We will cross two borders today.
We have visited Carcross, Yukon and when we leave there will soon cross
the imaginary border into the northwest corner of British Columbia. We will then later cross a real border, with
crossing guards that check our passports to go into Alaska to get to Skagway,
AK. The borderlines are very convoluted
in this corner of the country but just follow the road and you won’t get lost.
Low clouds are the camera and my biggest obstacles of the day. We are not getting too many raindrops on the
window now but these beautiful mountains are well hidden behind the clouds
overhead as we travel down the South Klondike Highway.
|Cloud capped mountains|
The Yukon Suspension Bridge, located in British Columbia, was built in
2006 which makes it fairly new in this land of so much history. It spans the Tutshi River Canyon and gives
access to hiking trails on the other side.
I am not one to like walking across suspension bridges, my experience at
Capilano in Vancouver proves it is even harder coming back, so this was the
closest we got to it.
|Yukon Suspension Bridge|
The landscape was very different from what we’d been seeing. The rock formation had the look of another
planet, or at least a place we’ve never been.
The farther we got on this road, the more fog we were in, crossing into
Alaska in the dense fog.
|Rocky terrain on South Klondike Highway|
We crossed the border into Alaska at Fraser, the fog cleared and soon
after we got ourselves parked we set out to do some exploring in the area. This view of Skagway was taken from the viewpoint
on the road that took us up to the famous Chilkoot Trail.
The Port town for Dyea was a few miles out of town on the Taiya
River. The Tlingit people established
Dyea as an access point to the interior.
The fishing village was on the transportation corridor to the Taiya
Inlet and canoes were the only mode of transportation to other villages in the
Before the Klondike Gold Rush happened, the Chilkoot Trail was an
overland way to get supplies to interior villages. The 53 km (33 mi) walking trail from Dyea, AK to
Bennett, BC. reaches heights of 1,074 m (3524 ft) over the Coast Mountains.
|Dyea Historic Site|
We did not climb the Chilkoot Trail.
We may not have even seen the actual trail as we were not planning on
hiking so weren’t about to investigate further.
So much growth in the area, we couldn’t see the Trail for the trees.
We followed some signs but there was nothing left to see of Dyea other
than the signs on the paths we followed.
Hard to believe but Dyea grew when the Gold Rush happened and once had a
population of 5,000 to 8,000 people at its peak. When the gold rush ended and new access was
developed, the population was down to 3 people in 1903.
|Historic waterfront trail|
|Chilkoot Trail Outpost|
This route was travelled by over 21,000 gold-rush stampeders, as those
fortune seekers looking for gold were called, when the great news of the Gold
Rush became known. The trail included
the Golden Staircase which was 1500 steps carved from ice and climbed 184 m
(600 ft) in just over one kilometer (.6 mile).
The challenge of the Chilkoot Trail was so difficult, it is hard to
believe that so many stampeders were able to make that climb, with all the
supplies they needed to take with them. Many
of them did not make it. Click here to
read more of their journey, it is fascinating.
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