as always, a treat was waiting at the end. We also scored on her dog food. I thought with being at a feed store, and the fact we’re in Canada, our chances would be high in finding it since it is made in Canada. The only difference is that they only had grain friendly, not grain free. I’m just happy to find the same brand!

We blocked out our afternoon at the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Center where we timed it just right for a 1:30 tour

conducted by a recent undergraduate in archeology. We had the privilege of hearing first hand about her involvement over the summer at Bluefish Caves in the Yukon. This is a famous dig site where there has been evidence of episodic human activity from about 25,000 to 12,000 BP (before present). The bones of extinct horses and wooly mammoths bearing what seemed to be marks from human butchering and toolmaking have been discovered showing human presence in the Beringia region. If you’re not sure what the Beringia region is or how it was formed, you might be interested in reading on……

It was a time when vast glaciers covered most of northern North America, locking up much of the world’s water as ice. During these “glacial periods” otherwise known as the Ice Age), global sea levels dropped as much as 100-150 meters (or around 490 feet), revealing the floor of the Bering Sea and creating a connection of land between Alaska and Siberia. This land bridge was part of the area we now call Beringia,

which remained free of ice. Glaciers did not form here because the climate was too dry. The lack of moisture also caused the boreal forests to disappear, turning the land into a vast plain full of nutritious grasses, herbs and flowering plants, now known as the Mammoth Steppe. The Mammoth Steppe attracted large herd grazers like wooly mammoths, steppe bison, and Yukon horses, but also predators like American Lions, Scimitar Cats,

Giant Short-Faced Bears AND the first humans to arrive in North America. The connection between continents was absolutely epoch as it allowed for the migration of species between the Americas and Eurasia. Without Beringia, the world would be a very different place from the one we know today. As we know, eventually the Ice Age would come to an end around 11,000 years ago causing the massive glaciers to melt, and raised sea levels which in turn flooded that land bridge, once again separating Asia and North America. Many of the plants and animals like the wooly mammoths and Yukon horses disappeared, while others like caribou, sheep and grizzly bears adapted to their new landscape. Today, that land bridge is covered in water at about 150 feet, now known as the Bering Strait. The displays of archaeological finds were quite fascinating…..a 25,000 year-old wolf pup or a young caribou, extremely well preserved, or exact replicas or casts of mammoths or large bears were all amazing to see up close. Absolutely fascinating and something we knew very little about.

After quite the history lesson, we made it a point to check out another brewery…..Winterlong Brewing Company, while tuning into a little American football…….the Kansas City Chiefs against the San Diego Chargers. It’s a treat when we get to watch any sports event, especially since being on the road. The atmosphere was pretty good…..thought the “hop-shaped” pendant lights were pretty cool. The beer……a 7 out of 10, though we will be back for the Spruce Tip only offered Fridays. See ‘ya tomorrow night!

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