It is a short 113 miles from Whitehorse Yukon to Skagway Alaska, 66 of which have to be one of the most spectacular and scenic roads we have ever been on containing some very unique landscapes.
The drive from Whitehorse to Carcross was somewhat uneventful, there is one nice scenic pullout overlooking Emerald Lake.
|Emerald Lake just north of Carcross|
The town of Carcross is cute and a nice place to stop and explore on your way through the area. We stopped at got a scone at the bakery. A scone the size of a small child that Barb and I split and then her and Daisy split the next morning. I swear the thing weighed 5#’s!
But it was the drive between Carcross and Skagway that left us absolutely speechless. The South Klondike Highway follows a water system for many miles with a backdrop of snowcapped mountains. You could actually sense the history here as you pass some of the abandoned mines.
|Which one do you like better......color....|
Along the way we saw a black bear with a brown coat as well as some mountain goats. The bear was feeding along the road and when I pulled up and started giving it my imitation black bear noises it actually walked up to the truck and put his front paws on our rear bumper sniffing around! We tried to get a picture of it but the angle was wrong.
|You talk'in to me?|
|Here I come!|
|These mountain goats were wayyyyy up the mountain|
As you reach higher elevations that landscape becomes very rocky with hundreds if not thousands of pools of water surrounded by snow and stunted windblown pines. It is really hard to describe but it is like nothing we have ever seen before. I don’t know if it was the time of the year with the snow mottled landscape or if it is just as beautiful in the summer or fall when the snow has melted.
Crossing over the U.S. border was very smooth with the usual questions. He did ask to see Daisy’s rabies papers stating that Alaska is rabies free and they are pretty strict about that. After crossing the border you start a long decent down the mountain with several waterfalls along the roadway.
|The landscape is vast and goes on forever.....see that tiny waterfall in the bottom left?|
|It is not really that tiny....|
|But it gets lost in the vast landscape|
Arriving in Skagway we took a quick drive around town before heading to our campsite at Klondike Gold Rush Dyea Campground. We intentionally arrived on Friday hoping to avoid what might be a busy weekend given it was Victoria Day in Canada (like our Memorial Day). The campground was only about 1/3 full and we found a spot quickly. The unexpected bonus was that it was free! They don’t start charging until May 27th.
Immediately upon parking I hadn’t taken two steps out of the truck when I was approached by a woman who said she was from Whitehorse and was here for the long weekend. She said we were lucky to get a site as everyone from Whitehorse comes to this area on the long weekend. Over the course of the next 20 minutes she proceeded to tell me about the history of the area, the Chilkoot trail, Carcross, Whitehorse and the town of Dyea which used to be right in this area. Barb finally came and rescued me and we got the campsite all set up.After dinner that evening we went for a drive to explore some of the surrounding area. There is nothing really to see of the old town site, it has been over 100 years and the trees have pretty much taken over the area.
|Or across this one|
The following morning a Skagway police car pulled up to us and informed us that there was a burning ban until further notice; no wood or propane fires. Our plan for the day was to go explore the town and maybe do a little hiking. Today, Skagway is pretty much a tourist town depicting the times of the gold rush era. Cruise ships stop by almost daily. In fact you need to watch the cruise ship schedule, as many as 4-5 cruise ships could be in port at one time filling the town with up to 20,000 tourists. Today there was only 2 and it was not too bad. We did a little geocaching in the hills surrounding the city, then we went down into the city itself and walked many of the shops.
|Only two cruise ships in today|
|This guy was posing to well for us to pass up|
We toured the town, looked at all the old shops, the trains, had a couple of pints at the Skagway Brewing Company and had lunch at the Red Onion, the location of a former brothel that is entertaining and offers a tour for $10.
|The nose of this train was used to get through snow up to 12' deep|
|They brew it right above the bar, they only sell it in their bar|
We did not get any fishing in or any serious hikes other than finding a few geocaches. We are saving our fishing time for our next stop which starts tomorrow when we take the ferry over to Haines!