Someone once told me “Write your goals in concrete and
your plans in sand”. We are firm believers in flexibility. We have a general
idea of where we want to go. When we get up in the morning, we look at the map
and choose where we will go. Since our plans are written in sand, it is
easy for us to change directions. This is one of those days.
On our way to Whitehorse, we stopped in Carcross for gas. The “Laundromat” sign caught our eye. The laundry bag is full, our suitcases are not. No choice, we grabbed the soap and headed inside. The small store has a laundromat on one side and a restaurant on the other. Just a few tables. We had forty-five minutes to waste so we sat down for a coffee. Changing plans again, we ordered dinner. I cannot resist salmon.
I do not expect much, this is a gas station after all, but the food was
amazing. Perfectly cooked salmon smothered in apple chutney, served with
grilled veggies and a rice pilaf.
We are given information about a ghost town in Dyea.
We are told about the drive over the mountains. Instead of heading north, we go
south west. The road takes us up the mountain. The trees all but disappear. The
clouds hang just above our heads. It is stark. Barren, rocky and amazing. This
is the land of the Chilkoot Trail.
We arrive in Skagway late and find a spot to camp for
the night. After breakfast it is time for some history lessons. First stop is
the Gold Rush Cemetery. There are stories about those buried long ago. The
thing that intrigued me was the giant rock, painted gold and chained to a tree.
Why? Who could move it even if they think it is real gold? Would the chain stop
someone who could move the rock?
Straight up. I was determined to get to the
ridge where the trail levels out for a while.
I bet the old prospecters found these stairs convenient.
We drove through the tiny town of Dyea and found the
historic site of the town that sprang up when the ships arrived with hundreds
of prospectors. There is little left. A few rotting boards here, a post or two
there. The trail, however, leads us through the forest. Few people are around. We
are able to enjoy the solitude.
John noticed a fresh bear scat and was in the
middle of telling me to be on the lookout when right ahead of us on the trail
is a grizzly cub climbing a tree. Just beyond the cub, less than thirty feet
from us is Mama and another cub. We back away slowly. I wanted to take more
pictures, but found it is hard to focus while walking backwards with a grizzly
staring at me.
Safely in the car, we drove to the salt marsh nearby.
The salmon have started their arduous journey to their spawning grounds. A bald
eagle flew overhead while the gulls gathered on the river hoping to catch some
I love the smell of a salt water beach. Is it the smell of the seaweed?
The salt in the air? Memories of long ago summers spent on the beach in Saltair
dance in my mind. The freedom we had in those days. Carefree days. Retirement
has brought me full circle. I am free once again. Free to play all day. And I
am loving it.