Skagway - Alaska


The Story

Last stop in Alaska – Skagway. When I first took a look outside to get a glimpse of Skagway, all I could see was what appeared to be the shear side of a mountain – covered in graffiti of the different cruise liners that port there. My first thought was, “Where the heck?!” However, once we got off the ship it didn’t take long to realize that Skagway was by far more scenic with it’s surrounding snow-capped mountains than the other two cities we’ve stopped at so far. And if I thought Ketchikan was small – Skagway is smaller. A lot smaller.

Here in Skagway, I signed up to do the Half-Day Yukon Tour with It was a bus tour that took us all the way from Skagway into Canada – through a small stretch of the British Columbia and a U-Turn at the Yukon Territory boarder. If lakes, trees, and snow-capped mountains all wrapped up into majestic views are your thing… then I suggest you soak up all you can here in these neck of the woods. While this isn’t the only place in the world you’ll see something like this – I’d almost bet you’ll never see so much of it in one region as you will here. I could have spent an entire day making that same drive stopping at all the different places that make you say, “Ah! Wow! That’s pretty!”

Just before we turned around to make our way back to Skagway, we stopped on one of the many shores of Tutshi (too-She) Lake. You’ll see a panorama below at the water’s edge wishing their was more time – but then you hear the tour guide say, “Take a picture, it’ll last longer.” As he brings the bus back to life and sounds the horn. There is still more to see.

On our tour, I learned that many people who lived in Skagway during the late 1800’s caught the gold fever of the Klondike Gold Rush in the Yukon region and were desperate to relocate and find their fortune. It was a 500-mile journey to reach the Canadian gold field. Many stayed behind or turned back after reaching the first mountain summit to only see lakes, trees, and snow in their way. Nothing more depressing than to see that your 500-mile trek wasn’t worth the gold you might find. Those who stayed in Skagway started to find ways to offer services and charge travelers for their gold and was how many hit the jack pot by mining the gold miners. Sadly, like any gold rush towns – Skagway nearly collapsed in 1900 when the gold rush was over except for a man who capitalized on tourism with his bus tours.

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