Friday, July 25, 2014

Skagway, Gateway to the Gold Rush

From 2014 07 03 Skagway

It was a hard day's run, up the Canon, through Sheep Camp, past the Scales and the timber line, across glaciers and snowdrifts hundreds of feet deep, and over the great Chilcoot Divide, which stands between the salt water and the fresh and guards forbiddingly the sad and lonely North. They made good time down the chain of lakes which fills the craters of extinct volcanoes, and late that night pulled into the huge camp at the head of Lake Bennett, where thousands of goldseekers were building boats against the break-up of the ice in the spring. Buck made his hole in the snow and slept the sleep of the exhausted just, but all too early was routed out in the cold darkness and harnessed with his mates to the sled.
Source: Call of the Wild, by Jack London.

After the jump, more about Skagway and the White Pass and Yukon Route. And photos. Lots of photos.

For history buffs and literature lovers alike, Skagway is where it's at in Alaska. The jumping off place for 100,000 gold seekers during the stampede of 1898, Skagway is famous not so much for what's there as for what lies up the canyon and over the mountains. Hopeful prospectors made their way on foot and dog sled to the head of the Yukon River, then by boat to the gold fields. The White Pass and Yukon Route railroad was finished a year or so late for the Klondike stampede. Today, it makes for a great way to follow the Trail of '98.

The writer Jack London made the trip before the railroad was built. Like the vast majority, he didn't strike gold but he did come away with a treasure trove of stories. "Call of the Wild" came out of his experiences. If you choose to come this way some day, do bring a copy of "Call of the Wild" with you. Reading Jack London on a trip to Alaska brings literature and history to life.

From 2014 07 03 Skagway

From 2014 07 03 Skagway

All photos from our trip to the Yukon can be seen on Google Photos.

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