Alaska Cruise – 2012 – Part VI – Skagway

I sit here listening to the wind.  I look out, and see the same wind move snow at a pretty good clip.  The wind is blowing as if this area was inhabited by dickens, but not just regular dickens.  Great big expirating dickens, the kind that can move snow horizontally.

OK, now that half my readers left, shaking their heads, and mumbling “Dude be crazy!”, on with the post.

Our next Alaska cruise stop is Skagway.  Yes, another update from our September cruise.  And it’s only February!  I’m motoring!

Skagway (originally spelled Skaguay) is from the Tlingit name for the area, “Skagua” or “Shԍagwei” meaning “a town full of shops owned by the cruise lines“.   OK, OK . . . the name actually means “a windy place with white caps on the water.”  But, below I make the case for the more modern definition.

First some history.  I am nothing if not about eye-jucation.  You can read about Skagway HERE, but for them too lazy to do so, I give you the Disperser summary.

Tlingits living off the land in a beautiful place.  Other people come.  They think gold be around, and push inland.  Meanwhile, dispute about borders between US, Canada, and Britain.   Gold actually found in the Yukon.  Steamboats full of prospectors come the town.  The town’s population grows to 10,000 suckers . . . er . . . prospectors, making it the largest city in 1898 Alaska, with something like 30,000 people in the general area.

There be neat tales of ladies of easy virtue, men of no virtue, shootouts, killings, and the usual human stuff when people who are not Tlingit go visit places.

Meanwhile, since the route to prospecting requires getting into Canadian territory, the Canadians require prospectors have at least a ton of supplies before venturing out into the wilderness.  That was so they would not have their countryside littered with people who starved to death.    The burden of carrying the supplies leads to a demand for an aerial tramway, and eventually, a narrow gauge railroad to ferry the prospectors to them prospecting fields.  The White Pass & Yukon Route was conceived and planned.

The railroad is completed in 1900, just in time for the demand to die down.  Residents resorted to tourism, and pretty much it’s where we are now.

Alaska Cruise 2012

The ticket office for the railway.  These days they only run in the summer for tourists who bring in the cash.  It was unclear to me if it was running while we were there.  I believe it was, because I think the cruise line provides an excursion that includes a train ride.  I be betting this was it.

Alaska Cruise 2012

Yeah, I know . . . it’s hard to read.  You can always go look at the larger, clearer, more splendid version that can be found in the SmugMug gallery (HERE).

The Train Station

The Train Station

Dang!!  I forgot to crop out the pole.  I just noticed it . . . well, it’s now a part of my couple-of-media-presentation.

This is Skagway . . .

Alaska Cruise 2012

Alaska Cruise 2012

Pretty much, shops, after shops, after shops . . . wait . . . what’s that red thing?

Alaska Cruise 2012

Why, it’s the snowplow used to clear the railroad tracks during heavy snows.  Ugh! . . . people . . . Luckily, they went across the street to  . . .

Alaska Cruise 2012

. . . you guessed it!  A t-shirt shop.  Actually, I lost my posse to the lure of short sleeved garments with writing on them.  But that’s OK.  It left me alone to do what I enjoy: take photographs.

Alaska Cruise 2012

That is one heck of a plow . . . something like what I could use right now.

Alaska Cruise 2012

Again, you can better read the exploits of the plow if you go to SmugMug, but for them too lazy to click HERE, No. 1, the above plow, retired from service in 1964, and in its 65 years of service, made 2,580 trips, and traveled 181,000 miles.

Alaska Cruise 2012

Alaska Cruise 2012

The thing is impressive, and one can imagine it carving its way through massive snow drifts.

Nearby there is the ubiquitous sign to other places, and near that, there is a statue commemorating something or other.

Alaska Cruise 2012

Alaska Cruise 2012

Let me see what it’s about . . .

Alaska Cruise 2012

It speaks of the native people guiding the crazy white folks through the passes.

Alaska Cruise 2012

The guy above is the stand-in for all crazy white folk . . .

Alaska Cruise 2012

The guy in front is the guide.  Here is a Black and White rendition.

Alaska Cruise 2012

Frankly, I’m more interested in the machine that chewed through snow.

Alaska Cruise 2012

So, the next few photos are of the snow plow and the surroundings.

Alaska Cruise 2012 Alaska Cruise 2012 Alaska Cruise 2012 Alaska Cruise 2012 Alaska Cruise 2012 Alaska Cruise 2012

Here is a shot modified by hand . . .

Alaska Cruise 2012

And nearly the same shot run through the HDR process in Photoshop (six different shots).

Alaska Cruise 2012

I did not know which I should like, so I included them both.

Then, I proceeded into the station.  It had some period stuff.  Historical artifacts, they called them.

Stuff they dug up from various places in the town.  Seriously, it looks like whjat one might find digging around someone's back yard right now.  This stuff is "historical".

Stuff they dug up from various places in the town. Seriously, it looks like what one might find digging around someone’s back yard right now. This stuff is “historical”.

A historical cart.  Wagon?  Something historical.  Don't sit on it.

A historical cart. Wagon? Something historical. Don’t sit on it.

I'm thinking this is either the construction of the railroad, or an actual trek through one of the passes.  I probably should have read the caption.

I’m thinking this is either the construction of the railroad, or an actual trek through one of the passes. I probably should have read the caption.

What Skagway looked like before tourists.

What Skagway looked like before tourists.

Around that time, my posse rejoined with me.  They were now laden with various goods.  I offered to carry part of the loot, and we set off to hit the rest of the stores.  Or at least give them the once-over.  What follows are some of the storefronts . . . I did not photograph all of them, as only about half were interesting.

This thing is faced with small logs . . . looks like a fire trap is I ever saw one.

This thing is faced with small logs . . . looks like a fire trap is I ever saw one.

How clever . . . Golden North, and it's painted yellow . . . and it has one of the eight hundred jewelry stores one can find along the main street.

How clever . . . Golden North, and it’s painted yellow . . . and it has one of the eight hundred jewelry stores one can find along the main street.

Literally, every building lining Main Street is a store.

Literally, every building lining Main Street is a store.

Finally!!  Something that interests me!!

Finally!! Something that interests me!!

No, not the clothes . . . the farthest sign . . . yes!!  Bakery!!  As it turns out, this being an American cruise, the place had been picked clean by the time we got there.  But, honest . . . we had all that stuff on the ship.  I only wept for ten minutes, or so.

I don't know if these are authentic . . .

I don’t know if these are authentic . . .

. . . and I did not snap the whole wall because some people were holding it up, and I did not want to include them in the photo.

. . . and I did not snap the whole wall because some people were holding it up, and I did not want to include them in the photo.

Subtle.  I wonder if they sell anything.

Subtle. I wonder if they sell anything.

Self portrait . . .

Self portrait . . .

Wait . . . you have got to be kidding me!!

Really?  Here?!?

Really? Here?!?

We thought this was a church, but upon looking at the photo, it says "museum".  Honest, it looked like a wedding party was heading in (before I snapped the photo), otherwise we would have gone in.

We thought this was a church, but upon looking at the photo, it says “museum”. Honest, it looked like a wedding party was heading in (before I snapped the photo), otherwise we would have gone in.

A bit of a language lesson . . . 

Alaska Cruise 2012

Again, if you want to actually read it, click on the photo . . . 

Again, I can't speak to the authenticity.

Again, I can’t speak to the authenticity.

But it is interesting.

But it is interesting.

A few more sights . . . 

Alaska Cruise 2012 Alaska Cruise 2012 Alaska Cruise 2012

. . . and then back to the boat.

No . . . that is not our boat.

No . . . that is not our boat.

Our boat is behind it . . . 

Alaska Cruise 2012

One of the interesting things were the advertising graffiti on the cliffs opposite the berths, nearly at the three stories level.  I could not see easy ways to get them there (there is quite a gap between the cliffs and the dock).  Plus, it was not just ads; it was obvious some people wanted to post personal messages for the tourists to read.

Alaska Cruise 2012

A few shots of our cruise ship.

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She be a big mother.  I wonder how big her crap-holding tanks are?  Or is it all immediately flushed into the sea?  Best not to think about such things.

Back on the ship, I decided to walk about a bit, and snap some additional photos of this beauty.

There, in the middle level, you can see the security one goes through when leaving or boarding the ship.

There, in the middle level, you can see the security one goes through when leaving or boarding the ship.

Beautiful etched glass in one of the atriums.

Beautiful etched glass in one of the atriums.

The hallway outside our room.

The hallway outside our room.

The indoor pool.

The indoor pool.

Nearly every alcove of the common areas have some kind of art depicting marine life.

Nearly every alcove of the common areas have some kind of art depicting marine life.

Latte and a snack.  The latte was good as always, but this particular dessert, though striking, was, sadly, not that good.

Latte and a snack. The latte was good as always, but this particular dessert, though striking, was, sadly, not that good.

Not that we were lacking in choices.

Not that we were lacking in choices.

But, the ship was about to get underway, and one has to go watch the departure.  Actually, all of us, not just one.

Alaska Cruise 2012

The weather had cleared, giving us a great view of the town.

Alaska Cruise 2012

And of the surrounding hills.

Alaska Cruise 2012Goodbye Skagway . . . it was nice shopping you.

The way out of the passage was fraught with photo opportunities.

Alaska Cruise 2012

Alaska Cruise 2012

Alaska Cruise 2012

Alaska Cruise 2012

Alaska Cruise 2012

We were underway . . . the next day would be at sea, with  a quick evening stop in Victoria, and then home the day after that.

This recounting is coming to an end . . . but we are not done yet.  There is more to share.

If you enjoyed reading this story, please tell everyone you know.  After all, why deprive your loved ones, your friends, and your work colleagues, of the joy associated with the discovery of these little gems?

BUT . . . If you did not enjoy reading it . . . well, don’t get your all railed up.  And please; don’t tell anyone.

Dark Magic

Dark Magic

Some have asked about these doodles . . . click on them to find out more.

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Should you still nominate me, I will strongly suspect you pulled my name at random, and that you are not, in fact, a reader of my blog.  If you wish to know more, please read below.

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Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not personally hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.  

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

About disperser

Odd guy with odd views living an odd life during odd times.
This entry was posted in Alaska 2012, Black & White, Black and White, Machines, Photography Stuff, Trains, Travel Stuff, Writing Stuff and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Alaska Cruise – 2012 – Part VI – Skagway

  1. You increased my general knowledge of the Gold Rush which at present was what I had gleaned from one episode of the TV series “Murdoch”. I liked the HDR photo with the pink tinged cloud, very effective.

    Like

    • disperser says:

      Just to be clear . . . this was just one of many “Gold Rush” . . . er . . . rushes.

      As thorough and accurate as my recounting is, the links give quite a bit more detail, most of it very interesting.

      . . . and, thanks.

      Like

  2. Must have been very interesting. And the lodging (beds and food) looks quite ok too. ;)

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    • disperser says:

      For our first cruise, it was pretty good. I thought the accommodations were fine. The food was of sufficient quantity and quality to keep me happy.

      The only negative I have is that when the ship is running (which is all the time), if you lean or try to rest on any structure, there is a faint (and sometimes, not-so-faint) vibration.

      Makes trying to use a tripod for long exposures a useless and frustrating experience. Same thing if one is trying to brace on something to get a steady shot.

      Like

  3. AnnMarie says:

    In my opinion, those store facades and buildings in Skagway would look much better without all that advertising on them. But that would defeat their purpose, I’m sure. I liked the scenic shots and the virtual tour of your stateroom and public places on the ship. And I particularly like the shot of that glorious etched glass in that beautiful atrium. Would seem to me to be an ideal place to sit in quiet contemplation of the beautiful surroundings, but, I imagine, in reality might not be so quiet . . . perhaps maybe late night or early morning . . . um, better yet, when everyone’s at their feeding stations.

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    • disperser says:

      That atrium and sitting area is where the coffee (and snacks) bar is, as well as the entrance to two restaurants, as well as being near all the shops and where bands and entertainment came to play (among other places).

      No matter the time, it is anything but quiet. But, there are many other places as nice, if not nicer, where one can sit and gather up stray thoughts, bundle them all up into one awesome thought . . . that you then have to leave there, because it is too heavy to lug around.

      Like

  4. seekraz says:

    Beautiful and interesting, Emilio…thank you again for sharing your adventure. What an opportunity. Wonderful Emilio-esque narrative, too, never fails to entertain. :)

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  5. gpcox says:

    This is amazing. At every photo I wished I was there!!

    Like

    • disperser says:

      Thanks. I must admit, shopping is not my first choice when visiting places. In this case, I was able to occupy myself with photography while others performed the duties of a tourist.

      Like

  6. mvschulze says:

    As usual, wonderful images and text. M

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