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Old 11-10-2013, 05:14 PM   #11
Ellester
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Columbus, GA
Posts: 1,502

Thursday, September 5h

Our first port day dawned nice and overcast. But, clearing looked promising and we were all looking forward to our first footfall in Alaska!

Pulling into Skagway. Princess and Holland America beat us in!



The dock from our balcony.




We had put the card out to have breakfast delivered to the room and we had an assortment of bagels, muffins, cereal, and fruit. I didnít specify two coffee cups so I had to call for an additional one. Breakfast worked out really well, the kids ate and watched TV while we got ready. We had to be in Wavebands at 7:30am for our Whitepass Rail and City Tour excursion. There were several excursions leaving at the same time and it was a bit confusing. We eventually figured out we needed to be in the huge group exiting the ship so got up and joined the crowd. My mom had a really hard time on the gangplank. It was lowtide and the gangplank was very steep. The rest of the excursion group plowed ahead and I was worried we would get left behind. Everyone else was already at the buses and we were only Ĺ way down the gangplank. People kept pushing past my mom which made her nervous of a fall, so she would stop and let everyone by. We eventually had to make a wall behind her so she could get to the dock! I ran ahead to let them know we were making our way as fast as we could. As a result, we had to split into two separate trolleys for the city part of the tour. My mom was NOT happy about that but they assured us that part of the tour was pretty short. My mom, Natalie and I were on one trolley and John and the big kids were on the other. The trolley driver was great, she gave us a thorough tour of what is not a very big town. The trolley part of the tour took about 20-25 minutes and I felt like it had covered Skagway in considerable detail.

On the trolley.




We then stopped at ďthe cleanest bathrooms in townĒ for a quick break and boarded a little bus for our ride up the mountain. The bus was very comfortable and our driver was very knowledgeable. We stopped several times for scenic overlooks and once backtracked to try to find a bear that John had glimpsed. He was gone by the time we turned around and got back to the spot. The clouds were still low, but the scenery was still breathtaking.

These are all from the bus portion of the tour.



Andrew and Mom stayed near the bus for this one.







It was really "otherworldly" up here with the low clouds and the rocky landscape. The lake is half blue and half green due to a current. It's hard to see in the picture, but it was exceedingly cool.




The drive up to the top of the mountain took about an hour. We got to the train station at the top just after the train arrived. Since we had crossed back into Canada, a Canadian Customs agent had to clear the bus. The agent came aboard and we all held our passports up to our faces. Apparently we were all close enough to our pictures and we were able to get off the bus and make a pit stop at the bathrooms and stamp our passports. I was glad we were able to get to the bathrooms before the train was unloaded because that line got long in a hurry!

Across from the train station.




We boarded the train and there were only a few people on our car. We had plenty of room to stretch out and move around. There were cases of water in the back of the car which we all happily partook of.

Yay for Costco water!!!




There was a small heat stove in the front of the car, but it wasnít on which was fine. It was very comfortable in the car. The route down was simply gorgeous! There was some narration in the car which explained what we were passing and giving a heads up for anything interesting coming up ahead. Anabelle spent most of the trip out on the back platform where you canít hear the narration. Natalie and I spent some time out there as well. When I heard that something interesting was coming up from the narrator, I would go tell Anabelle so she would be ready with her camera. She got some fabulous shots!







Not very reassuring train wreckage.






A Whitepass rep came through the cars offering DVDís and hats for sale. They were all reduced since they were dated 2103. We got Andrew a hat for $5.


Andrew's stylish new hat. You can see how empty our car was.



The Photog




The trip down lasted about 1 Ĺ hours, we were back in town and off the train by noon. We headed back to the ship and had lunch at Tritonís. My mom and I had the Cobb Salad, which was very good and just the right amount and the apple strudel for dessert which was not so great. John and the girls had the seared tilapia with cheese grits and they all absolutely raved about it. Andrew had his standby of a bacon cheeseburger.

Cheesing it up with Ariel.



It looks like Anabelle's head on Ariel's body!





We went back to the room for a few minutes to freshen up and noticed something swimming in the harbor. Binoculars confirmed that there were seals feasting on salmon and playing around. On our way back into Skagway, we stopped to watch the seals for a while. There were at least 4 or 5 of them entertaining all of us with their antics. All the wildlife was definitely a highlight of the trip!

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