We rolled into town after a long day, a day that started by hiking in the Tombstone Mountains on the Dempster Highway. The very fact that we drove on the Dempster made me giddy. This is the highway that goes all the way to Inuvit on the Arctic Sea, waaaay way up north. It is unpaved all the way. (Except the last 6 miles. Random.) It makes the Alaskan Highway look like the Jersey Turnpike.
So we trotted around for awhile in the brushy tundra and snow, yelling "Hey bear!!!" at intervals, and when we'd had our fill we drove back up the dusty road to the real one - the paved one - and on to Dawson. We rolled into Dawson with the music of "Amelie" playing in the car... resulting in a very surreal experience, for Dawson City is like a movie set in three dimensions, or a piece of Disneyland's Frontierland expanded, or a old timey photo brought to color. Every building looks straight out of the early 1900's. Not a chain or recognizable store name in town - no McDonalds, no Safeway. Just Klondike Kate's, The Drunken Goat, Sourdough Joes, The Midnight Sun.
In the summer, Dawson has 3000 people, half of which are young seasonal workers supporting the tourist trade. (The other big business is gold mining. Still. Which strikes me as a bit of an anachronism.) The result - the town is all a'bustle with young travellers looking for nothing more than new friends and adventures. We made a couple of both.
I need to write Dawson part II another time, because right now I'm in Chicken, Alaska, and we have to keep driving to Tok before the soughdough pancake contest is over. Wee!