Friday, August 14, 2015

Haines to Whitehorse to Skagway

We left Haines and drove back to Whitehorse, Yukon, as this is the only land route that would get us to Skagway, so we broke up the trip by an overnight stop back in Whitehorse, where we had come through on our way up to Alaska about a month ago.  It was a different way that we came for a good part of the drive, so that was nice.  It ended up being something of a rainy and cloudy day for most of it and it was pretty muddy when we got to the campground in Whitehorse.  But the rain had subsided so that was a good thing, not to have rain while we hooked up.  We really liked Whitehorse when we were there before, and there were a couple of places downtown we didn't get to go so we were glad we got into the campground early enough to make it to these shops.  This was where we had visited Frank Turner's dog kennels before and one of our group had just fallen in love with one of his dogs.  Frank had told us that now he rescues dogs from shelters and has them at his kennel, some to use as working dogs for his musher camp, but some, that no longer do that, he allows people to adopt.  He was quite emphatic that he had to trust a person before he would allow them to adopt, to make sure they were going to provide good and loving care for the dog.  Well, Denis said that when we were there before and had the time to go out and be with the dogs, one dog in particular just seemed to call out his name; when he walked by the dog's house, the dog just was so excited and kept loving on Denis, so he had later decided that he wanted to adopt the dog when we got back to Whitehorse.  Well, when he talked to the folks at the ranch, he learned that this was one of the dogs who was still a working dog on teams at musher camp, so it would be another two years before he was eligible for adoption.  So Denis was disappointed, but maybe he'll come back in two years to get the dog, who knows.

Anyway, that evening we went to the Klondike Rib & Salmon BBQ Restaurant with a bunch of the other caravaners.  A number of our folks had eaten there when we were in Whitehorse before, as it is one of the local favorites, but we had not.  Turns out they did in fact have a couple of vegan friendly choices on the menu, and we had a great meal and a great time.  When we arrived there was a long line outside and they told us it would be about a 45 minute wait.  Ordinarily this could be a bit annoying, but the hostess there, a woman named Tami, helped make it a really fun time.  She is a delightful person, so happy and cheerful, and full of energy.  She laughed and kidded with everyone, and her energy was just contagious, so it made the wait time a lot of fun.  When I went up to put our name on the list she exclaimed, "Oh my goodness, it's Santa, and there's even a rainbow behind you!!"  Well, I turned and looked up to the sky, and sure enough there was the most vivid rainbow I've seen in a long time, with brilliant colors and six distinct bands of color.  Usually it seems that only about 3 colors are distinguishable, but this one was definitely more than that.  Anyway, Tami was just a delight, and was so excited to see Santa and Mrs. Claus at the restaurant.  We gave her one of our travel cards with our picture on it, and when she saw the travel blog address she said she wanted to read it.  All the time we were in the restaurant, we saw her greeting people with the same enthusiasm and giving everyone hugs when they left.  This just does so much to make a dining experience memorable, setting the tone at the outset for a fun evening.  Anyway, if you're ever in Whitehorse, you should definitely go to the Klondike--and tell Tami Santa sent you!!

Leaving Whitehorse for Skagway, the day was another rainy and overcast day.  We've had so few of these kinds of days that when it happens it's noticeable.  But we've been so fortunate, as the few rainy days we've had have pretty much been on travel days, and not days when we've been doing some sort of sightseeing activity.  So that's been a good thing.  So, not so many pictures from that leg of the trip, but happily, when we were scheduled to do the White Pass Summit train trip the day after we arrived in Skagway it was forecasted to be a beautiful, sunny day--and it was!!  Next post!

Coming out of Haines.

There were two active fish wheels in the river alongside the road
You can see the raindrops on the windshield in this picture

A campground along the way; you can also see some of the fireweed in the foreground with the blooms already gone

Trisha, especially, loves these green and yellow grasses--the speed limit sign is, of course, in kilometers, which we've gotten used to as we've been back and forth between Canada and Alaska

Some gorgeous flowers near where we parked when we stopped again at the Village Bakery in Haines Junction, just by a picnic table set up in a green space along the street.
These were in someone's yard on the street where the bakery is located

Trisha got some great shots at Emerald or Rainbow Lake, with different settings on the camera, and some really cool reflections!(known by both names)

Passing the world's smallest desert near Carcross, a historic little town on the way from Whitehorse to Skagway.  As we learned, a desert area is defined by the climate conditions, and the small amount of rain it gets, as well as some other factors, and this is apparently the smallest place with such a designation--who knew?

Lovely little church, as we came into Carcross

Some of the shops in Carcross

We were waiting for the White Pass and Yukon Railroad train to come by, crossing this bridge
And here it comes!
An old locomotive
This was a riverboat that had run aground years ago, and they're now working on restoring it

The road to Skagway was pretty dramatic, and you can see how close it was to the edge by the river.  There is also an 8 mile stretch with a very steep downgrade, so we had to rely on the low gears to keep our speed down and save the brakes

Ruins from an old mining operation

A huge suspension foot bridge, not too far out of Skagway

Really far down to the river, but this is one of the favorite kayaking venues--no one was out while we were there, but it looked like some really challenging rapids

As we drove on toward Skagway, we experienced all kinds of weather!

Now back into Alaska

Long waterfall as we drove along
And a suspension bridge on the road, just outside Skagway

Posts on both sides of road are guides for the snow plows

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