Tuesday, October 6, 2015


Skagway gets its name from the Tlingit people: “a windy place with white caps on the water.”
Unfortunately we didn’t have any free time to actually explore the city so I really can’t elaborate on it. We had booked an all day excursion to travel to Canada’s Yukon where we had the opportunity to ride the historic White Pass & Yukon Railroad.
Our tour began when we boarded our motor coach at the port. We drove through the boardwalk-lined streets and false-front buildings what is modern day Skagway.
We travelled along the scenic Klondike Highway which apparently parallels the route used by prospectors during the 1898 Klondike Gold Rush era.


As we drove along and eventually ascended to the 3,292-foot White Pass Summit our bus driver slash narrator told many tales of the hardships endured by earlier travelers in their quest to reach the interior.
At the top, we hoped to marvel at the breathtaking views of majestic mountains, cascading waterfalls and epic glaciers. Obviously at this altitude it's hit and miss with regards to that opportunity.


We crossed over into Canada at the Skagway Fraser British Columbia border crossing.

FACT: Although people have been crossing the border at or near this location in large numbers since the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898. It initially was a seasonal crossing, closing in the winter, but it has been open year round since 1986. Due to the rough terrain and frequent harsh weather, the US Border Inspection Station is located approximately 8 miles south of the Canadian border, making it the farthest offset from the border of any US land border station crossing in Alaska.

Once over the White Pass, the lush growth of the coast gave way to Canada's rugged wilderness. We travelled through the glaciated area known as Tormented Valley and along the string of lakes that make up the headwaters of the Yukon River. A number of photo stops were included so we could visually document our journey.

Moon Lake, British Columbia


Alaska proved to be an RVer’s haven; we noted many off the beaten path type of places to stop and dry camp for a night or more. Some people simply just pull off to the side of the road and set up camp.


We stopped again at the border of British Columbia and the Yukon. They placed their welcome signs directly across from each other on the opposite sides of the Klondike Highway.


Behold, the ‘world’s smallest desert’, located in the unlikely northern locale of Carcross, Yukon; a balmy six degrees south of the Arctic Circle in the northern edge of Canada’s Coast Mountains.
The answer, to be clear, is that the Carcross Desert is not an actual desert.  Rather, it is a large bed of sand that marks the location of a glacial lake bed dating back over 10 000 years ago.  The names ‘Carcross Dunes’ or ‘Carcross Sands’ would probably be more accurate.  The name, however, has been embedded for so long in local language that it’s not going anywhere.  Regardless of what it’s called, it’s a fascinating geological oddity.


We stopped for lunch at Caribou Crossing Trading Post where we enjoyed a delicious chicken barbecue complete with all-you-can-eat homemade blueberry donuts tea and coffee. After our meal, we had the time to stroll around Yukon's most extensive Wildlife Museum, which displayed creatures from Yukon’s past and present. Such as the steppe bison, grizzly bears, monster moose, woolly mammoth and the world’s largest mounted polar bear. I didn’t stay very long as those stuffed creatures freak me out a little bit!

We also visited a Dog Musher's Village where we were allowed to take pictures with the sled dogs and husky puppies. For an extra fee, you could join them for a dog cart ride.


These chuck wagons serve as dining tables during the warmer days in the Yukon, however we opted for the warmth of indoor dining area. Nonetheless a cool idea though, we totally would have sat in one if it was warmer out, eating with mitten on is quite my style.
After lunch we were afforded a shopping opportunity in the native village of Carcross where Sandra bought a pair of handmade deer skin slippers.

Then it was on to Fraser, British Columbia to board the historic, White Pass Scenic Railway for your return trip to Skagway.

Built in 1898 as a way to expedite travel during the Klondike Gold Rush, the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad is a 3-foot wide Narrow Gauge Railroad that climbs from sea level to almost 3,000 feet in the first 20 miles. All aboard!


In the photo below is the actual border between Canada and the United States as can only be seen by rail.

The trip features 2 tunnels and travels over sky-high trestles and bridges.

One trestle we didn’t cross over!

One that we did!
A person can even catch the train in the mountains such as at this stop in Glacier, British Columbia.
Fully restored, the comfortable passenger train cars feature large picture windows and are pulled by vintage diesel locomotives. Our 27-mile excursion on board the White Pass and Yukon Railroad was enhanced by the breathtaking vistas, waterfalls, mountains, glaciers and the unforgettable Klondike Trail, a tribute to the optimistic prospectors in search of their fortune.

What an amazing adventure into the Yukon we had today. We arrived back in Skagway within walking distance to the ship.

We didn’t have any time to stop into a local pub to mingle with the locals which was a bit of a bummer. It sounds to me like the end to an otherwise perfect day don’t yeah think? I need a nap!

We are off to Juneau tomorrow where we have another excursion booked….whale watching-wait until you see those photos!

See yeah tomorrow, thanks for stopping by.

Rick and Sandra :)