“But under it all they were men, penetrating the land of desolation and mockery and silence, puny adventurers bent on colossal adventure, pitting themselves against the might of a world as remote and alien and pulseless as the abysses of space. ”
― Jack London, The Call of the Wild
Location: Skagway, Alaska and Carcross, Yukon Territory
We made port this morning in the historic Alaskan port town of Skagway. This was one of the major ports of entry into Alaska (and the nearby Yukon Territory) during the Klondike Gold Rush of the 1890s. Would be miners would make port here, expecting that gold was nearby, only to discover that they had to go another 150 miles north to Dawson City, Yukon. But first they’d have to get themselves, and 2,000 pounds of Canadian required gear over the nearby mountains. On foot! Some people overused animal labor to aid the passage. They had two paths, the longer White Pass, and the Chilkoot Trail. These long hard journey’s became the basis for a couple Jack London novels.
Today we explored the White Pass, because it’s where the road (and railway) is located. Unlike the rest of the Alaskan Inner Passage, Skagway is connected to the rest of North America via roads. Our guide today was James of Chilkoot Charters, someone who comes in from Arizona for the tourist season. He provided excellent background and narration during the tour.
We started the tour by going up the White Pass, stopping occasionally for pictures of waterfalls and other scenic shots. Initially, conditions were foggy and rainy/snowy which made for bad pictures.
But sure enough, as soon as we crossed the border in British Columbia, Canada, the sun came out, and the rain and wind stopped. This made for much better pictures. No one lived on the road we traveled upon and we rarely saw other vehicles. So we stopped at many of the scenic overlooks along the way, being treated to raw natural beauty.
We weren’t in British Columbia for long. We soon entered the Yukon Territory.
It was also a beautiful day for seeing wildlife. Apparently, black bears love to eat dandelions. So we were on the lookout for bears along the drive. Luckily we encountered a mother and two young cubs. She was mostly focused on eating flowers.
While the cubs we focused on rolling down hills, climbing trees, generally being cute to humans and annoyance to mommy.
We soon made it to the small Canadian town of Carcross. This was another major stop for gold rushers back in the day. After making it over the mountains, the miners would construct boats nearby to transport their gear and paddle along the many lakes and rivers until they made it to Dawson.
Today, its a tourist stop. Our major stop here was the Caribou Crossing Trading Post. We had lunch there, explored the Mountie and Taxidermy Museum, and got to play with huskie puppies!
We also stopped by to visit the Carcross Desert, the smallest desert in the world, only 1 sq mi in size. It’s not a true desert because it’s too humid. The sand dunes were deposited by glaciers during the last glacial period.
We also stopped by to view the nearby Emerald Lake.
On our way back to the ship, we were treated with seeing a different black bear and cubs eating along the side of the road.
In the evening we attended the premier showing of “City of Dreams” put on by the ship’s singers and dancers. It was an entertaining production show, with amazing choreography and great singing. It included a lot of music, from pop to broadway. And Ryan was surprised and delighted to hear the Diva Plavalaguna live.
Tomorrow we make port in Icy Strait, Alaska. We don’t have any excursions booked here, so we’ll just walk the nature trail on our own.
Today’s weather High 58, Low 43, Partly Sunny
Sunrise: 4:48am, Sunset 11:05pm
Total Countries: 2, US and Canada
Total States equivalent: 3, Alaska, British Columbia, Yukon Terrirorty
Total Steps: 9,209