Pulling into Skagway this morning – okay I was asleep when we pulled in – so when I pulled back the curtains this morning we were in Skagway. Our activity today didn’t start until 10am so there was no real hurry.
Unlike Juneau you can get to Skagway by road and I’m told that it is sealed all the way to Seattle. And based on the roads we saw today it would make a great bike trip. Skagway is such an interesting little town that heavily relies on the tourist industry, specifically cruise ships so lots of the shops are aimed at that market.
Our activity today was with Frontier Excursions in a small bus of 20 people where we went up and over the US/Canadian border to Carcross. Our driver and tour guide Candice was sensational, such a great operator.
The advantage of the small bus is that it doesn’t take very long for everyone to jump on and off the bus to have a look at stuff or take photos whereas a big bus it’s a big ordeal so they typically don’t stop. So we stopped at heaps of great vantage points.
After lunch at Caribou Crossing we wandered around to check out the place and for me one of the highlights was the museum (largely dedicated to the gold rush and showing the 2,000 pound worth of gear stompers – the name given to men making the many trips over the mountain to deliver their required gear – were required to carry over the mountains), and a taxidermy display. When Candice mentioned the taxidermy display I thought it was going to be a bit morbid but what I saw was quite amazing. Standing up close to black and brown bears it was easy to imagine how scary it would be to up against one these guys. And I was just blown away by how big the moose and bison are! I wasn’t expecting moose to be that much bigger than horses, and bison are just huge! The sound of a stampeding herd of bison must be thunderous.
After a spot of shopping in Carcross we headed to the Emerald Lake and we were lucky enough to spot a mumma brown bear and a couple of cubs foraging on the side of the road. Apparently there hasn’t been many bear spottings of recent so it was great to spot a few bears out and about.