Monday, July 08, 2013
Haines Junction to Skagway!
Today we drove from Haines Junction to Skagway. Originally we had planned to drive down to Haines from Haines Junction, but we ended up with several days extra and at a friend's suggestion, we decided Haines was not the place to spend them. We had planned to spend some time in Skagway and it would mean taking the ferry up from Haines. We also wanted to do the White Pass/Yukon Railroad trip and that leaves from Skagway. So we changed our plans and drove to Skagway and then booked a ferry for MinnieMee and us on Friday to Haines. It is at Haines on Sunday that we start our ferry hopping down through the inside passage.
We had a nice trip. It started out sunny and clear and we were able to make good time on the road in Whitehorse. We passed by the road leading to our friends Sue and Steve's house and wished we had altered our plans a bit to spend the night there visiting again. But we went on to Whitehorse and stopped for some groceries. Then it was on to Skagway. Outside of Whitehorse a road turns south and is called the South Klondike Road. That is where we turned. The road is decent, but there is a lot of growth on the sides of the road and because of our close encounter the other day with momma moose and twin calves, we ran a bit slower than the speed limit. There are lots of lakes along the road and we stopped at a couple to take some pictures. One lake is called Emerald Lake and the waters are so beautiful. According to the information, it is the light reflecting off the minerals on the bottom of the lake that makes the colors that you see. I particularly liked this lake and the one cabin that sits on the one end. I could be happy there. . . in the summer anyway. LOL
There also is the world's smallest desert here. It is called the Carcross Desert and is actually an ancient lake bed. The wind blows so much here nothing can grow in the soil and the dunes continue to shift and move with the wind. It was interesting.
We also stopped at Carcross. The White Pass railroad has an office here and it actually stops here on some runs, so we were able to buy our tickets here for tomorrow. We were glad to be able to get the ride we wanted when we wanted it. We explored Carcross and visited the shops. They is a lot of rebuilding going on in this little community. I think they are trying to bring people in and give them something to do when they ride the train up here. They also have a display for the SS Tutshi. This was a sternwheeler that they were in the process of restoring. The restoration was almost complete when it tragically caught fire. Only the front hull was salvaged. Now they have built a skeleton to show the actual size and place some parts back in their original position, like the wheel, boilers, etc.
We continued on and passed by Canadian customs, where we did not have to stop. Then we drove further to the U.S. Border and got grilled by a taskmaster at arms. He kind of had me rattled. I was prepared with a list of food items we had, etc., but he asked what we bought in Canada. Thinking back now, we have bought very little in Canada other than food and fuel because I wanted to buy souvenirs in Alaska. Terry piped in with the purchases and he accepted that and let us on through. Unlike our friends, Tab and Deanna, who got set aside and their cupboards and refrigerator gone through today when they crossed the border into Washington State.
We drove on down to Skagway and we could see cruise ships in the harbor from higher up in the mountains. It was a neat site to see. We drove on through the town and found our way to our campground which is right next to the harbor. We can see the cruise ships from the front of our coach. But already they are coming and going. They must just stay one day, then leave that night. We don't hear them coming/going. They are like in stealth mode.
We didn't do much looking around town this evening, but from what we saw coming in, there are a lot of shops to visit and things to investigate, so we will be busy this week.
Till next time. . .