Glad I waited a day to make this trip – yesterday was all rain into the night and today is some sunshine and dry weather. But we did wake up to 40 degrees – winter is near.
This has to be the most scenic drive we had made – the road weaved through the mountain and across the rivers and the road was smooth – no frost heaves! I was awestruck all the way.
Did have to cross the border for the 6th time and no problems – we look like good people.
We crossed the peak at 3,200 feet and it was an 11% grade downhill into Skagway – treacherous at times and exciting at the same time.
Arrived in Skagway before lunch and stopped at our first choice campground and had to call the manager to make contact – no vacancy as he was expecting a caravan to be coming. But he suggested I try (my third choice) Pullen Creek RV Park. Reviews had it noisy as the train was nearby and always tooting its whistle.
They had space so we settled in – probably to our good fortune as we are within walking distance of the town area. Small park with gravel roads and 30 Amp and water hook ups – need to dump on way out.
The salmon were running and collapsing (dying) near our campground.
Had lunch and then took the dogs to explore town. Brenda got her Jr Ranger book at the Klondike Historic site. We walked through town – quite the tourist town as this is also a port city for the Inside Passage ship tours – lots of people walking around to experience an Alaskan city.
Friday woke up to 40 degrees and raining.
Visited the Klondike NHS and watched the movie about the gold rush in 1897. What a struggle for these men and women during a time of United States depression and what an experience they went through – 100,000 people started and 30,000 made it to Dawson City, Yukon and only a few found gold.
The National Park system has been key to preserving many of the buildings in Skagway because of their historical significances. They have even kept the wood sidewalks.
Brenda got her Jr Ranger badge today.
Walked around town and window shopped. Quite the touristy town and I noticed lots of diamond shops. Finally stopped and asked a manager why so many shops and he responded that what the ladies (off the cruise ships) want.
Did a ranger tour of the town titled “Women of Skagway” and you know that that was about?
Note the “House of Negotiable Affection”
Saw the Moore Cabin – oldest structure in Skagway.
We bought tickets for the “The Days of 98” show. A live production of the life of Soapy Smith (con artist – selling soap – and also one who tried to make Skagway a better city – ?? questionable)
but was shot by Frank Reid and killed. Great “can can” dancers and story line – learned a little history. This show has been running since 1923. And one of the girls was from St. Louis.
Four days before Soapy was killed he was declared the undisputed leader of Skagway as he was the grand marshal for the 4th of July parade.
Stopped at the Skagway Brewery (for a cold one) but it was more of a restaurant than brewery. Beer not that great.
Took pictures of the Arctic Brotherhood Hall (now visitor’s center). It was a fraternal hall and is the most photographed building in Alaska.
We sat down that evening and watched “Paint your Wagon” which was the musical about the gold rush in California – we could relate to the story.
Saturday is raining and 50 degrees – need to get ready for tomorrow and move on to the ferry. The sun broke about 9 and we said let’s take off and do the Chilkoot Trail – the Klondike Gold Rush Trail that so many died and failed at finding gold.
Visited the Gold Rush Cemetery along the way – found the graves of Soapy Smith and Frank Reid.
Also walked up the trail and found the Reid Falls – 300 feet tall and a lot of water coming down with a roar.
Beautiful drive around the inlet?? And enjoyed the mountains and emerald green water.
Did find the Slide Cemetery in which 60 prospectors heading toward Dawson City for gold were killed in an avalanche on April 3, 1898.
Then came upon the lost city of Dyea – which was one of the starting points for the gold rush (town had 10,000 people at one time) but now there is only 3 as it died when Skagway was selected to the terminal for the railroad built from here to Whitehorse and then everyone used the railroad to get north and settled in Skagway.
Finally we stopped at the Chilkoot Trailhead
(this is the trail that many gold rush prospectors ventured north on). We started down the trail with the dogs but it was wet and sloppy and started to get very steep. We could relate to the early prospectors and how tough they had it. Famous picture of the original miners hiking over the pass. We didn’t make it too far – but who’s keeping track?
Had lunch at the Red Onion which was a house of prostitution in the heyday – even the waitresses dressed in 1900 costumes and teased you. For $10 you could go upstairs for a “quickie” tour and see the way it was back then – we passed as we have toured a brothel before.
Spent the afternoon prepping the coach for entrance on the ferry. Needed to remove the bike rack and tow bar (ferry ticket is based on length) so keep everything as short as possible. Have everything stored in the basement and the bikes will be stored on the bed.
We did have pulled pork poutine (French Canadian junk food) for dinner.
Oh yes we did have sunshine a couple of days.
We really enjoyed Skagway, lots to do and good restaurants and lots of history and spectacular scenery. Skagway sits on a bay surrounded on all three sides by mountains. I will have to say I have never seen so many jewelry stores and tourist shops.
Sunday we get on the Alaska Marine Highway ferry and head to Juneau.