Once upon a time on a trip to Alaska, day 35

Dezadeash Lake, Yukon Territory

Friday, July 20, 1973


We had been rained on before during this trip, mostly the kind of weather we here in the Pacific Northwest refer to as showers and sunbreaks, but on this day it literally poured all day long.  As my diary says, we got a late start, and we almost didn’t travel at all that day.  But at last we decided to go on, and drove south on the Alaska Highway to the small community of Haines Junction, where the highway south to Haines, almost at the top of the Alaska Panhandle, starts.

Nowadays you can drive from Whitehorse to Skagway on a paved highway that follows the old White Pass and Yukon Railroad route.  The railroad was built during the Klondike Gold Rush, and went into service a little over a year after True Gold‘s heroine Karin and her companions climbed over the Chilkoot Pass from the now-ghost-town of Dyea, just across Lynn Canal (not a canal at all, but a natural channel) from Skagway.

A historic photo of the Chilkoot Pass, as it would have looked when Karin climbed it.

But in 1973, if you wanted to get to the Alaska Panhandle by road, you had one choice — the Haines Highway.  The Haines Highway, like the Alaska Highway at the time, was unpaved (it’s paved now, too).  And with the torrential rains coming down, it was a sea of mud according to my diary.  So we didn’t get all that far that day, only sixty miles from Kluane Lake to Haines Junction

We stopped in Haines Junction for gas, and went another thirty miles to a lake with a very odd name, Dezadeash, where we spent the afternoon in the trailer, playing a lot of cards, and listening to the rain pound on the roof.

Dezadeash Lake, in much better weather than what we saw it in.

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