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(CanCan show at the casino)

Feature Story: Dawson City

As we make our way South, slowly I’m realizing my ingrained need to establish connections with people and places. I feel as if I’m constantly searching for a place and a community I can call home, somewhere I belong. Already having travelled much of the world, I’m yet to find such a place. Usually, in my search for inspiring stories, I seek out individuals. This was the first time I was inspired to tell the story of a place.

In my time in Whitehorse, all I heard from everyone was that Dawson City was the place to be. A place full of interesting characters and, this particular weekend, the famous ‘Dawson City Music Festival’. Not to miss out, I hitched a ride North with zero plans as to food or accommodations. When I feel like I have to do something, I do it without hesitation, because I have no doubt that God will provide me with exactly what I need, not just to get by, but to thrive. I caught a ride with a nice girl named Tara, and (through an unspoken agreement) she provided me food, transportation, and a couch to sleep on, while I talked our way into each and every event in town.

We went straight to the visitor center and took a walking tour led by our colorful guide Gabriela. We learned that Dawson City was born from the mass migration of people to the Yukon Territory during the Klondike Gold Rush back in the 1800′s.

Dredge No. 4

(Dredge No. 4)

Walking the town, our tour guide pointed out some of the many important buildings from Dawson’s history. I love the experience of finding buildings which clearly have a spirit and life of their own, and Dawson was full of them. I could so clearly and easily imagine what life looked like in this place over a hundred years ago. Due to the permafrost and lack of foundations under the oldest buildings, many are, noticeably, sinking into the ground.

The architecture of the city is a balance of the old and the new. The old buildings have been beautifully conserved, and the new pay respect to the city’s history by adhering to the original style.

The tour got me wondering about the unique people which surely give life to this place. Immediately after we finished, I went door-to-door meeting and getting to know the individuals behind it all. Dawson attracts people from all over the world. People who have a need for wilderness, freedom, peace, and who have, in a way, found themselves. Most of them have many skills which allow them to make ends meet, two or three different jobs is not uncommon. But the people of Dawson aren’t defined by their work, they have many layers and sides to them.

(Gabriela the tour guide)

(Gabriela the tour guide)

(Andrew Kuczynski, Gold Trail Jewellers)

(Andrew Kuczynski, Gold Trail Jewellers)

(Terry Lee, Sour-Toe Cocktail Captain)

(Terry Lee, Sour-Toe Cocktail Captain)

(Stephanie Foster, CanCan Dancer)

(Stephanie Foster, CanCan Dancer)

By now I was completely immersed in the Dawson culture. It’s hard to describe what Dawson is because there’s just so much to it. For such a small town, it contains more life than any other place I’ve ever been.

(Downtown Hotel)

(Downtown Hotel)

(Sour-Toe Cocktail)

(This is an actual human dead toe. A crazy tradition in Dawson City, “The Sour-Toe Cocktail”, is to drink a shot of liquor in which this dead toe is immersed. Yes, your lips MUST touch the toe.)

Finally I did make my way to the actual music festival, and I understood why I needed to go. It was much smaller than I expected, and much better too. The majority of the performers and the audience were from communities nearby. It felt like a big family get-together, and by then, I felt like I was family too.

(Me crowd surfing, Photo by Tara Hauff)

I later went to an after party at the local underground bar. As I enjoyed pear cider for the first time and bounced back and forth in the mosh pit, I got to thinking that I could call this place home. That I could call these people family. Most importantly, I felt like I belonged. But as I thought this, a new realization came to mind: my home is where my heart is, which for now, is the road. And my family are the four other individuals I’m traveling South with. I belong doing what I love, exploring the world and sharing it through my eyes.

(A quick glimpse of my experience in Dawson City)

-Ricardo

(Photos and video by Ricardo Palomares)

19 Comments

  1. Samantha Schulze

    What a fun story and town! Loved the inclusion of the video. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Ricardo

    It was hard to tell the story about this town, it is full of things to talk about.

  3. Nelly

    Hi Ricardo,
    I remembered when you told us how exciting the city was ! I love the video, it’s a good introduction of the Gold City and his atmosphere.

  4. Ricardo

    Thanks!

  5. Tara Hauff

    There’s so much more that we didn’t get to a chance to see and do! After you complete your road trip, Ricardo, the Yukon will gladly welcome you back with open arms.

    …and pear cider, can’t forget the cider. :)

  6. Lauren Allison

    Loved the story, each time I read yall’s stories makes my wanderlust kick in even harder. Keep them coming!

  7. Christy

    That sour toe cocktail looked…well, gross! Did you try it?!!
    Loved the people and the welcome that you got from them!

  8. jean bentz

    Did you toe the line? Have to know.

  9. Mary Salazar

    What an awesome

  10. Mary Salazar

    What an awesome town. Thank you for seeing thru your eyes!

  11. Dyar

    He did.

  12. Ana Coronell

    Love how you write :)

  13. Ricardo

    That mean a lot

  14. Ricardo

    To be honest I don’t think fully portrait the total awesomeness of Dawson City.

  15. Friego DiVerde

    do not give up. do not ever give up rica. you are missed. i hope you are enjoying every second of your journey. great article chingon!!!

  16. Ricardo

    Thank you so much for the support!

  17. Patti Holliday Durham

    Great reading about a place I will never get to visit. Thank you for sharing. Come see us for Thanksgiving with Riley if you can.

  18. Bill Brown

    This is so cool! I was there a long time ago (1973). Never forget it. This makes we want to return.

  19. chloe biggers

    Hey Ricardo,
    i liked the oictures and how u wrote the story and i never got to see the video and i kinda like the story.

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