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Air Highways to:
British Columbia



Explore Canada's Yukon.
Answer the Call of the Wild
by Jerry W. Bird

There's a land where the mountains are nameless
And the rivers all run God knows where
There are lives that are erring and aimless
And deaths that just hang by a hair.
There are hardships that nobody reckons.
There are valleys unpeopled and still.
here's a land - how it beckons and beckons
And I want to go back, and I will.
Robert W. Service.

The lengendary “Call of the Wild” is bred in the bones for some of us who had the good fortune to have been born in Canada's Yukon. My father Don Bird (right) left the Seattle, Washington in the 30s for a post with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police at Dawson City in the far Klondike. Among other adventures during that brief time, he had the distinction of guarding the mad trapper, who was in custody awaiting his fate. Perhaps Dad was inspired by the Yukon's poet laureate, Robert Service, who captured its majesty and lure in his 'Songs of a Sourdough, or it may have been Jack London, who immortalized it in his sagas. In any event, he met my mother Violet and shortly after my chapter began. I was born in St Paul's Hospital on the banks ofthe Yukon River at a quiet period in the territory's history.

At the time, our family and friends from Dawson City, Yukon, considered the Inside Passage a normal, once a year commute to Vancouver or Seattle. Heading "outside" from Dawson City, via Skagway and the Alaska Panhandle our ship would stop at the ports of Juneau , Ketchikan and Prince Rupert, BC's Northern seaport. The final stop en route to Vancouver was a native community at Alert Bay, near Port Hardy on the Northern tip of the biggest "Adventure Island"... the one named for Captain Vancouver Continued. Note: Details on Whitehorse Airport and Yukon- Alaska Air and Ground Transportation to come.

 The Inside Passage to Alaska
While most travelers approach the fabled 'Inside Passage' from points due south, my first experience of this 1,200 mile Marine Highway, was from Canada's Klondike, having plied the Yukon River for four eventful days aboard the SS Casca, a classic paddle-wheeler, chugging and puffing our way upstream from Dawson City to Whitehorse. There, after an overnight stay at our favourite lodging, the Regina Hotel with its ornate lamps and Victorian furnishings, we boarded the narrow-gauge White Pass & Yukon Railway for a day trip, detraining on a wooden platform at historic Skagway. Continued in Klondike Memories

Above: Trestle on the White Pass & Yukon Railway, which operated from Skagway, Alaska on the North Pacific, to Whitehorse on the Yukon river.(below) Relics of the old Yukon. Paddlewheelers with their barges loaded with coal from Carmacks near the Five finger Rapids.

The Alaska Highway

Imagine yourself a time traveler. The year is 1942; the month, February. Our whole world is gripped by total war. For the moment, Axis forces hold the initiative, and for weeks following the Pearl Harbor disaster, every ship leaving North America's Pacific ports is threatened. The president's directive is clear: Furnish a supply route to the network of northern airfields - an overland route to supplement our air and sea lanes; one secure from attack."

Approval comes swiftly, and the task begins, with end points set up by the military at Dawson Creek, BC. and Big Delta, Alaska. Overnight, the entire North mobilizes, as the rugged Trail of '42 rivals the famous Trail of '98 in worldwide focus. Those of us living in the Yukon at the time felt suddenly in the forefront of the action. What some called North America's greatest construction project since the Panama Canal began as a marvel of mobility at the time. U.S. Authorities combed the entire coast, seeking available water transportation, creating a patchwork flotilla of yachts, cargo vessels, tugs fish boats and barges. From the video "Alaska Highway: The 1st 50 years," by Jerry W. Bird Continued.

More information on Canada's Yukon:
PR Services Yukon Information Guides.

Visit the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre. Take a step back in time to when the woolly mammoths roamed the Yukon.: