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The White Pass-Yukon Train I took to Skagway. -- Wikimedia photo

The White Pass-Yukon Train I took to Skagway. — Wikimedia photo

“Without new experiences, something inside of us sleeps. The sleeper must awaken.” – Frank Herbert

A Train Ride to Skagway

            I left my car in Whitehorse, and took a morning bus ride to Carcross. This tiny community, originally called Caribou Crossing, began as a hunting and fishing camp for the Tlingit and Tagish people. Located on the shores of Lake Bennett, today it’s mostly a large bus stop for people wanting to catch the narrow gauge White Pass-Yukon Train to Skagway, which follows the same route as used by early miners during the Klondike Gold Rush.

It was an exhilarating ride, with me standing outside the train car in the bracing wind most of the time. I wanted to experience the wild and scenic landscape to the fullest. The ride was even more breathtaking as the short train clickity-clacked over the tall trestles built to navigate the narrow, winding canyon.

 

An aerial view of Skagway. -- Wikimedia photo

An aerial view of Skagway. — Wikimedia photo

I pitied, however, the prospectors, who took the trail before the train began running in 1898. So many horses died along the trail that it became known at the Dead Horse Trail.

At one point along the route, the train stopped to pick up a group of hikers. Then at the top of the pass, a thick mist engulfed the train. And it was raining lightly on arrival in Skagway.

While I was a bit damp after the short walk to the White House, a bed and breakfast where I was spending the night, the freshly baked cookies waiting for me there quickly cheered up the overcast day.

Skagway is a small town of only about 1,000 people, but it is visited by almost a million tourists annually, most arriving on large cruise ships. The sleepy town, to which I had arrived, had become a booming shopping mall by the time I repeated my walk the next day to the train station. Two of those big boats had arrived.

As quaint, and historic as I had found Skagway on arrival, I wasn’t sorry to get back on the train for the delightful ride back up White Pass, followed by the scenic drive back to Whitehorse on the bus.

Bean Pat: Addendum to a Eulogy: http://tinyurl.com/h6adegr I loved this story because it’s what real families are all about.

 

 

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