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Alaskan Adventures - Skagway

Time in Port: 7am -7:30pm

Jen showing off a Bigfoot shirt
Yet another Bigfoot shirt!

We wanted to make the most of our time in Skagway so we opted for room service breakfast. We docked at 7am and was off the ship shortly thereafter. We knew today was going to be a super busy day with two excursions, the first starting at 9:30am.

We took the SMART public bus into the downtown area. For $5 you could ride the entire day. We shopped the souvenir shops. I’m trying to bring stuff back from every port for the kids.

Look how green Skagway is!
Gorgeous Skagway

What’s funny, and a punch in the face…so I have my arms loaded down with things for the kids (all 3) and I hit the kids books. I'm looking and see two books that were “When Grandma and Grandpa went to Alaska” and I was both horrified and laughing because I mean it’s entirely possible age-wise AND twice now in the years people have thought I was my siblings mother.

It was cold with the temperature hovering right above 50. It was windy. It was lightly raining. My windbreaker helped but I could have used an extra layer more. We stopped at a local coffee shop off 2nd street and the name completely escapes me. I ordered a “Honey Bear Latte” which was made with honey and vanilla. Ed asked for the owner to “surprise him”. He ended up with some kind of espresso drink that was 16oz with 2oz being coffee of some sort and the rest foam. Literally, his cup was taller than mine and weighed less.

Downtown Skagway
Downtown Skagway

We headed back to the pier to catch our ferry to Haines (45 minute boat ride) and then head to Mosquito Lake (another 45 minutes). Supposedly it gets its name from its shape resembling that of a mosquito. Oh yeah and, SPOILER ALERT, the freaking mosquitoes. (Do Missouri mosquitoes come out when it rains? Well these weren’t phased by it.)

The ferry ride was ok. We were able to see a few waterfalls and huge cliffs dabbled with more happy trees. The bus tour was far more entertaining. Rachelle, our bus driver, was a hoot. Full of fun facts and so many stories. Did you know they have a hammer museum?

Downtown Skagway
Downtown Skagway-Loved this building!

We’re headed to the Kroschel Films Wildlife Center owned by Canadian film director Steve Kroschel. He was described to us as the Tiger King of Alaska or a cross between Dr. Doolittle and Ace Ventura, Pet Detective. He supposedly talks to the animals in his own language. Hmmmm.

More facts about Haines, Alaska:

  • $6.62 for a gallon of gas. Yep. $9 gallon of milk and $7 for loaf of bread. It’s 40 miles from the Canadian border

  • Alaska has earthquakes! Main Street in Haines is on a fault line. The largest was a 7.9 on the Richter scale.

Bear in downtown Skagway
First bear sighting!

We drove by the Chilkat Mountains. Did you know that glacier water is 12 hours old and 48 degrees? We saw Trumpeter swans, a small family, which are native here.

Right now, the temp has climbed to 52 degrees and misty. So dang chilly. Haines gets anywhere between 121-800” of snow in a year, which is pretty good for a rain forest. Yes! It’s a rainforest! Supposedly they had a 200 year storm. They had 48” of snow and 100” of rain in a two-day period.

They have tons of wildlife. The moose here weigh between 1200-1500lbs. Black bears and brown bears (grizzlies, of course) are commonly seen. Just last year, 47 bears that came into town had to be shot. They like to break into storage units, cars, homes. They are only killed if damaging property or people! Apparently insurance does NOT cover bear damage! They can be hunted, and eaten, but she offered us this tidbit. Black bears are omnivores and taste good. Grizzlies eat meat, fish, and therefore taste like rotten salmon. So not so good. They also have wolverines, foxes, and wolves. We passed through a road construction area and she told us that recently a grizzly bear ran right through it! We didn’t see it.

Kroeschel Wildlife Center
Kroeschel Wildlife Center

We made it to the Wildlife Center! The website boasts: it's not a's an experience! That it was!! We met so many animals. It was such a neat experience. Here’s a list of the animals we met today:

  • Mischka the wolf

  • Ashina and Meluna the wolf pups

  • Aquila the porcupine

  • I forgot the name of the lynx

  • Oopik the snowy owl

  • Kiska the minx (who roams the grounds by the way of black, drainage tubes-there’s a video)

  • Duck and Jerry the moose babies

  • Zach and Darryl the reindeer pups

  • Banff the wolverine (Steve was on Johnny Carson in 1991 with his wolverine)

  • And lastly, Kitty the grizzly bear!

Kissing a moose!
Jen kissing a moose!

I highly recommend this tour and not because I got to Eskimo “kiss” and feed a baby moose.

Jen and Steve Kroeschel
Jen and Steve Kroeschel

51 degrees, raining, windy AF. The ferry, for apparently the THIRD day in a row, broke down. We couldn’t depart to head back. We missed our next excursion.

White Pass and Yukon Route Railway
On the train ride

We were supposed to go on the White Pass and Yukon Route railway? Yeah…that didn’t look like it was gonna happen. Wait! There was ONE more your departing. We ran, ok who am I kidding here. Ed ran while I speed walked to get to the fully boarded train. We made it aboard car 362. The caboose car. We made it!

The train ride was 3 hours of majestic views. Waterfalls, being up in the clouds, the rapids below. All the things! We did not see any wildlife on the trip to the Yukon but that’s ok. Ed swears he saw a porcupine. The tunnels, trestle bridge, the steel bridge with the huge hole in the middle that spurs anxiety and seen in the movies, I’m sure, made up for the lack of wildlife. Plus, we hung out with wild animals earlier today.

We learned a lot. We saw the trail of 1898 for the gold rush stampede. We saw Dead Horse Gulch where many pack animals met their demise by neglect from the hands of the stampeders. Bridal Veil Falls which is 6,000ft. Then back down to the start after the trek towards the Klondike Goldfields. Very cool.

I get really anxious with heights. I didn’t use to until I had kids. To cope, I can’t believe I’m telling you all this, I nervously pick at my cuticles. Let’s just say they are not feeling so great.

Crossing from US into Canada!
Crossing from US into Canada!

White Pass Summit: 2,888ft at the US/Canadian border. As we made our descent back down the mountain, well, you can smell the brakes working. They were also loud. I’m glad they worked. I am glad I was not on a runaway train. Very glad!

By the time we got back to the ship, which was supposed to leave port at 7:30pm, but they waited for us. It was well after 8pm before we dined. We were starved. 6am breakfast, light snack midday, we needed food. Steak never tasted so good. By the time we got back to our cabin it was around 9:30pm and we were ready to crash for the night. Tomorrow is a very laid back day.


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