Skagway, Alaska is a beautiful little town that's still holding on to it's historical roots. This town site was originally used as a hunting and fishing spot by the Chilkoots and Chilkats and the original name, Skagua, is Tlingit for windy place. Later in history, Skagway became a major jumping off point for prospectors in the Klondike Gold Rush of 1896-1899. An estimated 100,000 prospectors migrated to the Yukon in search of gold. One of the main migration pathways was the White Pass which was created in 1887 in the Skagua river valley. In addition to the trail, in 1898 construction began on the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad and was completed in 1900. The trail, the railroad, and the deep harbor cemented Skagway's existence while other boom towns disappeared after the gold rush.
**Quick note: I usually try to get photos without people in them for privacy reasons, but it was unavoidable in this case. If there are only a few people I usually just blur the one or two faces, but there were so many people this time I thought it would be way too distracting. So I came up with what I'm calling "patchwork people"....the gray blocky coverings.
Our Adventures in White Pass and the Yukon Territory
We had a lot of fun in Skagway. The first day we were there, we took a bus tour of White Pass and the Yukon Territory. It was a narrated tour that took us around Skagway, up the pass, stopping at the sites (waterfalls, lakes, animals, glaciers, etc.), lunch at Spirit Lake Lodge which has the best homemade pies, a quick stop in the little village of Caribou Crossing called "Carcross", and then back to Skagway. It was a gray rainy scenic drive but it was really beautiful too! Lots of neat stuff to see like Tutshi Lake, Emerald Lake and the "smallest desert in the world" Carcross Desert. The desert was actually one square mile of sand dunes that had been created by the glaciers depositing silt. Very neat and very surprising to find in the middle of that mountainous landscape. Unfortunately I don't seem to have any photos of the desert so here's some other places to check out.
Our second day in Skagway was all about exploring the town and it was a really nice sunny day. When you get off the cruise ship the train is literally right there as you can see in my pictures. We walked around it and saw a really neat snow plow train and then we were in town. We walked the boardwalk up and down. Wandered into the shops that caught our eye. There were a lot of the usual jewelry shops that you find at every cruise port, but we mostly focused on the local art shops. Kirmse's Curios was a really neat find! It was filled with arts and crafts done by Alaskan artists from all over the state. It has an amazing variety of art pieces. We also checked out The Loom and saw some really neat patchwork leather rugs. They were so like quilts, I had to take some pictures to share. The store clerk told me they were made from deer, moose and elk hides to make the different colors. And last, we had to check out the Red Onion. We had lunch there and even went on the tour. Here's a little tip on the tour, DON'T BE LATE! The tour schedule is listed on the wall at the front of the building and we decided to go see a tour that was happening in an hour. We wandered around the historical gold rush museum across the street to kill time and then wandered back at the time of the tour. Well my watch was off by like 2 minutes and we were told we were out of luck, we'd have to wait for the next tour......in an hour. Sigh... We decided to go sit on a bench in the shade and enjoy having internet on our phones. Cell service was very limited on this whole trip and it was nice to get to sit and rest. Well we didn't make the same mistake twice and we got to see the tour. It was really short but neat to see.
And of course, I visited Skagway's local quilt shop, Rushin' Tailor, which has two locations! I'll tell you all about that in my next post!
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