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Alaska Inland Passage Cruise
Skagway - September 24, 2010

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IMG_2064.JPG Skagway is a small town that numbers under 1000 residents during the year. During tourist season, it doubles it numbers with the influx living in camps. For all that is is a quaint town with some fun sights. IMG_2066.JPG It is the home of the White Pass and Yukon Route Railway. Once gold was found in the Yukon, Skagway became the destination point to begin the trek up into the Yukon. The original gold miners had to cart in their own supplies since the rail line wasn't yet built.

IMG_2068.JPG The railway it self was built in 3 years. It has remained a working railway ever since 1898.
Here are a few facts for rail buffs:
* climbs nearly 3000 feet in 20.4 miles
* grades up to 3.9%
* turns up to 16 degrees
* 2 tunnels and numerous bridges and trestles

IMG_2069.JPG The town has worked hard to restore at least the storefronts from the end of the 19th C. We took a walk around town. It was cold and beginning to rain unfortunately. IMG_2070.JPG We found coffee at the train depot and a lovely little sandwich shop on a side street for a quick bite. IMG_2072.JPG Along the way we stopping in some of the shops and a couple of the "museums". This still life was set up to look like you had just stepped into a saloon.
IMG_2076.JPG Then as it really started raining we boarded the last car on the train for our ride up to White Pass. IMG_2079.JPG #52 is the last of the steam locomotives that pulled the original trains. It still works and on our last trip it pulled our train. IMG_2203.JPG This is the old caboose.
IMG_2102.JPG The weather made for lousy pictures, but it was still lovely to go from autumn to winter in the space of a little over an hour. IMG_2121.JPG We didn't know until our return that we were experiencing the front of the first real winter storm and it was a big one! IMG_2122.JPG IF you look carefully you can see the train on the curve in front of us.
IMG_2123.JPG Several water falls but this one is the biggest with class 5 rapids on the area that can be traversed further down. IMG_5376 This canyon goes all the way down. Skagway and the bay with our ship is just out of range at the top of the picture. IMG_2150.JPG Then we went through the tunnel and we were in winter! Everything dusted in a white layer with more gently drifting down.
IMG_2158.JPG This steep cantilever bridge was the tallest of its kind in the world when it was constructed in 1901. IMG_2159.JPG The train now takes an alternate route but it is truly a work of art and engineering! IMG_2162.JPG In the distance you can see the front of the train as it crosses a bridge and prepares to enter another tunnel.
IMG_2166.JPG Looking back on the cantilever bridge as we cross the gully. IMG_2169.JPGLooking down on Dead Horse Trail. IMG_2172.JPG The terrain is harsh at the best of times.
IMG_2177.JPG White Pass Summit Elevation 2.865 feet IMG_5365 The housing for the Canadian Mounted Police at the Canadian Border. At the top the snow was blowing sideways. IMG_5369 The other train that was giving rides as it arrived at the summit. We were lucky. Those who took buses up to the summit had to come back on the train since the buses could not drive for all snow and white out conditions.

IMG_2211.JPG Safely back on the ship and looking at the hills opposite the ancorage. It was a cold wet day but beautiful!!!

The next day was supposed to be Tracey Arm Fjord BUT with the storm coming in, the Captain decided to just head south via the Canadian Inside Passage.


All Rights Reserved 2010 by Robin Berry and William Ringer