Friday, October 5, 2012

Day Five: Up The White Pass Trail and on to Whitehorse

The Klondike gold rush is still a central attraction of the Skagway area.  The would be mine owners had to start here and then trudge up over either the Chilkoot or the White Pass to the Klondike River and the placer gold.

Better late than never the White Pass & Yukon Railway was completed in 1900.
Like all railroads of the time its construction was a miracle of American engineering.  If you had ridden the train back then it would have been very much like this one.

If you ride the train today, it looks like this.

Skagway River

Skagway from the train.

Mama Bear on the train.

Train track and river.

The other side of the loop.

The Denver Glacier from the train.

A following train.

Lots of tunnels.

Looking down on the river you can still see the White Pass trail use by the miners in 1989 and hikers today.

A no longer used trestle.

Ah, a stronger used trestle.

The line in the middle of the photo is the old trail.

Remains of a WP & YR snow shed on the right and the White Pass Minor's trail on the left.

White Pass, the United States on one side and Canada on the other.  We stopped our trip at Fraser, Alaska. Here we transfer to a very nice tour bus.

The summit area is full lakes and pools of melted  snow. Dead-still water makes a fine mirror.

Lots of the telegraph poles, especial those on the alpine tundra where made into a tri-pod.

Then the water starts moving down slope in creeks and small rivers.

"OK, get out you Passports, hold them up beside your face and don't speak unless spoken to. answer all question with yes or no and don't volunteer anything or make a joke."  (later I learned it was illegal to take a picture of any Candian Customs people, gawd)

Yes, he asked for the bear's passport too.  At this stop I blessed the bus with the grandfather's feather.

And sure enough he delivered.

The driver said seeing a bear here was unusual.

So we stopped and the people became crazy.

Crossing into the Yukon Territory.

Lake after lake all feeding the Klondike River.

Then we saw a second black bear.

Yes it is a black bear. The long face and lack of hump shows that it is not a brown bear.

The driver said he normally saw a bear on this route only maybe two or three  times a month and almost never this close up.  Next stop I left Grandfather a gift.

Bove Island in Tagish Lake another major feed to the Klondike.

Actually the WP & YR has excursions all the way to Carcross.

A square mile of sand. 

Emerald colored Spirit Lake, Yukon

Schwatka Lake

Whitehorse Water Aerodrome 

Beautiful river parks in Whitehorse. I took this from the bus window as we sped by.

Beauteous downtown Whitehorse, Yukon

Unfortunately HAL decided to house us at the "second" hotel in White Horse which was on the other end of town near Nothing.  Oh there was a trolley 3 blocks away but it stopped at 5 pm and we checked in at 4:30. I was a little bit peeved.  Peeved and tired.  I opted for a nap. What ever the charms of White Horse we decided to forfeit them.

You know this part of the world has no air conditioners.  Don't need them, except this was an exceptionally warm summer.  So we opened the window to get some air.  Mistake, that.  Across the street was a tire store...wheeeeee thunk, wheeeeeeee thunk, bang bang bong, wheet wheet...ah the sounds of air wrenches and rubber hammers.  But wait there's more.  The parking lot next to the tire place was for a new not yet open Walmart, and it was being blacktopped.  Four diggers, and trucks and two rollers...the construction went on till 1 a.m. (sun went down at 12:00 midnight) when they finally had blacktopped the whole thing.  Did I mention the smell.
After checking out the "in house" restaurant we opted for the McDonald's next door. It wasn't all bad however.  We found that there was a local craft bazaar in one of the meeting rooms in the hotel.  There we found all sorts of temptation.  


BB-Idaho said...

That rail trip is a classic. Sounds like a bit of a contrast from Oklahoma...

drlobojo said...

Sorry....This is the Last real blog for Lobjo's Den. Having to pay for photo storage is a bridge too far. Especially in that photo file are going to grow larger and larger.This Blog is DEAD.