Skagway and Yukon Train Ride – Alaska Day 4

Day 4 of the trip was Tuesday, and our port of call was Skagway. We actually pulled into port some time during the early morning, so by the time we woke up, we were already docked.

After getting ready, we left the ship to go on a hike that was an “unpublished” free excursion that took us a few miles out of Skagway. My dad had received an article about this potential excursion from his neighbor, who had ready about it in AARP magazine. Sounds like quite the workout if it comes from AARP (American Association for Retired People). That was sarcasm; it didn’t really sound like it would be too strenuous at all.

So we took off walking and looked for the trail just outside of town. We found it pretty easily and crossed a very cool foot bridge that overlooked a flowing river. From there, we started on a path to Yakutania Point, our intended destination. It was about a half a mile hike to the point, and we ended up getting there pretty easily.

The point was pretty cool, and I was able to get some good landscape shots from that point of view. There were several very smooth rocks that we had to climb over in order to get an unobstructed view of the water and the harbor where our ship was docked.

While hiking to the point, we noticed another sign for a point of interest called Smuggler’s cove. It wasn’t mentioned explicitly in the AARP magazine, but the name of the trail was too good to pass up. We soon learned that it probably wasn’t in the AARP magazine article because Smuggler’s cove was over a mile away.

No problem for me and Jimbo, as we were looking for some exercise to offset the on ship gluttony, so we hiked to Smuggler’s cove at a brisk pace. It wasn’t until we got there that we realized the real reason why it wasn’t mentioned in the magazine; it wasn’t that good. While it was a decent scene and an alright photo, it wasn’t really that great of a sight. The best part was the exercise involved in getting there!

The highlight of the day came early in the afternoon as we boarded a train on the White Pass scenic railway. This is a historic railway that connected Skagway with the Yukon province in Canada. A lot of men died building this railroad, and as soon as we started to elevate, we could see why. The railroad went straight into the mountains, elevating gradually until we reached an extremely high elevation. From our position, we were able to see ahead of us into the mountains, as well as take great photos looking back into the valley behind us.

The train ride was 27 miles each way, and represented my first time ever being in Canada! The topography of the ride actually changed right as we hit the Canadian border. No longer were we ascending through mountains, but not the ground had leveled and we were in a valley several thousand feet above sea level.

This is where I got to take some really great photos, because I finally had an unobstructed view from the train car. On the way up, everyone on the train had got up and wanted to take photos and video from our perches on the front and back of the train (these parts were in open air). On the way back, everyone must have grown tired of looking, so I ended up having free reign on the entire back end of our railroad car.

I took some great photos, and will be posting them in gallery format on all of the normal social media channels. Look for a link in this post as soon as they are uploaded. The sun had just come out for these photos, so I was able to get the blue sky into the pictures. Even better, the blue sky happened to reflect perfectly off the half-frozen water on the ground. Throw in the fact that snow was still on the ground (it was about 42 degrees as I was sitting on the back of the rail car… that’s probably the real reason why I was the only one taking photos), beautiful green trees and mountains in the distance, and it was prime photography weather.

The rest of the train ride was much less scenic, as it started raining during our descent back into Skagway. This was very unfortunate, as there was much more scenery to photograph. No worries, as overall I took some great photos.

After the train ride we decided to go back to our ship to have a little happy hour and some dinner. Dinner was great once again! For the evening entertainment, I went back to the casino to test my luck and ended up walking away with $140 in winnings! My luck streak continues!

Went to bed early in anticipation of the next morning, where we would have the opportunity to brave the Tracy Arm Fjord. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s diary where I unveil the best photos yet!

View pictures from Skagway and the Yukon on Facebook.

About Jeff Sauer

I started blogging in the year 2000, and go in spurts of inspiration followed by long dormancy. I love writing, and your comments keep me going, so comment!

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Comments

  1. wow, it is so rustic and beautiful there….

  2. Hi Jeff, I’m a friend of Kristi’s reading your Alaska blog. I love seeing the pics, hearing about your casino winnings and hearing about tons of food makes me hungry! I plan on going on an Alaskan cruise someday. Have a good rest of the trip!