We're in the van but more enclosed than usual, a thick fog settled in around us. The edges of mountains and hilltops can be seen but we know that we're missing impressive peaks.
We reach customs. An isolate, the "town"-called Eagle Creek, Alaska- has a sign letting travelers know of its unfathomably large population of two people. Mr. Brown, border patrol officer, seems nice but takes his job very seriously to the point of asking the two Americans in our vehicle specifics he heard from our instructor moments before. Population thus makes it into the safe to joke about column, while security was left behind on the road of gravel and dust.
A little beyond the customs station, the fog lifts, affording that impressive view we knew we were missing. A few people familiar with Tolkien's works thought the landscape was very Hobbit-like, in my mind, I agreed with the others who thought it looked very much like Scotland.
The road turned to real highway for a time but of course it made its way back into gravel and dust, gravel and dust. One turn and snow in July; a snowball fight in summer, the sandals on my feet a regrettable choice as they caused me to slip and lose precious throwing abilities.
More time spent in this ulterior world, the otherness multiplied by the fog, still settled in around, hugging and still clinging to certain parts of the landscape and then as my bladder reaches dangerously full levels, Dawson City appears below on the wide Yukon River.
We have arrived at a city of gold, made on gold, but corroding at the edges.