"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

All aboard for the Klondike! Going up

Skagway station, gateway to the Klondike

A long way up and down

On the narrow gauge cars

Rugged country overhead

And old trestle that can't take the load

History--gold rushers climbing  the Chilikoot trail to White Pass in 98

A reminder
You start at sea level and head up, under 7,000-plus-foot-tall peaks still wrapped in snow and ice. It gets colder the higher you go. The cars are packed with people off two cruise ships in town, and others also. Across the valley the paved highway to Whitehorse heads uphill through US Customs. Both the highway and the railway would have been life savers for the gold rush of 98 when thousands of people and horses died trying to head up over White Pass on the Chilkoot pass at the Canadian border to Whitehorse and then to Dawson on search of gold.

One word comes to mind over and  over, susan said, and it fits the people, the land and the wildlife, and the weather--"Rugged."
For more on the railroad: http://www.wpyr.com/
For more on Skagway http://skagway.com/

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