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USA: Skagway, Alaska: Mini Bus Gold Rush

May 28, 2013

sunny 68 °F

One of the great things about cruising is while you’re sleeping the boat is on its way to the next destination. When we opened the curtains today we were greeted with the sight of a large rock wall directly outside our window-- not very glamorous but we had arrived in the sleepy small town of Skagway. It is located in a steep valley and is one of the main cruise ports in Alaska. There’s amazing history and hiking but not really a lot going on in this town with a year round population of 620 residents. They did have some shall we say. . . "interesting" t-shirts and bumper stickers though...

Apparently this is a good place to see bears during peak salmon season but this wasn't peak season so our plan was to take a trip over to Haines for sea kayaking but after a short walk around town we decided on a Mini Bus Yukon Discovery tour following the White Pass Summit and just across the border into Canada. Skagway is at the start of the Klondike Highway and the main starting point of the Yukon Gold Rush of the 1890s. An estimated 100,000 prospectors migrated up to the Klondike region of the Yukon in north-western Canada between 1896 and 1899 in search of gold.

On the drive we could see why the journey proved too hard for most and only between 30,000 and 40,000 managed to arrive. Beautiful scenery surrounded us on the drive but we would NOT have wanted to be out there hiking, mining or any other outdoor activity without all the high tech cold weather gear that exist today! You know we took waaaaaay too may photos of nothing…(nothing to us after a few days in Alaska= amazing snow-covered mountains).

After several stops along the way we arrived at what looked like a tourist filled old western settlement called Caribou Crossing. It was a little cheesy and touristy but the BBQ was nice and the blue-eyed husky puppies made the trip worthwhile. In the summer they operate as a tourist destination but it’s really a dog sledding training center and what better training for dogs than pulling fat tourists up and down a dirt road! :)

The drive back was fairly uneventful except for a stop at the Carcross Desert—a literal desert in Alaska! Unfortunately we didn’t see any large animals on the way-- the dandelions were still intact on the grass which means most bears were still hibernating (it's a favorite snack when they wake up from their long slumbers).

When we arrived back in town we took a short walk around thinking about what to do with the next few hours before boarding the boat…I have an idea, let’s drink! I don’t know how Ruby does it but she managed to find a place to have a margarita and some chips and salsa…just about as far from Mexico as we could possible get. We then boarded our ship and immediately jumped into the jacuzzi to watch the town fade away as we slowly floated off into the sunset… romantic.

Posted by Tony.Ruby 00:00 Archived in USA

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