Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Skagway was probably the most rustic of all the towns on our trip. I loved the old-timey feel and the fun boardwalk sidewalks.
We thought surely it was going to rain, hence the yellow rain jacket. The whole town was blanketed with fog when we sailed in that morning. It didn't rain. But it was cold! Well, at least until later in the afternoon when the sun came out. And then I stripped down to short sleeves and bare feet. The weather in Alaska was ever-changing.
I was obsessed with totem poles our whole trip. Maybe because we chose not to visit the Totem Pole park in Ketchikan? I got it into my head that a totem pole would be my Alaskan souvenir of choice and checked each and every store we stopped at. But the craftsmanship on them is detailed and time consuming....and the price reflects that. So funny enough, when I finally did find a totem pole with a somewhat decent price attached, I ended up buying something else entirely. Go figure. But this is why I'm hanging out with totem poles here in Skagway. And my foot in the air? Yeah....I don't know. (Just wait till you see the totem poles we found in Victoria BC!)

Yes, we actually spent some time in this internet cafe. Want to hear a story? Bryan is a fan of the game Candy Crush. He isn't on Facebook so he uses my account. All of you who were so impressed at my candy crushing skills that has me at level 200...yeah, that's all Bryan. In order to unlock the next group of levels we needed internet access...access that was somewhat expensive onboard the Golden Princess. So Bryan decided to bring the iPad into Skagway in the hopes of finding open internet somewhere that he could piggyback onto for a few minutes to update the game. It wasn't to be....until we found this internet cafe on a side road off Broadway. (Named because it's the broadest street in town...not because of its little vaudeville theatre...which I did try to talk Bryan into buying tix for. He didn't go for it.) 

So to continue on.... While in the internet cafe, Bryan noticed I had some update notifications, including ones for Candy Crush and Kindle. He started them running but the connection was slow and we had already unlocked the next Candy Crush levels so we decided to bag the updates and continue on our way. But when we got back on the ship later that evening, we discovered much to our horror, that the updates were stalled rather than just canceled. Which meant that not only could we not play Candy Crush, but I also could not read my books on Kindle (my first foray into electronic book reading.) And we still had 2 days left of our cruise...mostly at sea! So believe it or not, the next morning we did indeed make our way down to the ship's internet library and ended up paying close to $20 at 79 cents a minute to get our updates finished up. Sigh. Another reason why I'd prefer to have a book in my hand rather than on my iPad, maybe?

In the late morning/early afternoon we climbed aboard a little shuttle bus that took us on a 30 minute ride through town and up into the mountains. It was an absolutely beautiful ride...even if it did have my heart racing at the narrow roads and sheer drop-offs out my window. We arrived at the base of a sled dog and musher's summer camp. Within minutes we were climbing into the Unimog to head even higher up the mountain...another 10-15 minute ride.
 The Unimog is a german made vehicle used in both WWI and WWII. So cool!

We could tell that we were close when we started to hear the dogs barking. And wow, what a racket they made up there! There were a good 4 teams harnessed in, ready for their practice. And a bunch of others resting in their dog houses nearby. Part of their summer training consisted of taking us all for a ride in their summertime "sleds." Those dogs are strong and fast....such amazing, beautiful animals...many of which have competed in big winter races already, including the famous Iditarod and Yukon Quest.
After our ride was over, the musher's introduced us to their dogs by name and asked us to please, please play with their dogs. Ummm.....okay! Apparently we are doing them a favor by helping socialize the dogs and get them used to strangers so that when they travel they don't have problems being around big crowds and people they are unfamiliar with. Oh, they were such well behaved, wonderful dogs! For one who is already going through a "puppy-hungry" phase, this sled dog camp was such a little piece of heaven.
When we'd had our fill of doggy play (as if we could ever get enough, really) we took the Unimog back down the base camp again, stopping once for the scenic view of the Dyea Tidal Flats.
At base camp one of the mushers came to talk to us, answer our questions, tell us about life as a musher and what doing the Iditarod race was really like. Because see, this camp wasn't just for tourists. This camp was their home, their life. Which was kind of neat, actually....to feel like we were getting a peek into something unique and very different from the life I live. We met family members and heard funny stories and kind of felt like for a day, at least, we were friends....and even needed a bit in the training of their dogs. And after all our questions were asked and talk was spent, we got to play with the puppies!
Five weeks old! Aren't they beautiful? (For those who are wondering...yes, Bryan is allergic to dogs. And so yes, he was dosed up on benadryl....brought it on our trip specifically for something like this. I hadn't even thought we'd be seeing sled dogs but was so glad Bryan suggested it!)

Eight days old!

We got back to the ship just in time...I've never cut it that close to departure time before. Apparently they had been watching for our tour...I heard the security guards radio-ing in that we had finally arrived. 
To the left of the ships is Registry Rock. I first thought that some talented graffiti artists had found a way to get up there....until I realized that most of the art has to do with various cruise ships. Apparently each time a new ship arrives in Skagway for the first time, the officers are asked to paint their ship's logo, name and date of arrival on the rocks.

Goodbye Skagway....

 Next up and final....Victoria BC and ship life

Tracy Arm Fjord and Juneau
Victoria BC and Ship Life

1 comment:

Shauna said...

When I was twelve my dad threw all of us in the suburban, hooked up the trailer, and drove us to Alaska. Longest road trip ever with 9 people and a dog in one vehicle. But we spent a few days in Skagway and it was one of my favorite stops on our trip. Such a fun, scenic little spot!