Sep. 5-6. We continued to enjoy spectacular alpine scenery as we traveled south from our campground in Kluane National Park, gaining elevation to the “Haines Summit” which marks the border between the Yukon Territory and Alaska. Then we descended from about 3000 feet to sea level in 40 miles, entering the temperate rain forest with large trees that is typical of Western Washington as well as Southeast Alaska. After parking our trailer at an RV park, we walked around the historic site of Fort Seward, which was established during the 1898 Klondike gold rush, but shut down in 1947. The officer’s quarters are now private residences and B&B’s but there are a number of historical markers. Not much else attracted
our interest in Haines.
On Monday morning (Sep. 5, Labor Day) we took the one-hour ferry to Skagway. After parking our trailer there at about 3:00 PM, we had time to go to the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park Visitor Center and walk the streets to see some other historic buildings, along with 20 Jewelry stores, which, like in Ketchikan, are owned by the cruise ships (there were two ships in the harbor). We also drove out nine miles to the Dyea town site, which was the start of the Chilkoot Trail to the Klondike, the main competitor to the White Pass route out of Skagway. Both were “boom” towns during the gold rush, but Dyea is nothing but mud flats now because once the White Pass railroad was built out of Skagway, no one used the Chilkoot anymore. However, the trail is now maintained by the Park Service as an historic trail with various artifacts from the gold rush along the 20-mile route.
On Tuesday, the big event was to take the White Pass and Yukon Railway excursion to White pass and back, which took about 3.5 hours. They were running at least four, 15-car trains, mostly loaded with folks off the cruise ships. Unfortunately, it was a misty, low cloud day, and by the time we reached the summit we were totally engulfed in cloud and could see very little. But there were some good views on the way up.
We were finally on our way out of Skagway with our trailer in the afternoon and found the sunshine as we descended over White Pass heading north back into the Yukon territory. We are now in Teslin, Yukon, and have 1520 miles to go to get back to Olympia in the next 5-6 days. Internet connectivity will be limited from now on, so this may be the last blog until I can do a final wrap up after returning to Olympia.