Skagway, Alaska

We chose to visit Skagway, Alaska just a couple hours of downhill driving from Whitehorse, YT.

Just after customs, we found the welcoming roadside pullout.

I was really looking forward to our whale watching excursion to Juneau through the Lynn Canal aboard the Fjordland, a fast catamaran with indoor and outdoor viewing areas.

Even National Geographic was in attendance.

Our captain pointed out various glaciers including this snaking one. Apparently you could book helicopter tours there from Juneau, but we had seen enough ice and passed on that opportunity.

Before long, our captain stopped and pointed out orca fins nearby. We saw two before we left.

I couldn’t resist this mountain with a cloud hat on.

Then, finally, whale’s tail!

The captain explained that a high whale’s tail is for a deep dive. They would be down for about 5 minutes. We waited. He said the water was as deep below us as the mountains are tall beside us.

Sure enough, in 5 minutes, they were back and much closer to us.

Beluga fins are so cool!

A larger one was being shadowed by a smaller one as they exchanged air again.

This group rolled around the surface for a couple minutes.

And with one last wave, they were gone and we moved on.

A small island was inhabited by stellar sea lions.

When we returned, we realized a front tire had gone flat. Richard and Mark promptly took it to the local service station and it was fixed quickly even though it was Sunday.

Our RV Park was right next to the harbour where all the big cruise ships park.

The next day, was the train trip through the White Pass. During the 1898 Klondike gold rush, most miners boarded a boat at Vancouver, moved up the Lynn Canal to Skagway where they had to scale the Rocky Mountains. This track was not completed until later, so they climbed with their gear to either the White Pass or Chilcoot Pass.

The train takes you over old wooden trestle bridges up into the clouds.

The iron trestle is no longer in use but really feels ghostly.

Our conductor explained about each site along the route.

This replica NWMP post at the top was where miners were checked to see if they had enough supplies to make the trip. If not, they had to leave their pile of supplies and go back down to Skagway for more.

Back below the clouds, our conductor told us about Dead-Horse Canyon where many horses were worked to death by people who didn’t know how to look after them. Fixed on getting rich quick, horses could be bought for $1. And when they had succeeded in getting one miner to the top, they were rounded up, taken back to Skagway and resold.

As we drove back up the highway and back through Canadian Customs, we stopped at the Canadian suspension bridge which had a lot of history and displays about the gold rush.

This was a waterfall roadside pullout on the way back up that resembled a horseshoe bend.

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