We took the Alaska Marine Highway System Ferry from Haines to Skagway on Friday (7/28).  The weather was beautiful. We enjoyed the views during the one-hour ride up the Chilkoot Inlet.  The ferry is by far the easiest way to travel between these two cities.  The distance by sea is only 20 miles but you would need to travel more than 350 miles if you drove.   Unfortunately, as we exited the ferry at the dock in Skagway, one of the front leveling jacks on our RV caught a section of the boat ramp.  This sheared the front leveling system off of the frame.  A local mechanic eventually helped make our RV road worthy again by removing the front jacks.  Needless to say, we no longer have an automatic leveling system.  Oh well, we will adjust (no pun intended).  

A good look at some cruise ships as we pulled into the town of Skagway on the Alaska Marine Ferry.
This is NOT how a leveling jack should look! Pro tip: Drive slower than Steve did as you exit a ferry.

Our overnight spot on Friday was the Pullen Creek RV Park.  This older, city-owed RV Park is right next to Skagway’s harbor, train station and town.  The location is convenient, but not nearly as picturesque as our spot in Haines.  We set up camp after getting a temporary fix to the leveling jack mishap,  and took Lucy for a walk into town.  Skagway got it’s start in the late 1890’s as Yukon Gold prospectors arrived.  About 100,000 “stampeders” poured into this area, but only about 30,000 were successful in making the 500 mile trek to Dawson City, Yukon, where the gold was found.  Only a few hundred stampeders ever found gold.  The National Park System operates the informative Klondike Gold Rush museum in town to provide tourists an overview of how Skagway became a key location during that time.  

Skagway has pretty mountain views throughout the area.
There was a nice walking trail between the RV Park and the town.

Saturday was a relaxing day.  We originally had planned to take the White Pass & Yukon Railway train tour into the mountains, but we decided to cancel at the last minute.  We felt we’d been on enough excursions, and needed to remain flexible as we waited to have the RV repairs completed.  So, Lucy and I took several long walks to explore the restaurants, museums and sites in town.  Skagway’s deep water port and restored historical gold rush era buildings make this a perfect cruise ship destination.  There were 3-4 huge ships in port each day, resulting in thousands of tourists descending on this tiny town.  Lucy loved going on walks through the crowds of dog-starved cruise ship patrons, as she was often stopped by people that badly needed a dog-petting fix.  She was happy to oblige.  The streets emptied out by late afternoon as people returned to their ships.  We enjoyed halibut fish & chips dinners once the tourism chaos subsided.  

Historic buildings abound. The best time to visit Skagway is in the evening.
You would never guess that thousands of cruise ship tourists were walking this street just a few hours prior.

After completing the RV repairs on Sunday (7/30), we headed north out of town and up into the mountains on the Klondike Highway.  Like Haines, there is only one highway in and out of town.  And, like Haines, this is another spectacular drive.  I’m running out of ways to uniquely describe these scenic routes.  We’ve been fortunate to experience so many stunning highway vistas on this trip, and they all include alpine lakes, streams, glaciers and mountains.  But, each drive is somewhat different.  The Klondike Highway is rugged, and often above the tree line.  The lakes were more plentiful and the canyons steeper than any of the other drives.  The road follows a similar route to the old White Pass trail used during the gold rush (and the current day railroad tour).  I kept wondering how tens of thousands of hopeful prospectors were able to traverse this difficult landscape. 

The Klondike Highway passes by countless lakes, both large and small.
See the color difference between these two lakes? One is glacier fed (turquoise). The other is spring fed (clear).

We crossed the border into Canada with just a few minute wait and no issues.  We stopped several times to take in the scenery, so we didn’t get very far on Sunday evening.  Laurie spotted the sign for Conrad Campground, so we drove in to check it out.  Our favorite places to stay on this trip have been Canada’s provincial parks, and this ended up being one of the best.  We got lucky and found an open site right on the lake, so Lucy could go for a swim.  

Site #4 was on the lake and perfect for Starlink, yet still private enough that we could not see our neighbors.
Lucy thinks we should always get a campsite on the beach of a nice lake so she can play in the water.

Monday (7/31) we continued north on the Klondike Highway, with a quick stop at the unique Carcross Sand Dunes before heading to Whitehorse to resupply.  Unfortunately, we caught another stray rock, requiring emergency windshield repair for the third time this trip (good thing we had purchased more repair kits!).  The shopping took longer than expected, so we decided to stay just outside of Whitehorse at The Pioneer RV Park.  Here we experienced a new low for the amount of room we had, with unbelievably tight RV parking spaces.  But, Starlink worked well and it was raining anyway, so we didn’t care.  Tuesday (8/1) was a driving day, as we headed south on the Alaska Highway from Whitehorse to near Watson Lake.  The wildfire smoke gave a hazy background and we had already driven this section of highway going the other direction, so we didn’t stop for photos.  We ended the day at The Baby Nugget RV Park west of Watson Lake.  Tomorrow we start down the Stewart – Cassiar Highway toward our next destination: Hyder, AK.  

The Carcross Desert is a dune system (not a real desert) created 10,000 years ago as glaciers receded.
On Tuesday we got close enough to some British Columbia wildfires that it became hazy once again.

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