Time there: 7am to 9 pm
Shore Excursions: White Pass & Yukon Route Train Ride, Dog Sledding
His Highlights: Trains and bears and huskies, oh my! and tasty donuts with my bride =)
Her Highlights: Seeing bears up close in their natural habitat, free sugar donuts, playing with Alaskan Husky puppies
This was our first port so we were pretty excited to get off the ship and really see Alaska.
Getting off the ship and waiting on the pier to go on our shore excursion:
We loved Skagway. We chose to start our day off with a train ride. The train traveled along the trail that was used for gold prospectors making their way to the Yukon. The scenery and view from the train was amazing. Of course, the ride was narrated with stories of the gold rush, the building of the railway and the history of the area. Along the way we saw 3 brown bears and 1 black bear and a couple of bald eagles.
The snow blower that clears the train tracks every year:
After our train ride a bus picked us up to take us to our Dog Sledding Adventure. We stopped at some scenic spots along the way.
When we got to the mushing camp, they fed us a lunch of BBQ chicken, cole slaw, potatoes, and sugar donuts. It was delicious! After we stuffed ourselves with as many donuts as we could handle, we looked around in a little museum and gift shop they had. We had about a half an hour to kill before it was our turn to go for a dog sled ride. While you’re waiting, you are allowed to go in the puppy pens and play with the little guys. They were adorable! The guide told us that they start training them to pull a sled at 6 months old.
The dog sled ride was really fun. The guide explained that these dogs run in the Iditarod and during the summer they give rides to tourists as a way to stay in shape. Because there is no snow, they pull the tourists on large “dune buggy” type cars. The cars aren’t motorized at all. The dogs do all the work. Pulling this heavy load gets them in shape so when they are pulling sleds in the snow, they can travel for longer distances before needing to rest.
Sled dog teams consist of four positions: Lead dogs that set the pace of the team, swing dogs that take the commands to turn the sled, team dogs that provide the horsepower, and wheel dogs which are usually the strongest dogs on the team and placed the closest to the sled.
During the winter, sled dogs wear booties on their feet to protect them from sharp ice as they run. Sometimes it can get minus 50 degrees Fahrenheit so in the 58 degree weather we were experiencing, the dogs were actually feeling really hot. This is the reason for the kiddie pools half way through the trail. The dogs get to have a quick break and cool off in the cold water.
The dog sledding was so much fun. I was amazed at how athletic these dogs were. They were pure muscle. After getting back to Skagway we decided to walk around the town a bit. We bought kettle corn and fudge and then made our way over to the Red Onion Saloon.
The Red Onion Saloon was built in 1887 and was the towns bar and brothel. We took a 15 minute tour of the building. The guide told us how the brothel worked and the history of the business through a really funny narration. She took us to the upper floor where the bedrooms were and showed us the holes in the floor where the girls would put their coin earnings in. The coins would then slide down a pipe and to the bartender to be split up at the end of the night. It was pretty interesting.
At the end of the day we headed back to the ship for dinner. Here’s our crab towel animal that we found in our room when we got back:
Skagway was a fun way to kick off the ports. We really liked it there and looked forward to exploring Juneau the next day.