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Alaska’s Travel Diary

Monday, 06 Jul 2009

Location: Columbia Ferry to Skagway, USA

MapToday was the last day on the Marine Highway for us. We are starting to really notice the days being longer as the light peers into the window shutter edges each morning before the deck hands unlatch them. My internal clock says it is not time to get up yet, but the external conditions say otherwise. I rose to check out the time. It was 6:30....close enough for me. I plugged in the coffee pot and the day began......one stop in Juneau for 2 1/2 hours, where Joe & Tracy got out to try walking to town 2 or more miles......one stop in Haines for 1 1/2 hours where we would start packing bags and putting them in the car so as to eliminate the hassle at the rush to the car deck.......and the final stop in Skagway by 4:00 p.m. where we would have hotel rooms and see the town & shop. Gwynne & I started with a nice breakfast in the ship's restaurant, a switch for me from the usual cereal in the room.....eggs, bacon, toast, hasbrowns w/ oj. The changing of the Rangers took place and we now had "Amy" who was a dynamic speaker and very knowledgeable & interesting. She gave several talks throughout the day and we all attended, including Marmar Jane. Once we cleared the room after lunch...some at the snack bar, some in the room w/ sandwiches....the card playing, sewing, reading, and journaling kept all busy until the final hours of the 3 day trip up the Inside Passage. The scenery has been awesome and the Humpbacks, although out in full-force, were not breaching the water in full body, just sneak previews for the most part. The glaciers from Mendendhall in Juneau, Davidson's in Haines, Rainbow (a hanging glacier) and others I can't remember the names of became commonplace. With Sam's Junior Ranger patch behind us we were able to sit back and enjoy the scenery & leisure of the life on the boat. Although we enjoyed the journey, we were all ready to get off and start a new section of our adventure. Skagway is a historical gold mining town, not a place you can really enjoy in just 15 hours, but we did our best. We walked the town viewing historical buildings, shopping both souveniers as well as local artists' products, Visitor's Centers, Klondike Gold Rush National Monument where we discovered yet another possible badge for Sam (and he thought he was going to have a few days off? poor baby!), steak dinner at our hotel, and the Gold Rush graveyard. The plan is to leave at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow as we have a long drive over rough road (between Whitehorse & Dawson City) AND we lose an hour while in Canada. This will be the first day we will actually have travelled a long distance with 7 passengers and bags, backpacks, crates, ice chests, food boxes, filling the van to the brim. Check back in to see if we are all still in one piece.