Sunday, July 11, 2010
The Burgers are Cruisin', Day Four
Skagway, Alaska... population: 750
Our cruise ship holds over 3000. Needless to say, this town thrives on tourism. It's quite obvious, too. There was so much to see and do.
I chose to take a train from Skagway to Fraser, British Columbia on the White Pass Railway. National geographic recently rated this train ride the 9th best in the entire country.
The trip took about three and a half hours. The scenery was outstanding. This picture was taken near the bottom of the mountain.
Another picture from the train. Notice that the elevation is slightly higher.
This tunnel marked a noticeable change in scenery... before the tunnel, mountains and cliffs. After the tunnel, ponds and meadows.
A pond in the meadow on top of the mountain.
Fresh off the train, here's a picture of my father-in-law and I on top of the mountain in Fraser, BC. Directly after this we boarded a bus and made our way back down the mountain.
On the way down the mountain our tour guide made numerous stops. The first was slightly random, and at first, I didn't really see anything abnormal. It looked like a field of rocks to me. But as I looked closer, I could see what the guide explained to us as Inukshuks. These were rock formations made to look like humans. They're obviously man made, but super cool when there are thousands of them staring at you all at once. No joke, there really were thousands of these next to the road. The guide told us Inukshuks were a welcome sign repopularized by last winter's Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia. And since we were on the USA/Canada border, it made sense to see quite a few of them.
There are waterfalls all over the place in Alaska and the surrounding area. The mountains are so huge that snow gathers at the top of them. As "summer" progresses, the snow melts and forms some pretty powerful falling water.
Once we made our way back to Skagway on the bus, I stopped to have lunch with my wife and two of her cousins. The three of them went ziplining through the forest. I don't have pictures of that yet, but will post them as soon as I do. Anyway, we went to a pizza joint, had a beer and a pie. The beers were six dollars and the pizza was 27. That's right, a 27 dollar pizza. Ugh. You see, Skagway produces none of its own food. Everything is flown, boated or driven to Skagway from the closest market... 110 miles away. Better be rich to dine out in Skagway!
Here's downtown Skagway. Quiet and simple, eh? Looks a movie set at Universal Studios to me.
Here's the Red Onion Saloon and a couple other buildings. Apparently these are a few of the oldest buildings in Alaska. Notice the jewelry store. There were 27 of them in Skagway.