Dawson City

Talk about magic, this place is carried along by its ghosts. Many of them are negative, in the Klondike gold rush many men perished and most went home empty handed. Some did well and a few very well indeed. They clawed the gold out of the rugged hills and river valleys far from the developed world. At one time Dawson City http://www.dawsoncity.ca/ had 28,000 to 30,000 residents, in the 1890s it was the second largest city west of the Mississippi after only San Francisco was Dawson. Not sure how many were transient since the whole town is kind of transient, it now has a population of 2,000 except for this weekend, the weekend of the Dawson City Music Festival, that has been running for 20 years now. This weekend the population swells to 10,000 to 12,000 which puts accommodations at a premium. We got into DC early enough to get, no kidding, the very last open room in the town. Not much negotiation over price. While we are prepared to camp we appear to be fair weather campers and fair weather we do not have. It rained all the way up and continues to sprinkle and threaten worse things. So in addition to the natural lack of hotel rooms this weekend almost all the tent camping folks are looking for rooms since the campground is literally under an inch or two, or worse, of water. But we got the very last room and were told by the booking agent, the hotel reception and the long line of people behind us how lucky we were. The tour book says that DC has more to do and see than any town in the Yukon, northern British Columbia and northern Alaska and it is true. The whole town is like living museum. Our ‘hotel’’, The Yukon Hotel, was built in 1898 out of logs. It has been updated with electricity and refinished but still is an old log place. Most of the city is. The streets are not paved so the locals mostly talk about how dusty it gets but with the rain its all mud. The sidewalks are wood. The streets & sidewalks are not unpaved for lack of financial resources, DC was once a wealthy town but its the weather. If you paved a road it might last one year; then it will sink, twist or break in the next season and every one after that. Easier to just truck in more dirt and replace a few planks on the sidewalk.
The food is terrific. Don’t know why people open great restaurants in remote places (and serve curried vegetables in filo with a brie sauce, yum) but the combination seems to work for them and it works us. And the music is great, we take in the opening act but ‘Blues Brothers’ type blues in the early afternoon sun in a sober auditorium with local officials officiating just misses the right feel. Hard to play rebel music when welcomed by the mayor. At the restaurant a band plays some really good country music and there is a lot of folk music tomorrow. We will skip the Hip Hop sessions.

No comments: