Mom and I got up and headed into the town of Skagway around 9ish. There was a shuttle that you could take to town or you could take a five minute walk. We opted for the shuttle.
Now, I’ve heard of Skagway before. I’ve heard Skagway a lot. The town wasn’t what I expected. I guess I thought Skagway was going to be bigger than what it was and more old timey-like original buildings. Instead, the town was touristy and I guess that’s because the residents live outside the area where the ships come in (which I get). The buildings weren’t original but built to look original. Again, this is just my opinion. I wasn’t too impressed with the stores, but then again, I couldn’t really shop either because I’m on a budget. There were some jewelry stores and chotsky stores, but I had truly seen enough of those by then. I stayed with mom while she perused the stores and then we took the shuttle back to the dock so we could meet dad and the others for our excursion.
It was about noon when we were ushered towards a battered up, yellow school bus. I felt like I was in school again. The ride was bumpy but quick. It wasn’t long until our bus pulled up to the old (manufactured) mining camp of Liarsville.
Men dressed as miners and women dressed in skimpy dresses (skimpy for the time) from the 1800’s greeted us as we unloaded the rickety bus. Soon, we were led into a covered pavilion where a buffet was set up. The buffet had salmon Caesar salad, reindeer baked beans, and grilled salmon with some kid of teriyaki sauce (that dad loved but I didn’t like so much). The food wasn’t too shabby, especially the salad. After scarfing down our meal, Wesley played with the three dogs that lived in camp. All three were malamutes, but one of the puppies (it was 17 months old), I think, was really a bear in a dog’s costume. The beast weighed 150 pounds! When Wesley stood next to it, the thing was HUGE. I don’t think anyone could over the fact that the dog was only 17 months.
Next, we walked over to the area where we would pan for gold (Wesley is a huge rock fan and we thought he would love the experience of gold panning). Dad enjoyed the warmth of the campfire (not that it was that cold), Kristen and Chris looked around the general store, and mom admired the tents that were set up to model tents that could be found during the mining age.
Wesley’s eyes bugged out of his head about this time. I looked in the direction he was staring at and found two of the scantily clad women calling and whistling at the passing visitors. I gave Wesley some money to take to the women. He handed them the money and asked if he could take a picture with them. Well, they just fawned all over him and his face turned bright red. It was the cutest thing ever! Later on, I asked him which one he liked the most…apparently he has a thing for red-heads.
After a brief show, during which Wesley’s gal pals sang and recited a poem, it was time for us to pan for gold. We were each given instructions and a pan full of sediments. Each of us concentrated over the troughs of water, swirling our pans, hoping to catch a glimpse of something sparkly. Flakes of gold were found in each pan and I’m pretty sure Wesley caught the gold fever because he didn’t want to leave.
The rest of our afternoon was spent—and I don’t think you’ll be surprised here—relaxing.
Day at Sea
Today, our ship captain sailed the ship into the Yakutat Bay where Hubbard Glacier stood majestically. I was happy to have the balcony because it meant I didn’t have to join the crowd on the upper outer decks to see the glaciers (there was one across from Hubbard). The captain would position our ship so each side was offered views and time with the glaciers. I found it fascinating looking over the side…tons of ice chips (or should I say glacier chips?) floated profusely in the bay. A small boat was sent out and we were able to see three people (who I thought were researchers at the time) pulled a chunk of ice into the small vessel.
This afternoon, the ship was planning on having a walk-a-thon for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and so they were selling shirts up on the pool deck. At the same time mom and I got off the elevator to buy a shirt, the three “researchers” got off another elevator rolling a luggage cart with the chunk of ice strapped on it. The captain came on to share that the ice was a piece of the glacier that was floating in the bay (it was the same one we saw pulled onto the small boat) and that it weighed approximately a 2,000 pounds. A ton! I, being the science teacher, had to have my picture taken with it of course!
Mom and I then went to the lobby, or centrum, to watch the towel folding demonstration. No, I didn’t learn anything from it, but the Shirley Temple I sipped while watching the demo was delicious and refreshing. The next show was on cake decorating. I watched the shenanigans of the cruise director and then sampled a piece from the head pastry chef’s cake. It wasn’t too bad. The kids from the Adventure Ocean Club (it was like the cruise ship’s daycare) then had a talent show. The kids got to perform, but before the kids were able to get on “stage”, the staff told the moms to come up to dance to a song. Kristen got up there and shook her tail feather. It wasn’t until Wesley got up with a group to dance to “Gangham Style” that I noticed where he gets his dance moves.
Tonight is our last night on the ship. It’s been a great vacation, but it isn’t over yet. Tomorrow we will take the train from Seward to Anchorage. The ride is suppose to be four hours long and then we’ll have a few hours to kill before going to the airport for our flight home (I think the plane leaves around 7pm). And even though this vacation isn’t officially over yet, I would totally recommend this trip to others. Alaska is a must see!