GOLD MINING EQUIPMENT SALE : EQUIPMENT SALE
Gold Mining Equipment Sale : General Lab Equipment : Mma Equipment Wholesale
Gold Mining Equipment Sale
The White Pass & Yukon railroad. There are two passes, very near the current town of Skagway, Alaska, over the Coastal Range. One is the White Pass, the other the Chilkoot trail. When the Klondike gold rush began at the end of the 19th century, both passes were popular routes for prospectors heading to the Klondike. At the head of each pass was a town. The White Pass led out of Skagway, the Chilkoot trail from a town called Dyea. It was possible to bring pack animals up the White Pass, though difficult. Dead Horse Gulch, along the White pass, was named for the thousands of horses that died and were dumped there during the rush. The Chilkoot trail was unpassable by pack animals due, in part, to a section known as "the Golden Stairs" -- which really were steps carved into the ice. One of the design options for Alaska's license plates features a stream of prospectors climbing the Golden Stairs.
Skagway was also a vastly superior port, with deep water right up to town. There was, a long tidal flat at Dyea, which necessitated the construction of an enormous dock stretching its length. The tidal flat is still there and some of the pilings from the dock, Dyea is not.
The White pass was the longer route and slower, so notwithstanding the ability to use pack animals, the Chilkoot trail remained popular and Skagway and Dyea were both thriving towns.
Then a railroad was built over the White Pass. This railroad. Dyea vanished. The train was an important mining route for many years, but its importance faded when production in the Canadian mines slowed and when a road was put through the White Pass. It was out of business for many years but has reopened as an excursion train. I am not the first to observe that Skagway's business today is really the same as it always was -- lightening the pocketbooks of those passing through. Of course in the old days a lot of that was done through fraud, theft, liquor, and prostituion. A lot more was done through sales of supplies and equipment but even that had a tinge of the disreptuable since most of the people buying would go on to failure.
Today a lot of that edge is gone and there's a bit more kitsch, but its nice to know that some things haven't changed -- a bit of the old spirit remains. Also, it's still -- as they say -- "a nice drinking town with a serious hiking problem.
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