Friday, August 12, 2016
I have to refer to the ship newsletter for the day and date – so nice.
Skagway is an old Gold Rush town founded in 1897 when Captain William Moore staked a claim and built a wharf in anticipation of the rush for Klondike gold. The town’s name is based on the Tlingit word Schkagua, which translates to Home of the North Wind. Situated in a U-shaped glacial valley, it is slowly rebounding by 1 – 2 inches per year.
The route to the Klondike gold fields was by way of the Chilkoot Trail and the White Pass, snow-covered, rugged and time-consuming routes. In 1898, construction began on the White Pass & Yukon Railway, with the final spike hammered home two years later.
Skagway has restored much of its downtown, and is a lively tourist town, with historic reenactments and history tours led by costumed guides.
The White Pass and Yukon Route operates both diesel-electric and steam engines. In the winter, snow blower/ice cutter engines were employed to cut through the snow and ice on the rail.
This afternoon, we boarded a car that runs as far as the Canadian border, just over 20 miles from downtown Skagway, about a 3 hour round trip. The total route is about 110 miles, ending in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada. We rode along the Yukon River between towering mountains. The scenery was absolutely stunning.
Back on the ship for some more beautiful scenery, including a gorgeous sunset as we cruised towards Glacier Bay.