It was a chilly morning in Haines, Alaska on Monday, August 25 when we pulled out of that expensive RV park—we found Haines to be incredibly expensive, more so than some of the other southeast Alaska towns we visited reachable only by ferry. Fuel purchased in Juneau cost us $3.62/gallon—Juneau can only be reached by ferry or by air. In Haines fuel was over $5/gallon! I paid more for a twelve pack of beer than I’ve ever paid for a CASE!! Four small sacks of groceries cost me $91 in Haines! The RV park charged $3/load in their laundromat and it was about $3 to dry if your clothes were really dry. The RV park was beautiful with green grass and immaculate bathrooms but it and Haines left us with a “I’ve been ripped off” sensation.
Forty miles after leaving Haines we crossed the Canadian border into British Columbia and shortly thereafter, we crossed into the Yukon Territories. The landscape changed from coastal wetness to a touch drier, mountainous one. None of the four of us had ever been in the Yukon so we were seeing new country all day.
Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada is a town where the majority of the territory population resides—24,000 people. So, not many people in all that open country! But it sure was beautiful.
We camped for the night just south of Whitehorse in a territorial park beside a little creek—quiet and dark, just how we like it. Larry and Geri’s friend Eugene arrived in Haines right before we pulled out bearing a gift—fresh halibut and salmon!! Monday night I cooked the halibut along with some potatoes and baked beans. Poor Geri is still feeling under the weather but today thought she might be turning the corner.
On to Skagway this morning—we traveled through some of the most beautiful country and some of the strangest landscape. In the higher elevations the landscape was strange—rocks and very stunted, odd little trees—it’s called Tormented Valley. The trees are small twisted alpine firs and are shaped by a combination of heavy snow burying their lower branches and icy winds sculpting their upper branches. This area receives 24 feet of snow in winter!!!! Lakes, waterfalls, and strong winds along with rain—not great for taking photos. Maybe when we start out of Skagway the weather will be more photo friendly.
Our Milepost book states, “the world’s smallest desert and an International Biophysical Programme site for ecological studies. The desert is composed of sandy lake-bottom material left behind by a large glacial lake.”
In Carcross, Geri decided she wanted to ride the White Pass/Yukon Railroad to Skagway—we waved goodbye and promised to find her in Skagway! We had a bite to eat in Carcross after Geri left and continued our journey.
Just outside Skagway we once again crossed back into the US. On arrival in Skagway, guess what we saw—cruise ships, four of them!! The Milepost states over one million tourist per year visit Skagway via these cruise ships. YIKES! We still managed to do some walking around—I found the quilt shop—imagine that!!
The RV parks in Skagway receive less than stellar reviews and are hideously expensive, $50/night for a dumpy looking place. We really wanted to stay in Skagway so we could walk and see the sights—so, we found a parking lot with no signs prohibiting overnight parking and are tucked into a back corner—we will see what happens!
UPDATE: Our parking lot stay was without incident—none of us slept well until later in the night—we were waiting for that knock on the door which never came.