We are now in Skagway, on the east coast of the Lynn Canal. A few days ago we were in Haines, which is 15 miles across the Lynn Canal. To drive to Skagway from Haines we had to go to Whitehorse in the Yukon (248 miles) and then turn south to Skagway (116 miles.) There are only a few highways in all of Alaska so getting around is always complicated.
Skagway's origins are rooted in the 1898 Yukon gold rush. Men came here by steam ship, and then climbed the White Pass some 40 times hauling their 2,000 pounds of provisions to the other side. From there they built boats and made their way to the Yukon. While the gold rush was a bust for most men, the tiny town survived.
Just outside Skagway is Dyea Flats. To get to the flats you have to drive a single lane narrow dirt road for about 6 miles. The road provides spectacular views of the Lynn Canal. This area is so beautiful, salt marsh, fresh water streams with salmon in them, 10,000 foot mountains, glaciers, boreal forest, brown bears and Bald Eagles. We watched a brown bear wade the stream, eating big bites of grass from the banks and catching salmon. At one point he changed direction and headed Jim’s way, you should have seen how quickly Jim back peddled toward the truck!
We visited the gold rush cemetery where Soapy Smith and Frank Reid are buried. Here in Alaska burial plots are fenced so it makes for a pretty setting. Reading the headstones in an old cemetery is always so interesting. Skagway is so small it has no mortuary. A volunteer prepares the body for transport to Juneau where a mortuary does whatever is needed and then the dearly departed is flown back here for burial.
The weather has changed, snow lightly dusts the mountain tops, the trees are turning color and the overnight temperatures are dropping to almost freezing. Winter is right around the corner so it's a good thing we are headed south towards home. Tomorrow we leave for British Columbia and the Cassiar Highway.