SKAGWAY & STORM AT SEA
Sept. 9-10, 2004

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In 1898 at the peak of the Klondike Gold Rush, Skagway had about 20,000 people. Today, it has less than 1,000! (Not counting the daily influx of summer cruise passengers.) The entire town is on the Historic Register and is a National Park.

This interesting building was built by the gold-seekers who obviously had some time on their hands! It is entirely faced with driftwood they found on the beach.  Originally, it was a fraternal lodge building.

We took a van trip from Skagway to the top of the White Pass Road which goes all the way to Whitehorse in Yukon Territory, Canada. The last few miles of our trip were within Canada.

Our first stop was at “Liarsville” just outside of Skagway. This is a replica of the tent city where the gold seekers set up camp while hauling their ton of supplies up the White Pass Trail. The U.S. reporters following the Klondike Gold Rush also hung out here--much more comfy than hiking up that terrible trail! In their tents in “Liarsville” they typed out stories about how easy it was to get to the gold fields--and how gold was just lying there, waiting to be picked up. Of course, it was the reporters who were lying, hence the name of the tent town. In “Liarsville” we were treated to a really funny skit about the Gold Rush and had the chance to pan for gold. Karen and Mark look a bit skeptical, don’t they?

The boundary between Alaska and the Yukon Territory.

Our van trip ended in “Tormented Valley” in the Yukon Territory where the gold seekers were truly tormented by vicious mosquitoes in the summer and snow blindness from the sun on the snow in winter.

When we awoke on Sept. 10, we were sailing down along the Pacific Ocean side of Vancouver Island under gray skies and whitecaps. In the afternoon the captain announced that we would be in a severe storm with gale-force winds. Later, we learned that we had experienced Force 10 or above winds (55-65 mph) and 20-foot seas! We rocked and rolled for about 15 hours--longest night of my life! Glenn took this picture from the Atrium on Deck 5. Later, at night, waves were crashing ABOVE that window. Getting to sail through a severe Alaskan storm was one “adventure” I could have done without!

Glenn and Barbara on a “formal night.”

Mark and Karen enjoying the sunset and spotting Orca killer whales as our ship left Skagway and sailed south through the Lynn Canal.

 

We all agreed--a great way to celebrate birthdays and see new sights.

T H E   E N D

Photography credits: Glenn, Barbara and Mark.

 

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