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Crossing

Shipwreck

Almost a week since I'm here. The sun sets late at this time of year, days are long but they flow like small streams. I had planned to spend the week to settle things with no direct link with the project here, to make a little room for the coming days. And most importantly, begin to get familiar with the terrain.

Tuesday, Tammy and I decided to cross the Yukon River aboard the ferry to go visit a ship graveyard. We leave around 16h... there will still be light when we return around 20h. But I already said that the days were long, right... We walk, not very long, accompanied by Peter, an Australian traveller met while waiting for the ferry.

After a while, impatient as we are, we start thinking we might have taken the wrong road. I look left and the first wreck appears, extending its thousands of broken legs above the pebble beach. If you close your eyes, you can almost hear the creaking of the metal and the smell of coal.

Febrile as kids, we enter this gigantic playground, a cold jungle inhabited by sleeping monsters. Over time, their solid structures have folded with the force of their own weight. I try to imagine what it was before, when the doors were not at 45 degrees and the wheels still had their blades, I think about the heat of steam, the scent of paint, the noise of seagulls ... wait, are there any seagulls in the Yukon anyway?

Steamboats have disappeared, together with the Yukon gold. Beam by beam and with the help of rust, nature gradually regains its territory on these forgotten carcasses.

On the way back aboard the ferry, a loudspeaker plays in loop a tape that appears to have been recorded in the 60s, giving information about the ferry schedule. We are the only pedestrians on board. There are three different vehicles, a motorcycle and two huge machines that are connected together by an umbilical cord: a real home on wheels that carries a SUV, like a leashed dog. Will they think to refuel at Dawson before hitting the road?

The day ends with a salmon burger at Klondike Kate's, a restaurant that sat foot in Dawson at the end of the 19th century. A poster inside lists the 4 or 5 owners of the place since then. It is nowadays managed by a couple from Quebec.

Almost a week since I'm here. The sun sets late at this time of year, days are long but they flow like small streams. I had planned to spend the week to settle things with no direct link with the project here, to make a little room for the coming days. And most importantly, begin to get familiar with the terrain.

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