We boondocked along the South Klondike Highway north of Skagway in a quiet pull off. There is almost no traffic on this beautiful highway at night.
Crossing the Border–
Twenty miles north of Skagway, Alaska is the Yukon and the Canadian border. The boder crossing was quick and painless. They did ask how long we would be in Canada so we had to guess as our plans are usually fluid.
Filled up with gas at a Tesoro station in Haines, Alaska for $4.91/gal. reg. before getting on the ferry to Skagway. This was considered the lowest price for gas in town and though it is high we know the prices in Canada will likely be higher.
Alaska State Ferry from Haines to Skagway, Alaska–
Took the ferry to Skagway today. Liked Haines and will return one day. Our ferry ride was scheduled for 12:30 pm and we were required to be in line by 11:30 am. They come around and check to be sure the RV propane is turned off at the valve, our ticket and a photo ID. They asked about containers for flammables, we do not carry any but some folks do carry extra gas cans, propane for a Coleman stove, etc. Hanging out, waiting for the ferry was interesting. First of all, you are at the beautiful Portage Cove in Haines. The water is a beautiful blue/green, smooth as glass, fish can be seen jumping out of the water, people watching is fun, to say nothing of watching the ferry crew preparing the ship for travel. Of course, Jerry met a new friend. He’s wonderful that way. He likes everyone and can chat about any topic with them. Even before we had the RV and stayed in motels on our way back and forth across the country, he always made friends whereever we were.
The voyage to Skagway was over calm waters and quite uneventful. You just wait your turn to drive on with experts (the experienced crew) directing you and the reverse procedure to drive off the ferry. Can’t stay in the RV on the ferry so you can wait in the lounge or outside on the deck. The Marine Highway Service from Haines to Skagway is only six years old. Before that, it was necessary to drive all the way around a triangle of roads to get from Haines to Skagway. This way is much better for all concerned. The cost for the ferry for us and the RV from Haines to Skagway was $142.00.
This little town is all about the tourist. One of the visitor centers in town is essentially a booking agency for tours, etc. which is fine if that is what you want. Two cruise ship had already off loaded their passengers before we arrived on the ferry so the town was bustling with visitors. We took the self-guided walking tour around town and enjoyed seeing the old building while eating an ice cream cone.
The best part of this town is that some of it is part of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park. This National Park extends from Seattle to Dawson City in Canada. The US National Park Service controls the parts of the park in the US and collaborates with Canada in relation to the parts of the park that are located in Canada. The National Park has a visitor center in Skagway on the corner of 2nd and Broadway Street and was very interesting as well as helpful.
After the walking tour of Skagway we drove out to the remains of the Dyea Townsite and Cemetery. Dyea played an important role in the gold rush of 1897 and was a nearly a ghost town six years later when the gold rush ended. Dyea was located at the head of the Chilkoot Trail and that was the reason it became a boom town. The completion of the train from Skagway the Whitehorse spelled the end for Dyea as folks could more easily take the train. It is a gravel/dirt road to Dyea and as dirt roads go it is good but it is narrow (in some places, only one lane) and has both switchbacks and blind curves. We had no trouble on the road as there is room to pull over and all the opposite direction drivers pulled over and drove carefully. As usual, the NPS, told us that the road was too difficult for our RV but we passed 5th wheels as large or larger than our motorhome on the road. There is a NPS campground near the Dyea Township at the end of this dirt/gravel road and when we toured it there was no one staying in the campground.
We also visited the Avalanche Slide Cemetery in Dyea where about 100 gold-fever crazed people tried going up the Chilkoot Trail despite being warned of an impending avalanche and were buried by the huge amount of snow that plummed down the trail.
South Klondike Highway–
After boondocking last night, we continued along the South Klondike Highway. While this highway is not quite as beautiful as the Haines Highway, it is still quite beautiful. Stopped along the road to take pictures and visited the town of Carcross. In Carcross we also took the walking tour. After leaving Carcross we came upon Emerald Lake…beautiful!