Cruising,  Life as a Lawrence,  The Kids,  Traveler,  US Travel

The Skagway Scene: Alaskan Cruise 2019

Read about the rest of our Alaskan Adventure: Seattle and Embarkation, Day at Sea and Tracy Arm Fjord

On Friday, we finally got to put our feet on solid, non-moving ground. I love cruises so much, but I’ve never been on one where there were two and a half days without getting off the boat. I didn’t realize until we hit the ground in Skagway that my body needed to be off the boat. Good thing, because Skagway was our excursion day!

We were already awake as we floated into port, so we watched from our balcony. Again, with breakfast and coffee.

Pulling into port.
The fishing boats were like something out of a movie. Photo: Henry Anthoine
Welcome. Photo: Brianna Lawrence

Our excursion wasn’t to leave until later in the morning, so we gathered our things and got off the boat to go into town.

Skagway is a town of around 1000 residents that welcomes over 1 million visitors per year, primarily through the cruise industry’s summer influx. Skagway was a key town during the Klondike Gold Rush in the 1800s with the population topping 30,000 people at one point. The history of the area during that time paints it as a lawless town where con men and swindlers ruled the streets. Now, it’s a quaint little place reminiscent of a Wild West movie set.

We headed back to the docking area to meet our excursion. As we walked towards the Legend. I was struck by the polarity of this next view.

In the foreground, you have a luxury ship, full of people and opulence and food and so much extra! special! things. In the background, you have pure nature. Untouched land, formed from millions of years of glacial melt and erosion and rain and sun and snow. Animals roam free betwixt those trees, clinging to their habitats as we threaten to invade their space, living off the land. A few brave souls may be homesteading in the wilderness there, but probably not many, if any.

The enormity of both the boat AND the land around us was awe-inspiring.

There were so many choices for excursions, both through Carnival and by booking them privately. We opted to book through Carnival, simply to guarantee that we got what we wanted, knew when we would leave and arrive back, and because it was easy.

There were so many options. Helicopter and dog sled tours, 4-wheeling, riding a train on a cliff (nope). We opted for the Glacier Point Wilderness Safari. We were drawn to the fact that it included several different things in one excursion.

We boarded a small boat that held about 20 people. We took an hour-long cruise through Lynn Canal, North America’s longest and deepest fjord. It was an absolutely gorgeous ride. We saw eagles and sea lions, homesteads out in the middle of nowhere, passed a few small towns, and got up close and personal with a waterfall.

Waterfall and one of our boats, for scale. Photo: Henry Anthoine

We landed at Glacier Point Beach, a remote area where the next part of our adventure would begin. The beach was gorgeous. Evergreens that seemed to touch the sky, wild roses as far as you could see, air as clear as could be.

We had a sack lunch of turkey sandwiches and chips, and then used the literal outhouse before boarding the Blue Bird bus to head through the woods to our next part of the trip.

Side note: Being from Fort Valley, Georgia, where Blue Bird buses are made, seeing them is never unusual. But finding yourself in a remote part of Alaska, basically in an area off the grid, 3769 miles from Fort Valley and boarding a bus made by friends and relatives is pretty cool. It was an older bus, so there’s a chance Henry’s grandfather even laid his hands on it. Who knows!

The bus took us through dense woods to an outpost where we were outfitted for a canoe trip. Vests, boots, oars. Jacket off for me because it was surprisingly warm and anybody who knows me, knows I’m toasty all the time.

After a quarter-mile hike, we arrived at another beach where 30 foot canoes were waiting for us to take us across this lake to Davidson Glacier. Don’t worry, the canoes had motors. We “paddled” for about 5 minutes total. Related: People really aren’t coordinated at paddling.

We canoed back to the beach, hiked back through the woods, gave up our gear, loaded the Blue Bird, and headed back to our boat. The adventure was over… Or was it?

No. No, it most definitely was not.

The boat ride back to Skagway was amazing. Here was our first real up-close with some wildlife (not from the ship).

The driver of the boat took us over to an area where sea lions live. A group of sea lions is called a Rookery. Did you know that? Y’all, these things are giant and the noise they make is loud and scary!

Then we popped by this eagle’s perch. Apparently it’s been there for a long time and just keeps a watch on things. And maybe chats it up with his non-Eagle-bird buddy.

Once we were back in Skagway, we decided to pop into town for a beer. The Skagway Brewing Company was a blast. The kids grabbed a Dough Boy thing at Klondike Doughboy (a place Brianna found that was supposed to be great) and ate it too fast for us to get a photo!

Back on board, we were so tired, I honestly don’t remember what we did!

Leaving Skagway.

But Skagway was incredible to us and sometime during the day was when we first said, “We’re moving to Alaska in 5 years.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *