Skagway, Alaska

Thursday, September 2, 1999

Ships in harbor
Curise Ships fill the harbor.

Crystal Harmony, Holland America Veendam, and a smaller cruise ship are moored at the docks when we arrive. When we return from our 8-hour excursion to the Yukon Territory, we notice that another ship has docked behind ours—perhaps the Norwegian ship we have seen from time to time.

Skagway is a tiny town. I can't imagine the pressure (and economic benefit) that comes from having four big cruise ships in port at the same time. They say that there's at least one here every day from May 15th to September 15th.

We boarded a bus to follow the trail of the gold rush stampeders a hundred years ago. Only we didn't have to haul 2000 pounds of supplies up the very steep and treacherous trail. You've probably seen the picture of a long line of men climbing the mountain up out of Skagway. That's the trail we attempt to follow today—albeit on the Klondike Highway in the comfort of motorcoach and train.

Leaving Glacier Bay
Tutshi Lake

Tutshi Lake is one of several lakes along this highway that flow into the mighty Yukon River that took the stampeders to the gold fields in the Klondike.

A pea-soup fog shrouded the highway from the time we left Skagway until we had nearly reached the summit. This was the first photo-op of the trip.

A comment on safety: Our driver drove that road as if he had exray vision. I suppose the locals know to stay off the roads in those condidtions because the tour guides go weather permitting or not. A week or so after we returned home from our trip, we read about the group of Princess passengers stranded overnight on top of a glacier. This happened because the pilot landed in such high winds it blew the helicopter over. And it also blew over two craft sent out to rescue the group. Don't count on the people in charge to cancel things in case of dangerous weather.

On the topic of safety, it should be added, that we did make the trip safely. Steve was concerned about the bus overheating and called for a mechanic to come up from Skagway to check and replace a part.

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This page last updated February 2, 2000.