SKAGWAY TO ATLIN, DAWSON, FAIRBANKS AND ST. MICHAEL (Historic Information)
Leaving Skagway the train begins at once its climb to the Summit of White Pass midst scenes of the wildest and most awe inspiring grandeur; and, as the train continues its sinuous climb along the mountain sides, one cannot help wondering at the skill of the engineers who were able to build a railroad through such seemingly inaccessible country.
The indescribable ruggedness of the country impresses upon the visitor the tremendous hardships and unparalleled heroism of the hardy pioneers who blazed the trails and opened up the vast country now yielding such delights in scenery and hinting at so much commercial promise.
On the way to the summit the train passes many points of unusual scenic, as well as historic, interest. Looking back down the valley from Rocky Point, a splendid view is had of Skagway and Lynn Canal.
Then come into view the "hanging rocks" at Clifton, under which the train passes. Beyond are the Pitch Fork Falls—a scene of rare beauty. On the other side of the valley are the Bridal Veil Falls.
About thirteen miles from Skagway, down in the valley, may be seen a few log cabins — all that remain of what was once known as White Pass City. During the Klondike rush this ephemeral town contained about 3,000 people, living mostly in tents.
Glacier Gorge is next, which the train follows, but over 1,000 feet above it. As the train climbs Tunnel Mountain a wonderful panorama of scenery is unfolded—the Sawtooth Mountains, Dead Horse Gulch, and deep, deep down the rushing glacier stream with here and there glimpses of the old White Pass trail.
Seventeen miles from Skagway by rail, but only twelve in an air line, is Inspiration Point. A truly inspiring panorama of Alaska's matchless scenery is beheld from here.
Just before the Summit is reached the train crosses the steel cantilever bridge, 215 feet above the rushing mountain stream. Twenty miles from Skagway is the Summit of the White Pass. Here under the stars and stripes and the Union Jack a bronze monument marks the boundary between Alaska and British Columbia. Here are located United States and Canadian Customs Officers.
Lake Bennett. Along the shores of lakes and mountain streams the train continues on its way until the upper end of Lake Bennett is reached, and the now deserted town, also named Bennett. Time was when it teemed with life and excitement, when thousands of men were building all manner of water craft to sail down the Yukon to the gold land of their hopes, the Klondike. Here the train stops for luncheon.
Lake Bennett is a long narrow sheet of blue, bounded by mountains of old rose color. As the train approaches Carcross, the traveler crosses the most northerly swing bridge on the American continent, built over the outlet of Lake Bennett into Nares Lake. For twenty-seven miles the railway follows the ever winding shores of this lake. En route the 6o° of north latitude is crossed, the boundary between British Columbia and the Yukon Territory.
Carcross, Y. T. is located at the foot of Lake Bennett. Here connection is made with the steamer of the White Pass & Yukon Route for Lake Atlin.
Atlin is located on the shores of Lake Atlin in the extreme northern part of British Columbia. The route to Atlin is through a chain of narrow mountain girt lakes to Taku Landing. Here portage of two miles by rail is made to the west shore of Lake Atlin where another steamer is boarded. A distance of six miles and the town of Atlin on the shore of Lake Atlin is reached. Atlin is the supply point for the placer gold mines located in this district. The discovery of gold near Atlin in 1898 made this district known to miners, but it did not become known to tourists until some years later, and now the fame of Lake Atlin, one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, has spread far and wide.
Baskets Made by Aleutians, Atka Island, Alaska
The lake is over 80 miles long. At the extreme upper end is the great Llewellyn Glacier—which with its various arms is about 50 by 75 miles in area.
One of the features of the trip to Lake Atlin is the excursion trip to Llewellyn Glacier, about 40 miles from the town of Atlin, through a series of narrow passages walled in by mountains, many of them snow crowned throughout the summer. And when the water is smooth, as it frequently is in these passages, there may be seen the most wonderful and perfect reflections imaginable. A splendid tourist hotel is located on the shores of the lake in the town of Atlin. There are many points of interest in and around Atlin, including the Indian village gold placer mine, fox farms, warm springs, etc.
Whitehorse, Y. T. is a busy little city of 600 people, located on the west bank of Fiftymile River. Near-by there are interesting copper mines. As at Skagway there is excellent hotel accommodation. It is the terminus of the railway division of the White Pass and Yukon Route — the point of departure for the trip down the Yukon River to Dawson.
When, shortly after this railway was finished over the White Pass, Burton Holmes took in this region, he said among other things, "Where the pioneers dragged their bleeding feet up the icy stairways of the White Pass or the Chilkoot, we rolled in all the luxury of railway cars and within sight of the death-dealing rapids, through which their boats were steered, with the fear of death for pilot, we glided smoothly over rails of steel, coming from Skagway on the coast to Whitehorse City, on the Upper Yukon as comfortably and as expeditiously as we could travel from New York to Boston."
The trip by rail from Carcross follows more rivers, and passing little' lakes stops at Miles Canyon. About five miles beyond, the trip by rail comes to end at Whitehorse on the Fiftymile River, 111 miles from Skagway. Connection is made here with the steamers of the White Pass & Yukon Route for Dawson.