Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Postcards from the Wild: Skagway, Alaska

A Vast Silence reigned over the Land.  The Land itself was a Desolation, Lifeless without movement, so Lone and Cold that the Spirit of it was not even that of Sadness...It was the Wild. 
                                                     Jack London, White Fang

 Wild sprung up around us as the small white bus
 climbed the mountains away from Skagway. 

Switching toward the water's edge and away,
back and forth we bumped and swerved onward to the last port of the Alaskan Gold Rush, the ghost town of Dyea.

We were not seeking gold in the Klondike,
nor hiking into Canada;

Merely dreaming of  a snowy Alaskan dog sled run complete with Huskies and Malamutes.

Alas, there was no snow, no blue-eyed dogs of old who carried with them bold attitudes and acts of defiance.

The new breed, smaller slender and more eager to  run.

Rains gently fell soaking our smiles of delight as the dogs pulled and tugged at our sleds.

Yapping continually, they seemed to generate even more energy. Winter in Aspen couldn't come soon enough for these sled dogs.

Mud, low clouds, and ferns greeted us, not snow.
That wouldn't fall until September. 

Mushrooms, ferns, and rain forest plants lined the
slippery muddy track, but no one complained.
Mushing through the Tongass Rainforest opened our senses to smell of mold, of moistly cushioned leaves and dying debris. 

Our upwards hike opened vistas of the salt water
inlet that carried thousands of souls on their perilous journey North.

Treacherous terrain grabbed our attention at every step,
and awe of the mighty mountains.

Imagining the cold, shivers ran up our spines when we thought of  White Fang and Buck in Call of the Wild.  
Breathing in the cool air and emptiness of the space, my heart beat for the man, too cold, to empty, To Build a Fire

The warmth of sunshine in Skagway greeted us upon return.

Old codgers in their rocking chairs nodded to the tourist, as they showed off their dogs. 
Tibetan Mastiff

Sipping on a beer and sharing a meal, we reveled in our experiences: I could lick the clouds in my face on the mountainside...Wasn't that merely mud from the dogs?...Can you imagine traveling upstream in the bitter cold current...The desolation and fatigue killed so many...The cold.

At day's end, we marveled at the size of our ship,
and sighed in gratitude for living and traveling in 2016.

Skagway and Dyea map of the Gold Rush
*For more information on the Klondike Gold Rush please click on the link above.  It is one of the best sights I've found.


  1. My husband went on one of the sled dog excursions and loved it. I was doing another hike in the Tongass Rainforest...sure loved that. Your Alasan adventures seem to be in line with ours. I too, marveled at the people who came there to find gold, etc. Amazing the hardships they endured...no North Face, Patagonia clothing either... nv

  2. That website on the Gold Rush is great. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Thank you, I enjoy your writing. db