Following a couple days cruising past glaciers and through berglet strewn water we visited the metropolis of Skagway. The church in the background testifies to the Russian heritage of this small town. Four blocks wide and ten long. But what a view. The excursion for the first shore trip was a trip (by bus) up the same route taken by the miners and their one ton of supplies. At the top of those mountains, three thousand feet up, is the Canadian border and the road to the Yukon Territory gold fields.
The miners camped along the way and this reconstructed camp gave us a chance to learn about the history of the area fairly painlessly. We skipped the Salmon Bake but the mini-musical was pretty entertaining.
Of course there was another chance to pan for gold flakes in "enriched" ore as well as some cookies and cider.
The area is set up to reflect nature of the commercial trade of the time as well as the living conditions. "Rented affection" was more successful than mining it seems.
Of course our hosts were in period costume.
Along the way and further up the road we viewed pitchfork falls. Halfway up the hill you can see the WhiteHorse and Yukon Railroad (narrow gauge) crossing above the area where the falls fork.
Here at the top of the hill are the remains of glaciation. Whatever the route up the valley the miners took they passed through this landscape. Those patches of white are snow.
Returning from the top of the hill we had to RETURN to Alaska. Fortunately the border check was rather minimal and a couple miles inside the country but we were warned to carry our passports or other ID and be ready for inspection.
The following morning we arrived in Juneau. On close examination these graffiti prove to be quite old. Many date to the early days of the twentieth century with a few older. (I think the older ones have been repainted.)
Juneau and most of the panhandle of Alaska are islands. Auto theft is impossible since you can't go much more than ten miles. This shot shows a viewing platform across the strait from our anchorage and the typical view from a residential neighborhood.
The capital of Alaska is not a very large town and most of it is built on fill composed of mine tailings. That flat land across the strait is NOT a natural feature.
The museum in Juneau is a gem and the fish hatchery tour was informative but it's another state capital under the awesome mountains.
The trip up the hill to the glacier was interesting but short. There wasn't time to walk out to the ice but given time you can do it.
The bluish area to the right of the glacier is the scar of a "calf" we watched drop off the main ice sheet. Piece the size of a bus.
The final visit of the cruise was at the damp town of Ketchikan. The highlight of this stop for the behavioral sciences major was the visit to a Tlinglet village. They've put together a nice program for the tourists. The picture is of their lodge house. Community living on the platforms around the room with the chief living behind the screen (historically).
The native dance program ended with the performers showing their backs to the adience; the purpose was to present the clan symbols on their capes. All ages participate from toddlers up.
Outside he lodge house is a plaza with historic and new totem poles. The one to the left is in honor of Seward. He didn't appreciate the honor approriately.
The village also has a workshop where te carving of totem poles has been restored by the carvers and their apprentices. Interestingly they don't use native colors but pick them up at Home Depot.
The town of Ketchikan is one of the wettest in the country. They measure rain by the foot. The salmon above Mary Louise's head marks the rain to date, the one near the top the record year's rainfall.
The final attraction on shore was Lumberjack Sports. In the rain. In Alaska and Canada it's a college club sport they've capitalized on for the tourist trade.
The final event of the Lumberjack Sports was log rolling. Not my cup of tea; tea is much warmer than the water the loser will to fall in.