Day 4 – Skagway (the Fort Lauderdale of Alaska)
Now I know why the locals call it that. It was an absolutely gorgeous and sunny day. Temps were up in the high 60’s. The bad news was, we had all dressed for Juneau again, so we were over-dressed. Most of us had our jackets tied around our waist.
Our excursion did not leave until 12:30pm. You know what that means – Shopping! Sigh.
So, we walked the long walk down the pier, and into town to do some looking around. Skagway is more of a shopping mall than a town. It is very cleverly decorated to appear like a western turn of the century town – down to the gal waving and flirting as men walked past the saloon.
I expected the place to be full of souvenir shops, but I could not believe the number of diamond jewelry stores. Are there diamonds being mined secretly in Alaska? Did they hear I was coming? The sales people were pushy and that turned me off. Probably not a wise idea to buy diamonds from a tourist trap anyway. They sure were purty* though 😉
Today’s adventure – a train ride up to White Summit and the Yukon. – A replica of the train that took passengers up the steep slopes of Alaska and the Yukon to mine gold. We were not allowed to get off the train, so we would not be doing any hiking or mining for gold. Darn! You can imagine my disappointment. There was no room except a foot or two away from the tracks. The train ride had magnificent views of White Summit. I made the mistake of noticing how high and how many tunnels and bridges we went over. Of course, I held my breath, passing all of those scary things. That made the trip feel even slower.
I could see why the miner’s chose this place – the rivers carrying water, and gold, from the Yukon could be panned almost since water tumbled fast, stirring up soil and rock.
Several sharp turns to travel this route. Seeing the engines way across the mountain was a bit strange. Most people startled when the train jolted and jerked around, so I was not the only chicken on board. (below)
Only from this railroad can you see the Bridal Veil Falls. (below) The waterfall cascades 6,000 feet from the glaciers on Mt. Clifford and Mt. Cleveland.
There are 2 tunnels the train goes through. One is maybe 100 yards at the most, the other is quite longer. Anyway, sneaking smooches in the dark was fun. I would recommend this tour for couples, both young and old!
You may want to sit behind family members who like to post photos on Facebook.
*Purty, [purr tee] adj. ‘Pretty’ said with a hillbilly accent. From the Dictionary of Words That Should Exist.