Quick Shot: White Pass

The White Pass and Yukon Rail is one of the most unique railroads in the United States. The railroad was built using narrow gauge rail during the gold rush (by using narrow gauge, the workers needed to clear less land and use less dynamite than a normal rail bed width) and runs from Skagway, Alaska. Because the railroad isn't interconnected with other Alaskan and Canadian rail, all supplies carried by the train must originate at the port of Skagway. 

Although no longer used by gold seekers, the White Pass and Yukon Rail line still operates to support Alaskan tourism and takes riders into Canada. As a result, anyone riding the railroad needs to carry a passport for US Customs inspection upon returning into the town of Skagway... even if you never crossed the border. 

In May 2013, I took the railroad to access a glacial area covered in dense snow. Our journey was to snow shoe into the forest and hike to within feet of the US/Canada border. The route we took wasn't part of a trail network and the wet snow made the trailblazing extra difficult. 

After hours of hiking, we reached our destination. We were the only people for more than 50 miles - out in the raw Alaskan wilderness. The only way to get to this part of America was by train and snow shoe. 

With the advent of interstates and airplanes, we tend to forget about the significance of America's rail network. The White Pass and Yukon rail road represents more than an important part of history, to me, the railroad is a memory of the adventure into the middle of the Alaskan wilderness... an adventure only possible via rail. 

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