Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Riding the White Pass Railroad in Skagway

This was the view from our balcony when we woke up in Skagway.

Most of the family opted to go on the White Pass and Yukon Railroad excursion. It would climb 3000 feet in 20 miles. The railroad was built during the 1898 Klondike Gold Rush. It was considered almost an impossible task, but was completed in just over two years. All aboard!

Beautiful streams coming down from the mountains...

We were in almost the last car so we saw this view many times that day.

Look at the green valleys...

I thought this was some election slogan, but later read that George Buchanan, a Detroit coal merchant, began bringing boys and girls to Alaska on adventure trips in1923. He wanted them to learn the art of earning and saving money and they had to earn 1/3 of the cost of the trip. He did this for over 15 years. Reportedly, one of the boys painted the sign to commemorate him.

We had a problem with one of our engines and had to pull over to let the quicker trains go by. I think that's a sympathetic look from the conductor!

They told us to do the moose wave when the other trains passed by. I'm not sure if moose stick out their tongues, but Damian was going for it. Dominic...not so much!

 While we sat and waited, it gave us time to appreciate what can grow out of the rocks. Beautiful colours...

And lovely waterfalls...

We could see where we would be heading on the other side...

One of the trains that passed us was now well ahead...

Now that's an incline...

The clouds would break just long enough to catch a glimpse of the  mountains...

The first signs of snow...

Breathtaking...





The crews that built the railroad had a daunting task sometimes hanging over the rocks held only by ropes.

One of two tunnels...

This steel cantilever bridge was the tallest of its kind in the world when it was built in 1901. Thankfully, we were not going over it!


Commemorating those who came for the Gold Rush in 1898...

Whoa! Still quite a bit of snow here...

And here we are at the top. For a very short time, we were across the border into British Columbia. At this point, the engines moved from the front of the train to the back and we all flipped our seats around to begin the ride back.

Absolutely beautiful...

And now we were pretty close to the front of the train...

These mountains were hidden in the clouds on the way up...

And back at the bottom...

The Gold Rush cemetery, another popular tourist attraction...


The town of Skagway, probably not much changed from the early 1900s. The population is 920, although more than 900,000 people visit each year.


Considering how many ships were in port that day, the streets were not too crowded. We shopped around a bit and headed back to the ship. We had a wonderful family day!

The sun set on another great day. Tomorrow we will have a day on board the ship as we cruise through Glacier Bay.



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