Friday, June 29, 2012

Alaskan Adventure: Day 4

Day 4 was spent in Skagway, a former gold mining town that now mainly exists as a tourist destination. The town is about 30 x 5 blocks, so it's tiny to say the least. Usually a town of this size would be little more than a tourist trap. However, from my perspective, Skagway pulls off being a place you'd actually want to see. Yes, there's lots of souvenir shops, but they seem to contain some actual Alaskan products, versus the Made In China stuff you'd usually find. There's also colorful history, cute looking buildings and a fairly expansive set of trails you can hike to bypass the entire tourist scene.

Most of the day, however, wasn't spent in Skagway. Instead, we splurged on a cruise excursion. The excursion was named something like the "Wildlife Cruise and Safari." What it turned out to be was an exploration of the Davidson Glacier. This involved a 45 minute boat trip, a bus ride and a canoe trip, all which put us within 50 feet or so of a very impressive glacier. Along with an up close view of the glacier, we saw a couple of whales and a whole heap of sea lions.

With the exception of lunch, everything about the excursion was top notch. Getting a whole group of people from the cruise ship to the glacier was non-trivial, and the tour company did it smoothly. Apparently, there's a Kosher Cruise being run on our boat, so about 1/2 of our group (if not more) were obviously fellow Member's of the Tribe. So yeah, it was a bit silly to serve us all Turkey and Cheese sandwiches.

Perhaps the most amazing part of the glacier, next to the sheer beauty of course, is how quickly it's disappearing. In just 10 years, the glacier has receded a massive distance. In fact, that's a common theme among all the glaciers we've seen. It really is true, if you want to see these wonders, you better get here soon.

But don't worry, I took about 780 photos on day 4, so if you can't make it to the glacier in person, my photos should have you covered.

Once we made it back to Skagway, Shira and I took our own little excursion to the Gold Rush Cemetery at the edge of town. It's exactly the kind of quirky site that I love to explore, and had a beautiful waterfall as an extra bonus.

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