11/25/12

Skagway, Alaska, USA

 
When Skookum Jim, Tagish Charlie and George Washington Carmack discovered gold in the Yukon in 1897, they ignited a new period in history. We know it as the Gold Rush.
Thousands of gold-seekers steamed up the Inside Passage to Skagway, then hauled their 1,200 pounds of supplies over the arduous Chilkoot or White Pass trails. Next, they built boats, floated the mighty Yokun River to Dawson, where they hoped to find all that glitters _ gold for the picking.

Beautiful waterfall

It wasn't that easy, of course. Shipwrecks from 1897 dot the watery depths of the Inside Passage.  At that time, dead horses littered the trails. Skagway, then a makeshift town of 20 000 (around 800 year round today), tempted gold seekers with 80 saloons, ladies of the night and gambling houses controlled by con artist "Soapy" Smith, until he was killed in a shootout.

 The old cemitery on the way to the waterfall

Visitors still surge to the "Gateway of the Klondike", but the going is no longer tough. Today, the town is a major stopping point for luxury cruise lines that ply the waters of the Inside Passage, and Skagway without a gold rush to fall back on, has embraced tourism as a way to keep the community alive. The ferry stops in Skagway every day in summer and the ferry terminal is an easy walk away from downtown.

 In town

In addition to the Trail of '98 Museum, which houses the most extensive collection of gold rush artifacts in Alaska, Skagway offers the National Park interpretive centers, a slew of gift shops set along well-maintained boardwalks, and numerous cafes and restaurants serving seafood, ethnic cuisine and local flavours.

 Right in town

Get a grasp on the area by making the corner of Broadway and Second your first stop. There you'll find National park Service headquarters and the visitor center inside the old depot at the White Pass & Yukon Railroad .

 Skagway house

Skagaway has a good number of recreational vehicle parks (Skagway Mountain View RV Park, Pullen Creek/Skagway RV Park). Tent campers can score a site 9 miles from Skagway with the National Park Service at the Dyea Campground.

 The park by the small river... where you can see lots of salmon going up the stream

There are also bed and breakfasts and hotels, as well as Skagway Home Hostel, set in the heart of town.

 A nice train ride... recommend! Saw a bear on the way.
For the trip of a lifetime, jump on board the popular rail ride over the White Pass and Yokun Route, which traverses rugged mountain terrain, in one place climbing 2,865 feet in just 20 miles.

 By a house yard... very mystical!

 Skagway Fire Department

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