You need to be special, to live here. And being a bit crazy definitely helps, I would say.
Meet Dawson City, located deep in Yukon territory at the shores of Klondike and Yukon river, gold rush town around 1900, a bit worn out but still busy. And there are still lots of gold miners living in and around the town.
When arriving in Dawson one might think to be in the middle of a movie plot. Houses with a nice old front facing the street and a corrugated iron hut behind. Old sheds that were houses used long ago and are leaning so heavily, that you think they might fall down every minute.
Dusty roads and old boardwalks. The clear Klondike and the muddy Yukon meet here. Both still have some gold and the shores are glintering in the sun. Fools gold probably ;-)
No one there?!
When we arrived on a friday afternoon, there was no one on the road and Dawson looked like a ghost town from the early gold rush days. Entering the Saloon of the Downtown Hotel, we suddenly knew, where people stayed on a friday afternoon...
The bar was full of old men with long hear and long beards (whole Dawson must be short of shavers…) and at the tables there were groups of old ladies. They had one thing in common - all of them were pretty drunk. Not too weird yet, but on the television screens where you usually see sports programs they showed an episode of He-Man. And one old lady stood up, staggering, and yelled „That’s my husband!“ - and waving both of her arms through the air: „I’m She-Ra!!!!“
The outhouse race
Next day walking through the streets we heard people whooping and shouting and found the „outhouse“ race - basically outhouses with toilet seats on wheels, each drawn and pushed through the streets of Dawson by 5 with costumes.
Among them „Winnie Poo and Friends“ dressed like Winnie-the-Pooh, Rabbit and Tigger with dirty pants, „The Shitheads“ with big brown piles of shit on their heads, or „The old Farts“. Questions anyone? ;-)
But Dawson City has 2 faces.
In the short summer of 3-4 months, people are heads down, trying to make money, be it with gold mining, tourists or governmental work. A lot of people come to work to Dawson in summer and it is very busy.
The winter is a different story. We met a guy at the river playing with his dog and he filled us in about the winter months. It is up to -50°C in winter, so cold, that the rivers Yukon and the Klondike, that meet in Dawnson, freeze about 2 meters thick. You can drive on them - would the car be working. Even pre-heating the car with electricity wouldn’t help when it is that cold. So the people here either leave the car running 24/7 or they don’t use it.
„And do you know the really big, long down jackets, that you see in TV?“ The guy asked us. „We are the ones who wear them.“
Asking him, what you do in winter he smiled and said: "Well, dinner parties! There is kind of a competition who can do the dinner party people talk of the most! And you have that thick chunky sauce from low-hanging cranberries or blueberries. Glaced moose roast! Delicious!"
Just shopping is a challenge at times. Frozen lettuce e.g. is really annoying. So how do you get lettuce home when walking through a freeking shock freezer? You take an isolated bag, put a hot pack inside, put the lettuce on top and... you run!
Being asked what would keep him here in Dawson the guy said: "If I drove for 3 days in Vancouver I again know, why I do live here… you can go to the next mountain and shout as loud as you can and nobody will hear you."
Well, he definitely has a point. But still I would say, being crazy definitely helps too.