Monday, August 8, 2016

Alaska: The Last Frontier Part VIII - Skagway

Rob mentioned that he wished I'd get back to the blog so to chronicle our lives. This is the last Alaska installment.

So much has happened since we were in Alaska a year ago. We traveled to New England, down the eastern seaboard, saw family and friends, and I've had cancer… twice. Through all that, I've realized there are so many things I want to accomplish such as taking drawing lessons, painting classes, expanding on my woodburning and wanting a place to do it all. It's impossible in a motorhome. So, yes, I'm ready to settle down again. Where? We have an idea. In California? Not likely. When? Don't know for sure. I have to go for checkups every six and four months, respectively, depending on the cancer we're speaking about. It makes traveling away from the medical home base a little less, well, convenient. Not impossible, but a hassle.

I will caption the photographs since they will jog my memories of Skagway, the last Alaskan city we visited and one of the most interesting.

This is the ferry we took from Haines to Skagway. We did the calculation and realized that it was less expensive to take the ferry for the hour and a half long journey than it would be to buy diesel for the 350 mile trip back up into Canada and then down into Alaska again.

Rob at the stern of the ferry.

A murder of Ravens.

This guy was keeping an eye on me because I kept trying to get closer to him. I snapped the shot before he got too nervous and took off.

Another spectacular Alaskan waterfall. This one along the Chilkoot Inlet.

A common sight in Skagway: Cruise ships. When we arrived on the ferry, there were four cruise ships in port. Surprisingly, the street and shops never felt overly crowded from the thousands of passengers. Maybe many of them took the scenic train ride or other available tours of the area instead.

The Days of '98 show about Soapy Smith and the gold rush days. I walked the main street of Skagway alone as Rob decided not to partake and, while doing so, a few of the actors were at the entrance to the theatre trying to get people to come see the show. I'm glad I took them up on the offer.

The Days of '98 Show has been playing since 1923. The actor, Jonathan Baldwin, played Soapy Smith who was Alaska's most notorious outlaw. He ruled Skagway during the craziest and wildest days of the Klondike Gold Rush. The production was lively and fun.

And there is always one audience member who gets the honor of humiliation participating in order to entertain us all. This fellow was a really good sport and had us laughing hardily.

I forgot about these women who were dragged on stage. They seemed to have fun but you could tell they were uncomfortable. They ought to be glad there were only about 20 of us in the audience.

The can-can was bawdy entertainment for excited miners with gold dancing in their eyes.

If I recall correctly, this is the burnt side of a Klondike era building which was the Frye-Bruhn Refrigerated Warehouse. The charred wood was actually very interesting and beautiful.

The Moore Homestead. Captain Moore recognized the importance Skagway would have in the future and settled there around 1890. He met a Tlingit native and took her as his wife, which was meant to provide an alliance and friendship with the natives. They built a reputable business, a sawmill, and helped shape and grow the town. They later suffered from the attitudes of the gold rush miners who brought their prejudices with them.

The Moore Homestead in 1901.

I spent a bit of time in this antique shop. The colored glass was beautifully arranged.

If only I could have bought several of these lanterns. They were all so interesting and I can only imagine the stories they could tell.

Beautiful Skagway, beautiful Alaska.

The theatre where The Days of '98 plays. Those doors were opened to the street at one point during the performance. From inside, the doors were part of the stage backdrop.

A grave monument in Dyea. All the miners had to come through Dyea to cross the glacier on their way to the Klondike.

The many gravestones for the miners who all perished on April 3, 1898, in the Chilkoot Trail Avalanche.

As you can see, W. Carl was from San Francisco. I wonder if he has any descendants.

They were everywhere. Poignant.

You've read before about the beautiful Fireweed in Alaska. Throughout the entire season, Fireweed could be found at the beginning of it's bloom right next to Fireweed at it's end, sending out it's fluffy seeds to propagate next year's carpets of beauty. In this small meadow, however, all the Fireweed was in seed and the breeze carried them far and wide. It looked like a snow flurry. We never did see another sight like it. Be sure to click on the photo to make it as large as possible on your screen.

Salmon trying to make their way upstream. These were the latecomers, though. A tour guide told us these fish would likely all die. The bears were no longer coming down to the stream to eat them. They were past their prime and no longer tasted good.

Looking toward the inlet where the miners began their long, arduous trek to the Klondike. 

Cute little mushrooms.

The owners of this property decked out the place for the enjoyment of passersby with mannequins and colorful signs at the 'Skagway Jail.'

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