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New Website, New Blog, but the Old Blog Archive remains: September 28, 2023

After many years of wanting a real website, this month I finally have a website designed by the very knowledgeable Rey Rey Rodriguez ( TheMindOfReyRey ). My old blog,  Vacation-Travel-Adventure  continues with the same address but it is located in the "Archives" tab on my new website . The new blog which is a continuation but with much better resolution for 4K screens, it is now at .

Dyea and Skagway, Alaska: September 1-3, 2017

The 110-mile drive from Whitehorse, Yukon into British Columbia and on to Skagway, Alaska, (South Klondike Highway) was easy and beautiful. The weather changed from sunny to rain to sunny to fog at the border. It is a 2-hour drive, but we stopped at most of the scenic overlooks so it took us longer.

Emerald Lake, Yukon Territory
This lake owes its emerald color to the blue-green light waves reflecting off the lake's bottom of white sediment.

Carcross Desert
Carcross Desert lies just south of Emerald Lake. This desert is the sandy lake bottom left behind by a large glacial lake.  It is billed as the world's smallest desert.

Bove Island on Windy Arm at Tagish Lake
Sub-alpine landscape on BC Highway 2 just north of the US Border

We crossed from British Columbia into the US at White Pass (3292 ft/1003 m). White Pass was just one of the obstacles on the Chilkoot Trail that gold seekers had to overcome to continue on to Dawson City, Yukon. The day we crossed, it was cold and foggy.

View between Dyea and Skagway
We stayed two nights in Dyea (8 miles from Skagway). Dyea was a small Tlingit settlement of packers. “Dyea” in Tlingit translates “to pack.” Until the gold rush, the Chilkoot Trail was used by the Tlingit for trading with other First Nation tribes. Dyea is at the foot of the Chilkoot Trail. The discovery of gold on one of the tributaries of the Klondike River in August 1896 caused Dyea to become one of the largest towns in Alaska—-briefly.

On April 3, 1898, a huge avalanche along the Chilkoot trail caused miners to seek other ways north to the Yukon interior. The Slide Cemetery is filled with the graves of Chilkoot Trail travelers who died in the massive avalanche of April 3, 1898. In 1899 the opening of the rail line (White Pass and Yukon RR) connecting Skagway to Bennett put an end to gold seekers using the Chilkoot trail and Dyea died.

We visited the ghost town of Dyea where nothing remains except one false facade.

After seeing the desperate condition of those who did make it as far as the Klondike, the Canadian government set of minimum requirement of a year's supply of food and equipment--"one ton of goods"--for any miner entering Canada. The "one ton of goods" was to include these items:
8 sacks of Flour (50lbs each)
1 Wash Basin
150lbs Bacon
200 feet Rope
150lbs Split Peas
1 Pick
100lbs Beans
1 Shovel
100lbs Sugar
1 Gold Pan
25lbs Evaporated Apples
3lbs Candlewick
25lbs Evaporated Peaches
15lbs Asst. Nails
25lbs Rice
1 Handsaw
40lbs Oats
1 Frying Pan
25lbs Butter
1 Tent
15lbs Coffee
 Medicine Chest
10lbs Tea
1 Axe
10lbs Salt
1 Sheet Iron Stove
Customs Duty on imported goods was collected at the Canadian Border.

We hiked a very small portion of the 33-mile Chilkoot trail. The portion we were on is a beautiful trail through the temperate rain forest. At the beginning there are lots of rocks and tree roots to climb over, but after the initial exertion, the trail levels out in the first 10 miles before it steeply picks up elevation to White Pass (the US-Canadian border).

It was a beautiful hike and mostly uneventful until we turned back and met two hikers jingling their very large bear bells. They warned us that just 200 meters up ahead near a bridge they had spied a momma grizzly and her two cubs near the stream. I had been feeling quite like a sissy scaredy cat using my bear bells when all the other hikers we passed seemed unconcerned about bears. Now feeling vindicated, I jingled all the way back to the trailhead. We didn’t see any bears.

On our way to the Skagway Ferry Terminal to take a car ferry to Haines, we stopped at Skagway's Cemetery and walked to the beautiful waterfall on the other side of the cemetery.

While waiting for our ferry departure, we strolled around Skagway. Skagway seems like a cruise ship created town. When a ship is not in port, most of the shops close. Fortunately, the surrounding scenery is gorgeous.
Skagway, Alaska

A view from the car ferry

Next stop: Haines for three nights. Then???