Throwback to our Alaskan cruise holiday last year.
The second port was Skagway – a small town of about 900 people. The population doubles during the summer tourist season as it’s a popular stop for cruise ships, with almost a million visitors going through the town.
In 1898, due to the Klondike Gold Rush, Skagway was the largest city in Alaska with a population of ~10,000, but the gold rush only lasted for three years.
But the gold rush did leave behind some gorgeous buildings and a railway – which was sadly completed when the gold rush was all but over.
We left the ship very early in the morning as I had booked us a trip to see the Davidson Glacier. We met with our group and transferred to a high speed jet catamaran to travel through the waters of the deepest fjord in North America.
The trip took over an hour and sometimes people see wildlife – sea lions, porpoises and whales. Unfortunately we didn’t see any animals, but we had seen a ton of whales in Juneau so it wasn’t a big deal.
We landed at Glacier Point, and boarded an old fashioned bright yellow school bus for a short drive to the staging area, going past the camp where the guides live for 6 months during the summer. There’s no running water, no electricity, no road access – it’s all pretty remote.
At the staging area we were kitted out in waterproof boots, trousers and raincoats, and then had an easy 5 minute walk through the forest to get to Davidson Lake.
Once at the lake, we secured our life jackets, picked up a paddle and got into large canoes. Fortunately we were only expected to row a little to get us away from the shore (the canoes had motors) because dad was sitting behind me and he was paddling out of time to everyone else, hitting my paddle with every stroke. Relying on our power to get us to the glacier would have taken a very long time.
It was only a short canoe ride to the glacier – in this photo you can see a different group who arrived before us. All that rock you can see is called a moraine – debris made of soil and rock that’s been moved by the glacier.
When our canoe arrived at the beach we all hopped out and proceeded to walk around the moraine.
And the face of the glacier came properly into view.
We kept going.
Up on to the glacier – just a short walk. We had to wait there for a bit while the group ahead of us finished up. They had disappeared from view through a narrow pass.
But eventually they finished whatever they were doing, coming out all excited and my group went through in single file – there wasn’t much space and it was wet and slippery —
But at the end of the pass there was this.
We spent a bit more time on the glacier before heading back to the canoes to leave.
Lunch was back at the staging area – it was terrible really. Turkey sandwiches (complete with do your own mustard and mayo), camp mix, and a pot of apple sauce.
Do people really eat pots of apple sauce like yoghurt? Even the thought of eating it makes my stomach feel all weird, even writing this is making me feel a bit queasy. I returned ours unopened – gross.
Then we returned to Skagway. We walked around the town for a little bit – I won’t deny it, I was looking for wifi. It was an unsuccessful quest, but we did have terrible coffee and I purchased some souvenirs before going back to the ship.