Sunday, 19 June 2011

Skagway to Valdez

Leaving Whitehorse we were on our way to Alaska via Skagway and the South Klondike Highway.  A picturesque 108 miles to Skagway, the small but very busy terminus town for the marine highway south and where two to four cruise boats per day dock for guests to visit. We booked into an RV park then spent our afternoon walking along the board walk lined streets, where the buildings and some of the heritage within its buildings have been preserved showing the history of this gold mining town.
The red onion saloon is one with it’s bed pan lined walls, madams behind the bar and the brothel museum upstairs for those so inclined to visit  Every second shop was a girls dream with the gold, diamonds and ivory jewellery and it’s selection of gifts.  We visited the Alaskan Museum then tried to arrange a day tour up the inside passage to Juneau (the Capital) but all tours were booked out for the next 3 days so the next morning at 6 am we boarded the boat for Haines.
Skagway is only 15 miles by water from Haines but 359 miles by road so to save time and for what woudl be a comparable price we booked our vehicles on to the boat and ourselves as passengers for this one hour trip which made for a very pleasant change from the bitumen and gravel.
Our journey from Whitehorse to Skagway through Tormented Valley was probably one of the prettiest and definitely the most varied of landscapes we have travelled in a short distance. Snow capped mountains, rivers, lakes and streams, windy mountainous roads and having lunch alongside Carcross desert before we reached our border crossing  YES!  into Alaska.  
From Haines it was onto Haines Junction where we met the Alaskan highway once more. Along this route we would leave Alaska for a while entering into Yukon Territory. The drive along Kluane Lake, the largest lake in the Yukon Terrirtory was beautiful and was topped off by the sighting of 3 bears and a Caribou. We camped alongside the lake, went for a walk , then enjoyed a laugh while watching the movie “RV”.  
The road conditions the following day through toTok were really testing. Travel was slow, orange flags showed rough areas that were frost heaved or gravel. There were so many orange flags.... The drive was a continual rollercoaster where the road had sunk down and has created potholes and all because of permafrost which is a real problem in this area. Signs of testing can be found alongside the roads in order to find a solution.
After our lunch stop at Beaver Creek it was back to the USA (Alaska) and goodbye to Canada.Once crossing the border the quality of the roads immediately improved. We had a short delay as Russ and I had to arrange an extension of our visa waiver as our return flight date was one day over its 90 day validation.
At the end of the day we were grateful to have arrived at Tok. The following days journey was entirley different and simply amazing.  Waterfalls, rivers, snow, glaciers, wildflowers and far better road conditions. Along the way we stopped and went for a walk up onto Worthington Glacier.  After crossing  Thompson pass it was not too long before we were in Valdez settling into an RV park planning  the next couple days we will spend in this fishing village......      


Boys throwing stones Kluane Lake

Maintenance Car

Reflections at Tentlin Wildlife

Driving alongside Emerald Lake



Checking the RV

Cars on Boat to Haines

Crabby and WHO!

Drive towards Valdez

Horsetail Falls

Inikshute man  on US Canadian Border

Inside Red Onion Saloon

Kluane Lake


Alaska we Made it....
Carcross desert

Entering Alaska for the 2nd Tiime

It's not superman its the bear man

Leaving Skagway to Haines

Worthington Glacier


Wildflowers along Kluane Lake

Mount Sanford

Mal and Russ at Bridal Veil Falls

Boat we went on to Haines

Permafrost  test area

Gakona Lunch Stop

Mal and Wendy on Boat
Orange flags alongside road 
Emerald  Lake
To Valdez
Thompson Pass
Walking on Worthigton Glacier
Snow capped Mountains
Russ crossing the borders
Skagway Boat Harbour
Skagway Township
Skagway Fish Coop

Conductors of scenic railway Skagway
Ivory Store at Skagway  

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