Saturday, June 16, 2007

Skagway, Alaska

From the desert to the sea, from the mountain lakes to the granite peaks, we saw it all today. This was the most spectacular scenery we have seen yet.
After breakfast and filling one propane tank we set off for Skagway, Alaska without the trailer. The road from Whitehorse goes through the small town of Carcross before climbing up to White Pass and then descending into Skagway, Alaska. The trip is only about 100 miles but we started in the Yukon, passed through about 40 miles of British Columbia and finally entered the US again about 20 miles from Skagway.

The trip started with an overcast sky and the rain held off as we stopped at an overlook for Emerald Lake. The color is surreal. It is caused by marl on the lake bottom and very clear water.

Then a short distance farther along is the Carcross Desert, just before the town of Carcross. It is caused by the sandy sediment of a long gone lake that is held in place by the local winds. What a strange place to find sand dunes.

We then passed through the town of Carcross and drove beside several large lakes that were all connected by rivers.

The rains began and the clouds lowered as more and more spectacular snow covered mountains came into view.

We continued climbing until we reached the top of White Pass above Skagway. Ahead the clouds seemed to disappear as we descended into the most incredible display of waterfall after waterfall cascading down the mountains around us.

We descended into Skagway and had pizza for lunch. Then we strolled through the many tourist traps that line the main street of Skagway. Deidra, Dom and Nana all found some jewelry or souvenirs they could not live without.

There were two cruise ships in town so the place was busy in the early afternoon, but most had drifted back to their ships by four PM when Dom and Nana took the walking tour offered by the National Park Service. We had all watched the movie in the visitor center about the gold rush in 1898 that started Skagway. While they were on their walking tour, I put about 85 gallons of diesel fuel in the truck. The cost in Skagway was about $1.50 per gallon less than the cost in Whitehorse.

We drove back through the same glorious scenery on the return to Whitehorse. It was a day we will all remember for a long time.


  1. Wow, that lake is spectacular!

    I remember Mom & Dad also visiting Haines, which is right down there near Skagway. However, it appears from the Google map that you would have had to take the ferry over; there is no road over from there.

    Be sure to read the poem Mom loved about the Yukon while you are going through. I can't remember the name or author, but I think it was "The Call of the Yukon". Mom can confirm.

  2. Thanks for the continuing saga and the pictures; you're as good as Charles Curralt! (or however it is spelled)
    The poems Donna mentioned are the ones by Robert Service. I think it is in or near Dawson, where "A bunch of the boys were Whooping it up in the Malemute Saloon." I have a picture of Dad "bellying up to the bar" there and one of him talking on the wall telephone. I had one of Service's books of poems, and love them, especially the one which says, "I want to go back, and I will". No telling where the book is now!

  3. That scenery is incredibly beautiful.

  4. Such wonderful photos! I love them! That first one is the best! WOW!

  5. I remember that one of the most beautiful spots was breaking over the top of the mountain and descending. into Skagway. As we went down, there was a tourist train chugging up, across the river. Beautiful I have my photos and diary open to the places where you are.

  6. I found this link for the Malemute Saloon poem.

  7. I found my favorite: "Spell of the Yukon"---("I want to go back, and I will"). His poetry is like an addiction with me; when I read one, I have to read more. How different Alaska must have been 100 or more years ago.
    You lucky people! Enjoy and keep those pictures and text coming.