sweetblckcherry (sweetblckcherry) wrote,

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My Vacation: Skagway

Part 3 of my vacation took place in Skagway, Alaska. Skagway saw a lot of it’s activity during the Yukon gold rush which is only a mountain top away. It is also the place where notorious Alaskan gangster Soapy Smith died and is buried.

On of the first major traditions I noticed about the town was that it appears to be a tradition to paint the logo of your ship, captain, etc. on the side of the mountain. Even Disney has started cruising into Alaskan and getting in on the action.

In memory of the diabolical Soap Smith.

Disney's wasn't quite done. They still had to add ship and captain information.

Someone decided to really go all out and do one you could see from main street. The Downtown consisted of about 6 blocks. Some of them were your standard cruise ship shops with jewelry and cutesy/kitschy souvenirs. Some were actually decent.

This building is famous for being covered in drift wood. I don't recall how that got started.

My big ticket event was a train ride up to the Yukon/Alaska border. I didn’t get the good seat until the ride back so I’ll be telling this kind of backwards. This trail is something that miners took on foot with maybe a pack animal to lug their supplies. It was single file hoofing it up that mountain. If you needed a rest, you stepped out of line at your peril. Sometimes it could take as much as a day to fine a break in the line.

On our way out of town.

A mountain top lake. Yes, that is snow at the end of June but we're technically in Canada so what can you do?

This lake is about 4 miles long and is actually home to a couple species of fish. Most of the rivers on or near the mountain are too choked with sediment for fish to survive so that lake is kind of impressive.

From left to right the US flag, the Alaskan flag, flags for 2 Canadian provinces (I know one is the Yukon), and the Canadian flag.

Farewell Canada.

Remember that trail I mentioned earlier? It's that tiny little thing below the big rock and above the wood pile.

Way down there is the harbor/town.

Hello train.

The river on the mountain is quite treacherous with class 6 rapids in parts. I couldn't get a picture but there was even a whirlpool. Those rapids have yet to be successfully navigated by man.

The finer points of this tale escape me but a Mr. Buchanan helped several down and out youths be able to travel to Alaskan during the gold rush. Since this was during the Depression, it was a big deal. To say their thanks, those kids painted "On to Alaskan with Buchanan" on the mountainside when they knew he'd be taking a train up the same tracks we were on. I'm impressed that it's still visible after all these years. I wonder if they retouch it.

And we're almost back to town. One thing I wanted to get a picture of but couldn't was Black Cross Rock. During one of the rushes up the mountain, a 500 ton boulder came crashing down the mountain and came to rest on top of two men and their pack mules. Rather than try to move a rock that is larger than some city apartments, they marked it with a black cross and the story is still told many years later. It's a lousy way to go but not too bad since you're remembered almost a century later.

That caboose can be rented out to interested campers for a fairly nominal fee. Throw in some plumbing in an adjacent building and you've got my idea of camping.
Tags: alaska, alaskan vacation, photo, pictures, vacation

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