Historic Gold Rush Trails
October 20, 2011 7:40 AM   Subscribe

From "The Call Of The Wild" ..Seven days from the time they pulled into Dawson, they dropped down the steep bank by the Barracks to the Yukon Trail, and pulled for Dyea and Salt Water. I wonder where the Barracks and Salt Water are located. I tried to find them out on a map, but only found the place of Dawson, Dyea, and Yukon Trail. Maybe "Salt Water" means the sea?
posted by mizukko to Travel & Transportation (4 answers total)
Could be either places that no longer exist (like boom towns/ghost towns) or even imaginary places.
posted by easily confused at 7:58 AM on October 20, 2011

Best answer: From Jack London's "To Build a Fire": This dark hair-line was the trail—the main trail—that led south five hundred miles to the Chilcoot Pass, Dyea, and salt water; and that led north seventy miles to Dawson, and still on to the north a thousand miles to Nulato, and finally to St. Michael on Bering Sea, a thousand miles and half a thousand more.

So yeah, the ocean.

Oh check this out: The barracks were the headquarters of the North-west Mounted Police situated on the steep bank of the Yukon River at Dawson . . . Upriver from Dawson, the trail led from Dyea or Skagway and the ocean ("Salt Water").
posted by elsietheeel at 8:08 AM on October 20, 2011

Apparently London was very precise about the geography of his books. The author I linked to has published an illustrated companion to the book, so maybe you can find a copy on the Internets.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:08 AM on October 20, 2011

The only American military outpost in Alaska at that time was Fort Seward in Haines. The Canadians had an outpost near the top of the Chilkoot Pass. People entering Canada had to have a certain amount of food provisions to be allowed in. It was more of an outpost than anything else. I think that elsietheeel has it.

There is nothing near Skagway/Dyea but mountains and the ocean so London had to have been referring to the ocean.
posted by Foam Pants at 10:26 AM on October 20, 2011

« Older Tobacco in my nose?!?!   |   How to figure tax savings on an HSA? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.