Sept. 21, 2011
Skagway, AK. An early docking where we would meet a guide to take us up to White Summit Pass. Big problem–in our haste to get off the ship and to the bus we forgot our passports! Since we would be going into Canada we had to have them.
Fortunately driver Shawn said he could pick up a couple of passengers from another ship and swing back to meet us. If we made it back in time he would pick us up. We ran back to the ship, got through security, rushed to our stateroom and retrieved those small but essential items. It was a good aerobic workout. We actually beat the Shawn by 5-10 minutes and almost gave up on him. All the passengers cheered when we got on this time. Hooray! (Shawn earned a big tip for coming back for us!)
Instead of taking the narrow gauge train up the mountain, we opted for an over-sized van equipped for about 25 passengers. Instead of the trains or large buses, our driver could stop at many overlooks on the way. At the Canadian border we basically had to hold up our passports while an agent compared the terrible photos with our gorgeous faces. (When we crossed back into the States, the U.S. guy didn’t even look at them, but questioned the driver. After all, he could say it was the same group he had taken with him from Skagway . . .)
One point of interest was a 400-foot steel cantilever bridge built of three hinged arches. Though major earthquakes are rare here, there are hundreds of tiny ones daily. This bridge, constructed in 1901, is designed to allow for that. In a really strong earthquake one end will separate yet leave the bridge attached safely at one end. (No, I can’t quite figure that out, either.) The Gold Rush enjoyed no such amenities, just a hard climb with tons of supplies carried over White Pass.
Scenery was spectacular in every direction from meadows to mountains. So many waterfalls, a range of plant colors, and black or gray rocks. I took a picture of a waterfall with just a little bit of blue sky at the top of a V. We got our passports stamped in Fraser, AB, just for fun. Shawn took pictures of us with our own cameras in front of the Welcome to Alaska sign on the way down.
Back in Skagway, Jon actually found a good sale on shirts and bought a couple of them. Guess what color they are? I bought some souvenir socks!