Skagway, Alaska

Trip Start Jul 04, 2013
Trip End Jul 21, 2013

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Flag of United States  , Alaska
Wednesday, July 10, 2013

This morning, just as we woke, we were pulling into Skagway, Alaska. This would be our third and final port of call for the cruise. Sunrise today was around 4:20 a.m., so we're clearly sailing farther and farther north.

Our excursion for today was the White Pass Railroad. This is a historic railroad originally built to support the Klondike Gold Rush in the late 1800s. Approximately 35,000 men built this railroad over the course of two years or so. It was quite an accomplishment to build a railroad through this area, as it is very mountainous and the weather is actually not good most of the year.

Our trip would take us from the ship docks up to an elevation of approximately 3,000 feet and across the border into British Columbia. After a rainy day in Juneau, we had perfect weather for Skagway and the train ride through that mountainous scenery was amazing. The train wound its way up a valley, across a few bridges, through a couple of tunnels, and ultimately over the pass into Canada. We all had a great time taking in the beautiful scenery and taking a lot of photos and videos.

After returning from the train journey, we took a short bus ride into town and then traveled by foot to the Gold Rush Cemetery outside of town. The cemetery was interesting, with many grave stones from the late 1800s and early 1900s. Those willing to take a short, uphill walk were rewarded with a very nice waterfall.

After returning to town, we headed for the Red Onion Saloon, which was the best brothel in Skagway back in the Gold Rush days. Today, it’s a great place for food and drink and they give 20-minute tours of the old brothel! It didn’t take long for Dad to get his picture taken with a few of the waitresses. You couldn’t get the smile off of his face if you tried! I don’t know what it is about old brothels, but once Dad was in there he was a different man – taking pictures with the girls, ordering shots and beers, and, of course, tipping the waitresses! We have to give a shout out to SteveB here for suggesting both the Red Dog Saloon in Juneau and the Red Onion in Skagway. We had a great time at both.

After lunch, we spent some time wondering around Skagway, checking out some shops and just enjoying the beautiful day. We also spent some time talking to a national park ranger. I didn’t realize it, but we were standing in the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park. Apparently the National Park Service owns twenty-one buildings in town to help preserve everything (similar to Harper’s Ferry in West Virginia).

Upon returning to the ship, we noticed that the tide had come in and the ship appeared to be about twenty-five feet taller than when we left!

We enjoyed a great evening on board the ship. After dinner, we were treated to a beautiful sunset that seemed to just last forever. The entire area is extremely picturesque and just seems to keep getting better. The sun did not set until after 10:00 p.m. and the twilight was just amazing, with the colors of the sunset, the water, and the mountains all around us.

It’s hard to come up with the right words to describe everything, so I’m including as many pictures as I can to help everyone see just how beautiful Alaska is.

Tomorrow we will be sailing in Glacier Bay National Park for most of the day and we’re all looking forward to the views we will be treated to.
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