Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Skagway, AK

Travel log #3 (musings edition)

If it's Tuesday, this must be Skagway. This is a small town with a small airport. Back in 1897, this was the staging point for 100,000 men and women to reach the Klondike Gold Strike at Bonanza Creek, Yukon Territory in Canada. The gold fields were over 70 miles from this town. Skagway was the closest point with a harbor at that time. The problem was that in order to get to the gold field, the gold seekers had to get themselves and their supplies through some of the most perilous landscape imaginable. The White Pass route into Interior Canada was such an obstacle that only 30,000 to 40,000 actually made it to the Klondike and only about 4000 struck it rich. The most notable attraction here is the famous White Pass & Yukon Route railroad which traverses the perilous landscape all the way to Whitehorse, YT, some 110 miles inland. A traveler cannot come here and not take the ride on this incredibly scenic route in restored antique passenger cars. So we did just that and were able to get a few good pictures.

We were sure glad they built a more modern bridge a little bit further down the line. This one was not looking too good.

This is a small glacial lake at the higher elevation
about the 26 mile point near Fraser, British Columbia. It's a good thing that we had our passports, the RCMP's looked like they meant business.

Many of the journalists that came to cover the gold rush never quite made it to the Klondike and were forced to turn back. They had to report something.. and hence the name of this town just outside Skagway. Some reports were so outragiously exaggerated and complete fabrications that the locals decided on a most appropriate name and it stuck. People in period costume entertained the visitors with song and dance and there was more baked salmon and more..you guessed it... Alaskan Summer Ale.

Back in town, we toured this place. Yes, it's a vintage period brothel in the middle of town. I told you they cherish these places here.
The dolled-up "madam" of the house, showing way too much cleavage, took us upstairs, so to speak. There our small group was treated to some wine for the ladies and Alaskan Ale for the men. The rooms were tiny (just enough for a bed and dresser with large mirror and no windows). I soon found myself to be the victim of one of the madam's raunchy jokes during the tour... something about taking only a couple of minutes... when explaining the "trade". HA HA HA. Ok, it was funny.

Back on the ship, we find this towel elephant.
Linda cracked up.. I think it's a little creepy.
Judging from previous cruises we took, this one wasn't bad.

The ship's captain was kind enough
to anchor just a short distance away and we were able to watch the fireworks display. Sorry no fireworks pictures. This one shows the harbor as we sailed away. Note that this was near midnight and it never did get completely dark.


San Nakji said...

I don't know if I would ever get used to the 24 hour day in summer up there. I wonder if anyone does?

Gold fever made people do strange things and made them go to strange places. Still without these 'pioneers' we wouldn't have such interesting history!

roman said...

San Nakji,

We packed some of those blindfold eye covering thingies and tried to stick to our usual sleep cycles. It was a bit strange to have daylight at 2:00AM. It was very much a factor up in Fairbanks.

Renegade Eye said...

san nakji: It's been too long since I visited your blog.

This blogger is from San Francisco, spending a few months in AK. I'm sure she'll like to hear from you.