May 7, 2017 - Skagway AK

This is the town where landed many of the prospectors (stampeders) hopeful for that find of color in the Yukon Territory of Canada.  The Canadian government made as a requirement of entry the possession of a year’s worth of provisions.  These had to be relayed over the 3,700 foot high Chilkoot Pass and down to a lake.  There they could raft to the Yukon River and float the rapids to Dawson City.  Ambitious souls.  We will drive over the top.  That will be challenge enough. 

The weather has warmed.  It reached 59 degrees in Juneau yesterday.  Today became cloudy and it peaked at 55 here in Skagway.  We rode the ferry again.  Left the campground in the evening and parked in the lot so as to report for check-in at 5 a.m. 

That done, we had to board.  Ours was the largest vehicle going aboard and I had the honor of backing it down the long ramp and then across the cargo deck and through the ship to the last space in front of the bow.  The good news was that I was able to drive forward coming out when we arrived here.

The six hour voyage took us up the Lynn Canal to Haines and then on to Skagway.  The fiord narrows and ends about a mile past Skagway.  It is lined on each side by pointy snow-covered mountains.  The lower slopes are forested except where avalanches have created meadows.  There are many such meadows.  Where the road crosses them are signs saying “Do Not Stop.”  Tree line is at about two thousand feet.  Above that is snow and rock.  Today there were clouds too.

The town is dead.  We found the Red Onion Saloon and took an Alaskan brew with a few locals.  Walked down the middle of the street.  Tonight the main street was bare.  But, the schedule indicates that four cruise ships will arrive Monday night and dump some nine thousand tourists onto the dock on Tuesday morning.  So, we will visit the national park and museums tomorrow and drive up the Klondike Highway to visit winter on Tuesday.  On Wednesday we will likely take a hike.  A good plan for a tourist.