Skagway and Haines

Our next stop was Skagway. It was a beautiful trip.

The search is still on.  In this case, I would say bigger is not necessarily better.  That thing was huge.

This is Emerald Lake.  It lives up to its name.

And on down the road.

And then we were driving IN the clouds.

And then a peek of sunlight!

When it comes to campground reservations, we don’t make them.  Even in Denali which is one of the most crowded places, we only called the day before to get camping reservations.  We don’t want to lose the flexibility in our travel plans because we have to be somewhere because of advance reservations we’ve made.  So far, no problem.  Until we hit Skagway.  We probably would have called a few days before but we had no cell service.  So we got there and the two rv parks were full.  We pulled in anyway and talked to the young gal in the office who manages both parks.  She bent over backwards to accommodate us!  For the four nights we were here we had to move to three different spots but we were just so grateful that she worked with us.  The first night, she gave us these spots with this view of the small boat harbor and the cruise ships.

It was so evident that she really cared about her job and the tourists who came to visit Skagway.  And all this management of reservations and sites is done on paper spreadsheets.  She was the best.  We gave her a bottle of wine and a hug.

The town of Skagway is a cruise stop and the town is very touristy.  Translation.  Lots of souvenir and jewelry stores.  But come late afternoon/early evening when the ships left, the town was quiet and more quaint.

This building is completely covered with driftwood.

The Red Onion Saloon

And I just had to include this picture taken in the rv park.  Unlike the people who travel with very modest rv accomodations like in the picture in my last post, these people, in my opinion, are a little over the top.  That even carry their Smart Car with them along with a giant fifth wheel rv.  I can’t imagine how much they spend on gas and how difficult it would be to get into campgrounds.

And then we took a 45 minute ferry ride for the afternoon from Skagway to Haines.

Two cool guys.

68 degrees is warm enough for a beach day for Alaskans.

And on our way back to Skagway.

Heading back up the road tomorrow where we encountered the clouds.  Tomorrow is suppose to be a sunny day.  Should be a beautiful drive!

Dawson City, Yukon

Our next stop after Top of the World was Dawson City.  The only way to get across the Yukon River at Dawson is by a free ferry.  One small ferry running with lots of rv’s needing to get across means a long wait.  We’ve been on quite a few ferries with our trailer so no big deal.  But it sure makes me wonder why they’ve never built a bridge.

A junk truck.

This is Steve and Kathy.  We meet them about a month ago in the campground where John and another camper played music at the communal campfire.  They were telling us about their gold claim in Dawson City and told us if we came through there, they would take us on a tour of their claim.  So we contacted them and they spent a good part of a day showing us back country claims including their own.  They were quite entertaining.

This is one of their pieces of equipment.  I forget what it’s called but he uses it to dig up the dirt to get to the area where the gold is.

This is their dredge.

I didn’t get a picture but they also have a large dozer.  Kathy does most of the dozer work moving around the tailings (the rocks that are left after mining).  She is quite a woman who loves the mining as much as her husband.  Of course, the big nuggets made into rings didn’t hurt.  They were awesome hosts and it was fun to hear the story of how they got into gold mining.

And then there’s the town of Dawson.  The best way to describe it is it might have been the model for old school Knotts Berry Farm.  The streets are just dirt.  There are crooked buildings due to the permafrost.  There is a saloon where a piano player played awesome ragtime.  It’s like stepping back in time.

A crooked building.

A crooked old church.

Doesn’t every town have a pink hotel?


The view of the town and the Yukon River from Dome Mountain.

Here’s a few interesting rigs in the campground.  The vehicle on the right was shipped over from Switzerland by the owners.  We were surprised by the number of Europeans who ship their vehicles over and travel around.  And they are very different from our rvs.  The two on the left were tiny trailers that opened up into tents.  They were pulled by three-wheeled motorcycles.  You see all sorts of interesting people in places like this.

And, finally, just a typical scene from the road.

Chicken, The Town

When traveling to Alaska, once you reach Whitehorse in the Yukon, there are only two roads to reach Alaska!  One is the Alaska Highway, which we traveled on our way to Alaska and the other is via the Top of the World Highway.  We took that going south.   It’s gravel, narrow and steep in some places but not near as bad as some people said it was.  There are steep drop offs with no guard rails but we were fine.

Part way up we stayed in Chicken.  It was a fabulous few days.  Chicken consists of three business.  That’s it.  We stayed in Chicken Gold Camp. It consists of an rv park, a cafe, a gift shop and an old gold dredge.

Across from our trailer site was the stage for the Chickenstock music festival   which happens in June.  Sorry we missed it.

Several nights a week, they make wood-fired pizza in the campground.  It was delicious.

That’s our trailers right over John’s shoulder just to show you how close we were to all the action.

An old gold dredge right on the property which we were able to tour.

The second business in town is called Downtown Chicken.  It consists of a cafe, a saloon and a gift store.

The walls and ceiling of the saloon were lined with baseball hats and underwear people had left there.  We left neither.

The man bench.

The Downtown Chicken has chickens.

And an Alaskan style outhouse with no door so you can enjoy the view while doing your business.

The third business is the Town of Chicken.  Not to be confused with Downtown Chicken.  It consists of an rv park, cafe, and gift shop.

This is the post office.  During the summer the population of Chicken is about 23.  During the winter it is 2.  The postmaster and his wife.  The town has no electricity so everyone is dependent on generators.

We even got to pan for gold in the campground.

And best of all, at the office where we checked in to camp, there was a sign that a guy who lives in the campground next to the stage, likes to get to get her with fellow pickers and play some music.  He and John played two evenings.  He loved being able to do that.

And then the road after Chicken.

Rough road.

And then to Top of the World.  Actually, it’s only 4,515 ft high.  But it was a beautiful view.

Fishing Fun

We camped at Salmon Grove Campground in Copper Center and went on an all day fishing trip. We had to leave from the campground at 2:45 am and drove a couple of hours in a van on a seriously bumpy road to get to the put in site.  This was to be no calm float down a placid river.  No. This one involved some Class 3 rapids. I didn’t get any pics of the gnarliest rapids because I was hanging on so I wouldn’t fall off the boat.  But we caught some King Salmon.  It was a fabulous day.

And then I got one!  The guide said my fish weighted about 30lbs.  It wasn’t a long fight but it was so hard!  Two old guys who were fishing in the same area as us held on to me.  Keep in mind I was standing in the river on rocky ground.  Otherwise, I surely would have fallen down and lost the fish.

John caught one too.

And some reflections about the day.  I was truly scared when the guide gave us some safety instructions.  Like what to do if we fell in to the 40 degree water and what to do if he fell in.  Yikes!  The boat was like a Zodiac and John and I were sitting in the back on the top of the tubes with just some ropes to hold on to.  I held on for dear life until we got to our first fishing spot along the bank of the river. And then when we got back into the boat, I felt totally at ease.  I now trusted the guide that, as he rowed the boat through the rapids, he knew exactly what he was doing.  We followed his lead and even though there were some rough waters and rocks he had to row around, we were totally safe.

it reminded me about our walk with God.  When we first decide to follow God and let Him be in charge of our life it can be a bit scary. We look ahead at life and wonder if we can trust Him to lead us.  We see a path that seems right to us but it’s not the path He seems to be choosing for us.  I thought this many times as our river guide rowed furiously in a direction that I did not understand.  At this point, we have to decide if we are going to toss Him out of the boat and go the way we think is best or trust Him that he knows what’s best for us.  Do we realize that he sees the rocks under the river that we cannot see and can lead us to calm waters? Do we understand that he sees the danger way ahead of what we can see?

So the second time we got back into the boat, I felt much less nervous.  My grip on the ropes loosened.  I trusted that the river guide knew what he was doing.  And after getting in the boat after the third stop, I experienced the pure joy of going through those rapids.  I knew that the river guide was totally in control of the boat and his only concern was to get us back to the campground safely.  And isn’t that just like our walk with God.  If only we trust that He knows best we can experience complete joy in life’s journey, even when we hit Class 3 rapids.

After Valdez

Why can’t we catch fish here?

Gangsta boys cooking salmon.

On the way to Chitina.

Worthington Glacier.

I held my iPhone camera lens up to the viewing telescope.

Alaska yard art.

Our plan was to drive to McCarthy for the day with just our vehicles.  But we couldn’t find a suitable campground to stay at and leave the trailers the next day so we stopped at this pullout along the highway.  It’s the first time we’ve actually boondocked in Alaska.

It came complete with a firepit and there were fish in that lake.  And best of all, free.

The next morning we were a little uncomfortable about leaving our trailers by the side of the road for the whole day.  We have hitch locks but we came up with this brilliant idea of backing one trailer up to the other figuring that Only the front trailer could be stolen.  Of course, then we realized that if someone could steal the front trailer,  they then could come back and steal the back one.  🙄


Don’t know if you can see it but this eagle has a rabbit in his claws.


This is Kennecott.  It’s a town of sorts that was built around a copper mine.  When the copper ran out the town died.  Most of it is owned by the National Park Service.  The Root Glacier can be seen on the left. Because it’s a 60-mile drive on mostly gravel, there’s not too many people here.  But it was well worth the drive!

The gravel hills are actually part of the glacier.  The ice is underneath the gravel which is produced when the glacier moves against rock.

The town of McCarthy.  Because of the 60 mile drive there are few tourists here.  There are some residents but not many.  It seemed so much like authentic Alaska!

This used to be the hardware store.

More Alaska yard art.

Alaska bike jump in the foreground.

This trip was out of our way (one way in, one way out) on a long bumpy road, but so worth it.  Now on to Copper Center for a float trip to catch some salmon.  Should be fun!