I found a few minutes today
after all so here is the Skagway story -
in two parts. Many of you have written to say
you are enjoying the pictures and stories. Please
let me know if there is anyone receiving these
who would rather be taken off the list.
Skagway has long held a fascination for me because
of all the Gold Rush history. I have read several
stories, including a book on the Women of the
Klondike. David had been to Skagway many many
years ago and really didn't want to do the big
haul up Lynn Canal in our boat. Since I was determined
to go, I followed the sage advice of some other
boaters and took the fast ferry. It was a great
You have seen this picture of the Fairweather
passing us in Neva Straits. This is the boat I
took up to Skagway.
It's my turn to get
The Fairweather has
really comfortable seating and I got myself right
up into the first row so I could follow my chart
and not miss a thing.
As it turns out, I didn't
need to bring my own chart. Here is one of the
monitors found all over the ship. The boat's progress
was fun to watch on their electronic charting.
And I discovered that the ferry cruises at about
37-38 knots. I literally felt like I was flying
in a jet plane compared to our cruising speed
of 7 knots.
This great deck hand caught
my eye. We had a chance to talk later during the
trip and she said she is going for her "AB."
As in: Able Bodied Seaman rating by the U.S. Coast
Guard. She was a great worker. Lots of strength
and concentration and confidence.
Here is the front
row view of Lynn Canal.
And this is one of the landmarks
along the way: Eldred Rock
More Lynn Canal beauty.
Look at the different
colors of the water in this picture below. Glacial
till makes the water a milky green. It also
makes the water very opaque and gives boaters
like us problems
with trying to see rocks or other hazards.
You just cannot see through it. And when it
is soupy enough the depth sounder doesn't read
accurately either. Don't like that!
This is the approach to the
town of Skagway after the 2-1/2 hour trip from
Auke Bay (Juneau). We heard that on the 4th of
July there were six cruise ships in port. On the
day I visited there were only two cruise ships
and one regular ferry at the docks. And us.
Here is a closer view of
the harbor, with the small boat harbor at the
I had to check out the
facilities for boaters like me. This is where
we would have docked; at the small boat harbor.
The Tlingits, like this
"Packer" at the left, were one of the reasons the
early "Rushers" were able to make
it up the Chilkoot Trail in the early days of
the stampede in1898. The Tlingits lived in
the area, knew the terrain, worked out the
base camp locations, and did a lot of the carrying
Skagway's Historic District
has lots of tourist shops, which I skipped. It
also has a wonderful city museum where I learned
a lot about the history of both the Chilkoot
Trail and the White Pass Trail.
Julie, this one is for
There was a very cute musical
melodrama I saw called "The Days of
98." It depicted a somewhat romanticized
version of the time of Soapy Smith. He was a very
low-life character whose gang of criminals basically
took over the town for a period of time. But it
was a very fun evening and gave a taste of what
the times were like.
I am always drawn to cemeteries
because of the history in the grave stones. I
found that there weren't very many grave
markers made of stone. However, most of the
graves had wooden markers obviously put in place
in the present day that continue to tell
the story. The young ages and the many deaths
in the years 1898 and 1899 tell their own
The cemetery is called the Gold Rush Cemetery. Soapy
Smith and Frank Reid were both buried here after
their historic gun fight. Soapy died immediately.
Frank died 12 days later.
Soapy was placed off to
the side, a much despised man.
Frank Reid was the town
hero for ridding Skagway of Soapy. His large marker
is in the center of the cemetery. It reads: "He
gave his life for the honor of Skagway."
This sign at the cemetery
tells the story of the two men and their gun fight.
The other parts of the sign depicted what a
rough, rough town Skagway was in the "stampede"
This is the end of Part
One. Stay tuned for the train ride up White Pass
and the story of the Chilkoot Trail and the
White Pass Trail that goes with it.
M/V Royal Sounder