Thursday, August 16, 2012

Skagway and Beyond

The ferry ride to Skagway was short and direct.  It took only an hour what would have taken a couple of days and several tanks of gas.  This is one case where the Ferry would actually save you money, that is if you had your heart set on seeing both cities. And that would only have been if we were motivated enough to drive down to Skagway from the Alaskan Highway.  

Remember when I said that Haines felt like the real Alaska. Well, Skagway felt like the fake Alaska.  Over 300 cruise ships come in every year and the main street and small town have been rehabbed and/or redesigned with fake building fronts to take every dime those tourist want to leave behind.  Like those cruises to Bahama, who knew that people take trips to Alaska to buy from the International Diamond Store.  For the record I will admit that I did find a nice pair of "Moosie" pajamas bottoms that might be appropriate for the fashion show around some Florida campfire...(I heard a reference to that last winter.)

Bye, Haines.

We passed roaring waterfalls.

And we took a self guided tour all over the ferry, just encase we ever come this way again.   Gas wise though it would not have saved either of us to take the ferry south to Prince Rupert. This way the dogs were all happy and we got to see a lot more of the interior of Alaska and Canada.

Here is a picture of what the hall of state rooms looks like...just like any other cruise ship.

No time for a bite of lunch. Here comes the port of Skagway!

We saw a couple of whale sightings while underway but the best and closest whale sighting was the one that was playing around next to the cruise ships practically in port.

Remember the dump truck they loaded last. It had to move out first. The first time they tried to drive it out it hit the beam over the door. Here you can just make out the beam to the right that they had to disengage and swing to the right so that the truck could get clearance. It was still a tight squeeze.

There goes Nan. Her rig looks small after the dump truck.  She was the first one out after the truck. 

Then we set about walking the streets of the fake Skagway......   This building however was the real thing......Also an information center.

Surprise! Nan found another quilting shop with neat fabric. It was also right next to the pizza place and we were hungry.....and we liked the colors in these flowers, too!

We stayed at the RV park right next to the ferry and the port. We got to hear the boat's horns blow as they left in the evening and sure enough...there were two more parked in the harbor the next morning.  And another day in Skagway and another chance to sell fancy stuff to the tourist.

The most wonderful part of taking the ferry across to Skagway though was it gave us an opportunity to drive up through the White Pass and the lower part of the Klondike highway back towards Whitehorse and the Alaskan Highway.  After all the mountains and valleys and lakes that we have seen on this trip I think this road is one of favorites.  Part of the drive I spent thinking about the miners of the gold rush loading up their mules or their own backs and heading out to Dawson City and other gold fields of the north country.   Part of the time I was listening to the memory of the rocks grinding against rocks as the ancient glaciers moved through the mountains.  This road is beautiful.

the Dead Horse Trail.....   this part of history not so beautiful.....

The line across the valley are the railroad tracks of the train that takes tourist up through the pass and back through history along some of the same narrow trails that were originally built for the miners.

The sloping ridge in the picture above is the one referred to below.

It was rock and more rock.....and in the winter this would be.....

With small pools of clear water hidden here and there between the rocks

And the larger lakes.....

Yes, I really liked this part of the highway....

We stopped in Carcross in Canada briefly at the bakery there and since we were already there drove around the small town.  It definitely is another real Alaska town.   

There were quite a few small homes about this size.  Some more rustic than others.

And their library.  I like libraries myself. I tried to imagine how many books they might actually have on hand at one time. Bet they participate in an inter-library loan program. What do you think?

From the rocky views of the Klondike Highway we drove farther south on the Alaskan Highway to pick up the turn off for the Cassiar Highway that heads south through British Columbia.  The road has nice scenery but there are several delays along the way for road constructions.  The positive part of having to wait for the pilot car/truck to return to lead you through is that you can leave your seat and take a quick potty stop and your bladder is thankful.  

We are now headed across route 16 and are enjoying the change of scenery from mountains to mountains with valleys that actually have farms in them with rolled bales of hay in the green fields and horses and cattle. (And for Mitch...the towns again have a McDonalds...) We will be passing through Jasper tomorrow and the plan is to pick up route 93 and enjoy some beautiful Canadian National Parks.  I am thinking that there will be more pictures coming.


  1. Looks like you had some pretty blue skies for that part of your trip.

  2. I love the reflection pictures. I would be stopping all the time to take pictures and would never get where I was going.

  3. Some beautiful shots along the way. You are getting to be ferry experts.

  4. We go to Skagway tomorrow for the train ride and then will catch the ferry to Prince Rupert. How you describe Skagway is what I expected. Thanks for the photos because I know the drive from Whitehorse to Skagway tomorrow will be scenic!