By now you’ve had a glimpse of just some of the things to do in Skagway. Although the gold rush has been a theme in the other ports of call, Skagway, more than the others seem to embody those days. We loved the train and the Suspension Bridge, even the history of the garden and the role it played in providing fresh produce, all related back to the Gold Rush.
We were in port until 8PM so there was plenty of time to explore after excursion, had we been so inclined. However we were hungry having skipped the Quiche so we returned to the ship to eat and relax instead. Cruising is all about relaxing and we certainly embraced it this trip.
The town of Skagway is compact and easy to explore on foot. Everywhere you look you’ll see a celebration of the Gold Rush. It’s estimated that 40,000 prospectors passed through Skagway on the way to the Yukon Gold Fields. Most of Skagway actually falls with in Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park .
One of the places we didn’t see that would have been interesting was the boot hill of the Gold Rush…Gold Rush Cemetery, the final resting place of heroes and villains alike.
Another landmark, the Red Onion Saloon built in1897, still stands at the corner of 2nd and Broadway. It’s current owners aim to keep it’s frontier spirit intact.
While there be sure you hear about Soapy Sam. Soapy Sam was really named Jefferson Smith and he was a notorious con man who with his gang of 100 ruled Skagway in 1897 & 1898. Besides running a telegraph office with no telegraph lines and freight companies that never delivered. He used many different tricks to separate the honest folks from their hard earned money…none of it legal. He even maneuvered himself into being mayor. But like a good wild west tale, Soapy met his demise in a gunfight that pitted good against evil in the guise of Frank Reid (the good guy) against Soapy (the bad guy).
But no happy ending both Frank Reid and Soapy Sam lay dead at the end of the fight. Still the shoot out did free the town from the grip of these bad of outlaws ending the 2 year reign of terror.
One last thing to consider doing in Skagway…pan for gold. There are excursions that will give you that chance. I imagine that water will be mighty cold.
As we were relaxing in our stateroom Sandy stepped out to the balcony. All of a sudden she let out a yell demanding that I come quick. There was some animal down on the rocks! I couldn’t quite make it out at first so I ran back in for the binoculars. It turned out to be an otter. We watched it for a good 10 minutes as it wandered up a path and then came back down to the rocks again.
Finally is slipped into the water and swam off. Seeing that otter made up for skipping our visit to the town. If we’d gone back to explore some more after our late lunch we’d never have seen Mr. Otter! And for me….its all about the animals!