8) Sep 12: Skagway
The trip on the Whitepass railroad was spectacular. Here again I took photos that are among the lost photos. Please click on the URL to see similar sites. We rode in comfort along the opposite side of the canyon from the Yukon Highway. The sheer drop offs as we peered out our windows, even made Jim, my construction seasoned husband nervous. The type of rock the rail road was built on is called "Slip Rock", and for a purpose. The moisture makes it's way between the cracks and crevices and then when it freezes, causes the rock to crack away and slip down the slops.
When we returned to Skagway we decided to visit a small museum before going to the ship. They presented a spectacular video with narrative that was made from actual gold rush photos. The White Pass was the undoing of many of the men who went seeking after Gold. They were required to have a ton of food and equipment before they could go on into the interior. We have all seen the long black line of men and animals toiling over the snow covered pass, in what appears to be an unbroken chain. They were required to make up to 40 trips with the back breaking packs to qualify at the top so they were certified to continue on to the gold fields. A portion of the pass is called "Dead Horse" pass . There were so many horses killed from overworking them that the trail was literally lined with dead horses. The Gold Rush began in 1896 and by the year 1900 they had built the railroad we were riding on. The in between years saw men at their worst, obsessed by "Gold Fever".
When we returned to the Princess, we went to see a magician perform in the late afternoon. His name was Jean BOUCHER (pronounced Boo-shay). He was from Quebec. Since we know some of the Boucher colonials went to Canada during the Revolutionary War, I made it a point to introduce myself. We exchanged Webpage addresses and I came away hoping we could contact some of his family up there. I could see where English speaking clerks in the colonial days of America could try to spell Boo-shay and come up with the transmuted name Basha for the Boucher family. <http://www.jeanboucher.com>
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