Four days in Skagway.
Trip Start Mar 04, 2005
253Trip End Dec 31, 2014
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We unhooked our cars prior to heading down the 11.5 miles of up to 11% grades into Skagway. All went well until we arrived at the U.S. Customs station 6.8 miles from our destination. I don't want to malign our hard working (?) Customs employees so just let me quote him directly. " What, did you unhook your cars so that you could double my work?" Enough said!
We arrived, settled in to our campsites at Pullen Creek RV Park and headed out for a walk around town. We had no problems getting into and out of the stores and National Park sites and naively assumed it would be like this every day. Of course, the next day ( Monday ) there was again only one cruise ship in town and things went along very smoothly as part of our group took the White Pass & Yukon Railway tour. All of us headed out to Dyea in the afternoon for a guided walk of this ghost town. Ranger Derrick commented that it was the largest group he had ever had on one of his tours in the 4 summers he had been leading them. ( our 10 plus 2 other couples & 3 kids.)
Things would change drastically on Tuesday when four large cruise ships pulled in. An attempt to walk around town by yours truly quickly led to me returning to the campground to sit out the chaos. Ken, along with a few other members of our group were off on a helicopter tour of the Meade Glacier. To give you an idea of the chaos Skagway on a non-cruise ship day has a population of just under 900. On a four cruise ship day ( they have two each week during the season - Tuesday's and Wednesday's ) they get between 8,000 & 9,000 people.
Tourism is good and it is what keeps this part of the state afloat. This is a beautiful town full of history and I am glad we had the two calmer days to get things done before the hordes of humanity arrived. Of course, the other benefit of staying in the local campground - located within rock throwing distance of the cruise ship docks by the way - is that when the tourists all head back for dinner on board at 5pm we once again have the town to ourselves! I like to refer to us as visitors, not tourists. We are after all living here during our time in town. By the way, four days turned out to be the perfect amount of time to spend here. We managed to see everything we wanted to and feel like we had a true Skagway 'experience'. I'm still not sure what the folks on the cruise ships took away from there 6-8 hours in town, maybe the desire to return at some later date in an RV??