Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
Striking Klondike gold
Using a WABAC to conquer the Alaskan gold rush
Dave and I often have felt that we were born in the wrong era. We are explorers at heart, but in today’s world we feel that everything has already been explored. Things would be so much more exciting if we experienced our travels back in a time when people rarely ventured outside their hometown. In the spirit of the new DreamWorks film, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, we started thinking, “Where would we travel if we could go back in time?”
The true explorers of history were courageous souls who set out to investigate the unknown, never sure of what would happen. That’s what we’d like to do. We want an adventure that we aren’t sure we are able to finish. We want the unknown. One that would challenge us beyond our limits and force us to rely on only each other, our wits, and the elements of nature. Now that would be an adventure.
So where does one go for that? Alaska. I can already see us crossing the Chilkoot Trail with all our belongings. We’d span the Yukon Territories with a goal to beat the odds and stake our claim in the great Klondike Gold Rush!
Wearing a traditional anorak
The journey would be a treacherous one—only 30,000 of the estimated 100,000 prospectors succeeded—but we love a challenge. Plus, we’re already qualified. We just finished an epic trek in the Arctic region of Ontario, Canada, where we took part in a traditional camping expedition through the remote Missinaibi Watershed. We know how to break trails, cut through forests, find firewood, and test for unstable ice. We have the skills and knowledge to load a sled and trudge through the deep snow on snowshoes, or to paddle a canoe in rushing water. Joining the Klondike Gold Rush would be hard work, but with a hope and a dream, we’d reach the money load and strike gold!
Viewfinder Tip: Hiking the 33-mile Chilkoot Trail today usually takes three to five days.
My husband Dave and I would have that rare bond that few couples had back then. We’d bring our experience from the 21st Century to lead by example and show people that women can contribute too. He’d respect me, and I’d be strong enough to help him trap small animals plus go ice fishing for food. We’d chop down pine trees together to sleep on a bed of boughs, and set up camp each night as we made the long journey through the high passes. No petticoats for me, I’d be wearing wool pants, anoraks (traditional parkas), and knitted sweaters like the rest of the guys. The Klondike can be a dangerous place for anyone, let alone a woman, but by blending in with a strong man by my side, we’d be just fine.
Also, we’d have a wolf-dog as a pet. This is a fantasy after all, and we want a wolf-dog! Just like adventurers in those tearjerker movies of old, we would befriend a half dog, half wolf, with a heart of gold. We’d save him from a trap on the trail and he would protect us. It’s comforting to know you have a strong animal by your side; the fear of bumping in to grizzly bears or a bull moose is very real!
I can see it now: Because we would be so obviously experienced, all the other prospectors will join us. We’d teach them to boil their water to keep from getting sick, and show them how to hang their food so they don’t attract bears. Dave would make their meals to prove that men can cook, too! The skills we’ve learned from all of our Polar Expeditions, reading fantasy books, and watching a lot of movies would help us thrive and survive in the Klondike. By having the future on our side, we’ll have a leg up to strike gold.
Taking on epic challenges is our favorite way of traveling, and traveling back in time to the great Alaskan Gold rush definitely would be the most epic adventure of them all.
Where would you travel if you had a time machine?
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