Skagway, Alaska

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

June 04~Day #25
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Miles by Road
Nautical Miles
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Statute Miles
899 + 236 = 1135

Location: Skagway, Alaska

Mileage: 236 Nautical Miles

Today’s Total Expenses: $306.76

Cruise Daily Expense: $222.76
Entertainment: $80.00 (Tour)
Misc: $4.00 (Laundry)

Early Morning Laundry

Yes, even on a cruise I’m not able to escape laundry. But that’s okay. Laundry is one of my favorite household chores anyway. Actually, it may be the ONLY household chore that I actually enjoy. And, because we’re traveling as light as we can, we don’t have weeks and weeks worth of clothes with us.

For some reason I packed a couple of pairs of shorts to bring on this cruise – DUH! Needless to say they haven’t yet been used, so no need to wash those.But, I did manage to get together two loads of laundry.

I noticed that some people actually sat in the laundry waiting for their washers and dryers to finish. I’m not sure if they thought someone might abscond with their socks and undies but I was not about to spend cruise time watching wet clothes spin around.

I loaded up two washing machines, made note of the time it was likely to take (about 45 minutes) and Geoff and I headed off to breakfast on the Lido deck. By the time we were done, the clothes were washed and it was time to transfer them to the dryer. While they were drying I was catching up on a previous post. Total time spent in the actual laundry room – approx. 10 minutes.

1890s Skagway

It seems that Skagway is actually a National Park. Efforts have been made to keep the 1890s flavor of the town throughout the downtown. The false-front wooden buildings and the boardwalk all help to transport you to an earlier time, although I’m quite sure that it’s a much more law abiding town now than it was in the 1890s and gone are the true sourdoughs and harsh way of life.

Chilkoot Pass

Skagway was the gateway to the steep Chilkoot Pass. But even after negotiating such a difficult path (sometimes many times to get all of their supplies to the top), they still had several hundred miles and many more obstacles to conquer before reaching the Klondike gold fields.

Perhaps less known is the fact that once they topped the Chilkoot Pass, prospectors where actually in the Canadian Yukon and Mounties would let them travel no further without supplies sufficient to last them for at least six months (hence the several trips up the pass to accumulate the needed supplies).

One of my favorite authors, James Michener, wrote about this is great detail and, I’m sure, after much research. The name of the book? Alaska!

More Loot in Skagway

I had the opportunity to pick up another two coins for my Alaska coin collection and another two charms for my Alaska charm bracelet. There were also a few other jewelry shops that we offering things like charm bracelets and gem stones so we made a few stops there, too.

There are an awful lot of jewelry stores on these stops. Way too many, as far as I am concerned. I guess the attraction is that at these stops you can purchase jewelry tax free and duty free. I’m really not up that much on what is or isn’t a good deal but I’m sure there wouldn’t be this many stores, in such remote locations, unless they were doing a reasonable amount of business.

Skagway Tours

As with each port of call we have a selection of tours to choose from. Many of them sound enticing but most of them are also much beyond our traveling budget.

The White Pass Railway takes passengers for a return trip that lasts over 3 hours and we heard that it was certainly enjoyable. However, at $115/person (or $119/person if purchased on the ship), we couldn’t even consider it and hope to keep our budget from exploding.

However, while in town we stopped by a small tour operator, One Stop Tour Shop, and there was a bus tour about to head up the mountain, making several stops along the way. It was advertised at 50% off so we inquired about the cost. It was just a small bus, only 20 people in the tour, and the cost was $40 each.

We felt this was reasonable so we decided to take this tour. Another reason I found it attractive was the fact that we would also be going to the Yukon, which is part of Canada, but although I’m Canadian I have never been there.

Okay, we were going just slightly over the US-Canada border into the Yukon, but I can still say I’ve been to the Yukon. Not only that, but when we crossed into the Yukon territory I took the time to build a small Inukshuk to mark the fact that we’d been there.

The trip, organized by Alan Anderson of One Stop Tour Shop ([email protected]), was supposed to be 2-1/2 hours but it actually stretched to almost 3 hours. Our guide, Ron, was knowledgeable and genial and provided binoculars for us to use as well as setting up some very high-powered binoculars at several stops when he was able to spot wildlife off in the distance. We each got a turn looking through the tripod-mounted binoculars and had a chance to see some mountain goats, complete with some fairly newborn babies, clinging to some very steep cliffs.

The scenery was awesome, still lots of snow everywhere and beautiful, blue snowmelt lakes and waterfalls.

We stopped at the Bridal Veil Falls and Geoff was the only one in our group that was brave enough to enjoy a taste of the clean, clear and very cold water gushing over the falls.

Glacier Bay Tomorrow

No actual port of call tomorrow where we will get off the ship, but we will be spending most of the day exploring Glacier Bay and there will be Park Rangers onboard giving commentary and answering questions. I’m really looking forward to it.

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