Thursday, August 14, 2008
Watson Lake, Yukon (3,500~ miles traveled) Shortly before leaving for Alaska I began reading a book titled This Was The North, given to me by my neighbor, Bob Reynolds. The book is the autobiographical story of Anton Money. It’s a fascinating read about a young man of 22 who comes to Alaska in 1923, leaving behind a life of privilege in England. He begins his life in Alaska as a clerk with the Hudson Bay Company. He does not long remain a clerk however. The rugged beauty of the North, the chance to pit himself against one of the most harsh climates on the planet, and the potential of finding gold all conspire to lure him away from his desk job. He tells a moving story of developing new skills, learning to work with different cultures (The Native Americans) and building the confidence needed to strike out on his own. Lastly, in many ways it’s a story about being successful on his own terms. He eventually does make a gold strike, and builds a cabin on Frances Lake in the Yukon Territory. He lives here happily for many years with his wife and 2 sons. There are other stories like his about the people who came to settle this part of America. They were all rugged, fierce individuals. As most of you know, many came here during the gold rush, few ever found gold, and even fewer had the capacity to live here.
I am leaving in few hours to go to Frances Lake to search for Money’s cabin. II'll be a there a couple of days. ts been quite an adventure already, just trying to figure out how to get there. The major challenge is the fact that this place is so remote, there are no services available. In particular there is no gas available for over 233 miles. When I pull the trailer, I cannot drive 233 miles before needed to fill-up. My first thought was to purchase a couple of those plastic fuel carriers and a manual pump. This seemed like the way to go, until I imagined careening down a desolate, bumpy road with all that fuel…hmm, rocket man. Maybe not. Then I thought about parking the trailer in Watson Lake and driving the SUV, buying a tent to camp-out in and hiking to Money’s old cabin. I looked at the maps and realized that Money’s cabin (general direction…I don’t know where it is exactly) is a long way from any road…lots of hiking….maybe days worth. I was actually going to do this, until a local told me about a couple that have a wilderness camp up on the lake. I wrote them and they have agreed to let me stay at their camp, and we’ll go by boat in search of the cabin.
You may be wondering…why go to all the trouble? I could tell you that I promised Bob I would go to the cabin, and that would be a true statement. But, it is more than that. I am beginning a new phase in my life. I am inspired by people like Anton Money. I love the idea of success on your own terms, especially after you’ve tried it on someone else’s. Most of all, I’d like to be a little fierce myself