Continental Divide


For the first time, I allow myself to question just what it is we’re doing.  It’s fitting that doubt enters my mind at the Continental Divide.  Our Longest Drive, at least in one sense, is downhill from here.

The breakdown of the tracer car in Nugget City has put us a half day behind.  But the half day is costly because we’ll miss riding the White Pass & Yukon Railway train in Skagway.  Perhaps it isn’t so bad after all.  It is raining.

One gets the feeling of desolation easily from being in trouble with no simple solution.  Besides the highway has little to offer.  The snow-capped Rockies we’ve seen before.  There’s no cell service or Internet.  Hey, how’d we get back in British Columbia?  It’s supposed to be east of here and we’re heading west.
I guess when the US Army Corps of Engineers built this lonely road in 1942, they didn’t care where it meandered as long as it reached Alaska.  The fear then, at the start of our country’s involvement in World War II, was that Japanese forces would enter the United States from the north.  Any fears about the road now are less benign.

There are two fewer in our party now.  We left Jason and Nick behind to await the power steering pump.  I believe Linda believes that she’ll coerce a trucker to deliver the pump from Prince tomorrow.  If so, they’ll miss Skagway but meet us in Whitehorse.

From what’s been written by others, you might think that I don’t care about nature.  To set the record straight, I respect the Earth’s beauty to the same extent that others do.  Seeing Mother Nature’s hand in the mountains, the quadrillion trees, endless deep aquamarine lakes and running rivers is breathtaking.  Nevertheless, after awhile, these wonders blend into each other, and it becomes fruitless to fixate specifically on each awe-striking element.

The best part of nature is being in it.  Being out in the wild imparts a feeling of freedom.  Different places affect your senses differently.  For example, the road to Skagway moves me deeply.  I like its bleak, barren look – the way the clouds hover close to the land.  It reminds me of Ibsen, a moonscape.  I feel lucky the sun is in hiding.  No other place that we’ve seen is this frightening.

I don’t need to dwell over something this beautiful to feel the emotion and remember it.