Clinic Stories

The End of the Earth - Part 5

The Way Home

More on Dr. Morris's Yukon River Trip

With Dawson City just over the next mountain I broke camp and drifted to the drop off point slowly taking in the town, about 6 blocks by 6 blocks, as I approached. On shore I organized my gear, dropped off my trash and walked down the streets of Dawson toward the Trading Post. I expected to spend some time sightseeing but quickly revised my plan. The old gold rush buildings were gentrified into tourist traps, novelty shops, espresso bars and bistros complete with modern touches like handicap ramps. Nine days in the wilderness left me with with no tolerance for fraud.

I made my plane reservations by calling the office from a pay phone, asking Kyle to book a flight, and calling back for the details. The first available flight from Whitehorse home was the next night. The van that shuttles between Dawson and Whitehorse was not running until the next day so I had no choice but to hitchhike. I was picked up in town by the first vehicle, a local in a pick up truck, and he dropped me off at a good spot on the highway leaving town. After 35 minutes a couple stopped and I had my seven hour ride to Whitehorse nailed.

The woman was dropped off at a gravel landing strip where a plane was taking her out for medical care. The Yukon is no place for the infirm. I traveled the rest of the way with the man who had spent his adult life as a “cat skinner”, an operator of earth moving equipment. He met his wife in a mining camp, had a brother and a brother in law who are Yukon gold miners, and told me that the locals avoid Dawson City when the tourists are there in the Summer.

I spent the night back in the same hostel I left from, spent the next day visiting several small museums in Whitehorse and flew out for Vancouver at 9 PM. I had a direct flight from Vancouver to Newark but it did not leave until 7 AM. I asked a Pakistani man at the baggage counter what my options were and he gave me very useful advice. Two areas in the airport have 24 hour restaurants, the area for US flights was at the far end and once there I will see many people spending the night. Sure enough, I joined a mutli-national pack of stragglers sleeping on the benches until check in at 5 AM.

I was in Newark at 5:45 PM Friday and home well before Shabbos. It took three days of travel, I was still in stress mode but I was home.

Next – The Recovery

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