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Two decidedly different winter scenes 4,800 miles apart
By Tom Adkinson
March 18, 2022

burgess falls
Saint Lucia three Pitons – two volcanic spires and one cold beer. Image by Tom Adkinson

Images of winter couldn’t be more divergent than these two photos – one from Saint Lucia in the sunny eastern Caribbean, and the other from the end of the WP&YR railroad line in Skagway, Alaska.

The Saint Lucia photo is of three Pitons – two volcanic spires and one cold beer. Gros Piton, the taller of the two peaks, rises 2,530 feet from the ocean, while Petit Piton is slightly shorter at 2,438 feet, according to the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority. Marked trails on Gros Piton make it a hiking target for tourists, while the more rugged Petit Piton is described as a place for serious climbers.

Rotary snow plow
Rotary snow plow. Image by Tom Adkinson

More than 4,800 miles northwest of Saint Lucia is a monument to winter’s other extreme – Rotary Snow Plow No. 1 of the White Pass & Yukon Route, the railway connecting Skagway, Alaska, with the gold rush destination of the Yukon Territory in the 1890s. The plow, built in 1898 in Paterson, New Jersey, labored until 1965. Its 10 huge blades would fling snow, which could accumulate up to 12 feet deep, to the sides of the track by centrifugal force.

Gold rush trivia from the WP&YR history: Approximately 100,000 gold-chasing men and women set out for the Yukon, but only 30,000 to 40,000 got there. Perhaps only 4,000 found gold, and only a few hundred got rich.

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(Travel writer Tom Adkinson’s book, 100 Things To Do in Nashville Before You Die, is available on

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