Sunday morning I was up and dressed at 8:30 and ready to tour the town; no slacker am I. Picking up my towel, soap, washcloth and clean clothes I started for the Laundromat. As I left the tent, taking my small NRS drybag containing my camera, journals, passport, credit card, drivers license and money (things I never left behind), I passed by a small sign. Looking up I discovered I was camped illegally. The sign indicated, "No Camping." I decided to keep going and if stopped by the authorities I would either declare that I was illiterate or begin speaking in Latvian, my native language.
Robert Service's cabin, in Dawson City. © Ray Zvirbulis
Anyway, showers were $1.00 for three minutes. It took $2.00 to get clean.
On the way back I took the scenic route. I walked a few blocks up the hill and visited Robert Service's cabin (one can't go inside). He was a poet who wrote many poems about the Klondike area, one of them being "The Cremation of Sam McGee" which goes in part:
...The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was the night on the marge of Lake Labarge
I cremated Sam McGee.
Not far from Service's cabin is Jack London's cabin. I visited that also and took some photos of both places.
On my way back to the tent, I bought an ice cream cone (the sun was very hot) and ate it while sitting at "my" picnic table. A police car cruised by and took no notice of me, my tent or my kayak. As I sat there, enjoying the day and the ice cream, a woman with a very old looking dog, walked up and we began to talk. Her first name was Sylvain and her husband's name was Chris. They owned a large commercial salmon fishing camp a few miles upstream from the US-Canadian border. Sylvain said I could spend the night in their cabin if I wanted to since the fish camp was still closed for the season. As we talked, I mentioned Harvey Pitka, the Yupik Eskimo who had put me up at his home in Russian Mission, Alaska where I had ended my first trip. Sylvain said she knew Harvey because he came to Dawson occasionally. Small world.
Monday morning I was awakened at 3:00 am by the sounds of someone or something milling around my tent and kayak. I was fully awake in an instant and sat bolt upright but panicked when everything was dark when I opened my eyes. I thought I had gone blind during the night! But relief came instantly when I recalled that to be able to sleep I had to create "night" by tying a bandana over my eyes. As I ripped off the bandana, the sounds of something nosing around my tent continued. I unzipped the tent door and leapt outside in my long Johns ready to do battle; mortal combat as it were.
Standing just outside my tent, head cocked slightly to one side was a fairly young husky. It began to prance and dance ready to engage me in some early morning play. I yelled at the dog to be gone and pretended to pick up a rock and threw the imaginary missile at the dog. The dog perked up and looked in the direction where it thought the object had gone and wagged its tail. If the dog had simply left, I would have gone back into the tent and continued to sleep. But, no! It jumped and leapt, pranced and danced and caused me to be very concerned about my tent and kayak.
I picked up a real rock and heaved it at the crazy dog (didn't it know it was 3:00 am?) hoping to hit it on a soft part of its body. I missed by a mile. The dog chased the rock, sniffed it and pranced back toward me, convinced it had found a playmate. I heaved several more rocks in quick succession, all of them wide of the intended target. The dog was really getting into this game thing, running this way and that, grinning from ear to ear, tongue lolling and drooling as the weird, leotard clad man threw rocks in its direction for its enjoyment and pleasure.
Well, that went on far longer than I wanted it to. I finally picked up a fairly good-sized rock. I knew the moment that I hefted it, that it was the one. There I was, standing like David, clad in leotards, with one smooth rock in hand (but no sling). My Goliath was a deliriously happy dog. I heaved the rock, and to my dismay, it connected with the dog's snout.
It yelped, dropped to the ground, leapt up, charged toward me (for solace and comfort), realized I was the source of its pain and bolted up the dike and disappeared. When I got back to the tent, there on the ground next to it, was a green tennis ball with dog slobber all over it. I lay down but had a hard time falling asleep because I kept hearing the thud of the rock and the poor dog's yelp of distress.
Later that same morning, at 8:30, I went to Klondike Kate's for a huge pancake breakfast washed down by a few cups of good coffee. It was extra strong decaf to keep me awake in the kayak. When I finished eating, I went to the grocery store for more supplies and to spend the rest of my 16 Canadian dollars.
Show Low, Arizona