Once upon a time on a trip to Alaska, day 34

Kluane Lake, Yukon Territory

Thursday, July 19, 1973

We stayed put on this day.  I didn’t realize it back then, but basically what we were doing at this stage was waiting for it to be our turn to take the ferry from Haines down through the Alaska panhandle to Prince Rupert, British Columbia, from which point we would drive home.  The Alaska Marine Highway (as it is called) is very popular, and was even back then, and you couldn’t just get there, wait your turn and drive on.  In 1995, when I took the Alaska ferry north from Bellingham, Washington, to Ketchikan, Juneau, and Sitka, then back to Bellingham, I had to make my reservations months in advance, and I simply walked on, with no vehicle, on that trip.

With a car and twenty-foot travel trailer, and no reservations when we left home, I suspect we were really lucky, even back in 1973, to be able to get on at all.  I do remember my father making calls to the ferry offices several times during our trip, but it didn’t seem that big a deal to me at the time.  I don’t know if the reason we didn’t make reservations before we left home was because my parents had planned to drive the Alaska Highway both ways, or if they just hadn’t realized that you had to make reservations in advance.  One doesn’t normally think of doing so to ride a ferry, normally.  But then ferry routes don’t normally take several days to traverse and cover hundreds of miles per trip, either.

I do know we were twelve days out from the date my father had to be back to work, and still a very long way from home.  I suspect my father might have underestimated the sheer amount of travel time it took us to get to Alaska in the first place.  It would have been a very Daddy thing to do (see my mother’s claim that my father’s idea of the perfect vacation was driving as far as he possibly could before he had to turn around and come back in order to get back to work on schedule).

Anyway, it was a pretty day, and we walked the beach and collected more driftwood and fed bread to the sea gulls on the lake, and met up with a very large family (eight kids? ten?) from eastern Canada who were traveling in a converted school bus with a canoe on the roof.  One of the girls was my age, and we hung around together a bit.  I remember she told me they were having sausages for dinner, which I now suspect were brats or something like that, but which I thought was odd at the time, since to me sausage meant breakfast patties.

And that was our second day at Kluane Lake.

True Gold, a novel about the Klondike Gold Rush, is now available through Amazon and Smashwords