Cruise Diary: Skagway and the Great Yukon
Patricia Stone, Owner and Founder of Global Adventures, sailed on a 7-day Inside Passage Cruise visiting Alaska on Zuiderdam with her family. Enjoy reading about their adventure. This post was written by Jennifer M.
On our Alaska family summer vacation, we visited Skagway and ended up in the southern Yukon territory of Canada. Skagway is a quaint town known for attracting gold miners in the 18th century.
Many of these gold diggers made their way to Skagway on foot, and soon after one of the most narrow gauge railways was built leading to Skagway.
We had heard about the Yukon Summit Tour, and Frontier Excursions drove us North of Skagway.
“God spent some time up here.” That was the comment of one of the awestruck members of our party as we wended our way along the Klondike Highway between Skagway, Alaska and White Horse, Canada. The sights and vistas were truly breathtaking. Mike, of Frontier Excursions, was as affable as he was knowledgeable. The 5+ hours we spent together in Alaska and Canada’s Yukon seemed like only a few minutes. Facts and legends about this vast wilderness drew us in and held us the entire time. It was hard to imagine miners, prospectors and natives living in that region. It was hard to imagine that we were in such magnificent surroundings.
The Tormented Valley, dozens of glacier-fed lakes, vaulted mountains and fascinating flora all told dramatic stories. Indeed, the amazing facts and history that flowed from Mike as we journeyed together seemed but a confirmation of the stories silently but dramatically told by the rugged mountains and valleys that enveloped us. We were tiny, adoring spectators in one of the grandest performances nature has to offer. Mid-journey, we ate a delicious barbeque chicken lunch (with trappings and trimmings) at Carcross (Caribou Crossings). Then we climbed aboard a summer sled (wheels instead of blades) and took a relaxing ride, courtesy of a couple of teams of dogs and their able mushers, Michelle and Maren. The dogs are impressive, intelligent athletes. Their handlers — seasoned sledders — are equally impressive. Cuddling six little puppies may have been the highlight of the entire cruise experience for the smaller boys. The pups were adorable. The animal museum at our lunch stop was eye-popping and almost as enjoyable as seeing a real live bear along the side of the road as we drove.
TEMSCO Helicopters — It was a little rainy and a little windy the day we were in Skagway, but even the most jittery of our bunch felt safe and assured as we put on our gear, received training and buckled our seatbelts for a ride over the deep fjord and town of Skagway 1,200 feet above sea level to MEADE Glacier. What an adventure to explore this glacier with its 10- to 40-foot deep aquamarine crevass’! The water we drank had an indescribable quality—pure and pristine as mother earth herself! We spotted one to two mountain sheep above us on the rocky crags. Kelly and Troy were our excellent pilots—our boys felt as though they were joined in their safe discoveries by these watchful guides.
To read more visit Patricia’s blog here.