We are about half way through our Alaska trip and spent two days exploring Dawson City in the northern Yukon Territory. Dawson lies at the confluence of the Yukon and Klondike rivers, just 170 miles from the arctic circle. Gold was discovered here in 1896 which triggered the famous Klondike Stampede. Dawson grew almost overnight from a couple hundred residents to over 30,000 fortune seekers in search of gold. At one time there were 500 paddle boats ferrying men and supplies up the Yukon river from Whitehorse.
Dawson still retains much of its rugged charm of the 1890’s. It was like stepping back in time as we walked the wooden planked sidewalks and wide dirt streets. We perused the saloons, gambling halls and old log cabins once the homes of notables like Jack London and Robert Service, author of the Cremation of Sam McGee…
There are strange things done in the midnight sun,
by the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.
Our trip started in Anchorage from where we took a 7 hour train ride to beautiful Denali National Park. We caught glimpses of the 20,000 foot mount McKinley and spotted caribou, moose, marmot, Dahl sheep and young Grizzly foraging next to the road. After a stop in Fairbanks we flew to Dawson and are now south of Whitehorse, headed to Skagway where we will get a chance to drive dog sleds. From there we will sail the inland passage to Vancouver.
This is a breathtakingly beautiful land rich in history and lore.