Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Wet Day in Skagway

To be ready for the bus which was taking us to our horseback ride at 7:30AM we had to get up at 5:30. And this is our leisurely, relaxing cruise? Heh. Denny and I went up to the Horizon Buffet since the room is situated at the bow of the ship and therefore has floor to ceiling windows on the three sides of the room. It's a lovely way to start the day, rain or shine. Today, it was raining. Of course.

Our ride was through a rainforest (aptly named that day) and since it had been raining for two days the path was muddy. Our horses hate wet feet, so they would stay to the side of the bridle path which meant we as riders were brushed up against wet trees and foliage so we got twice as wet as we should have. Our path took us to Dyea (pronounced Dye-ee), a town created in the path gold miners took on their way to Dawson City to mine for gold. The town is long gone, the buildings scavenged for materials so you have to use your imagination to envision it. I saw a distant bald eagle, a juvenile bald eagle and a snowshoe hare, but no bear or moose. I later spoke to a young man and his father in the laundromat of the cruise ship who had gone to Dyea to ride a dog sled and they had seen a brown bear fishing for salmon by the creek we had ridden over earlier in the day. So it was a matter of luck and timing.

After our ride (I wish someone had gotten video of the two of us dismounting and trying to walk away from our horses) we hobbled over to the free hot tea and salmon spread to warm up a bit. It was obvious that none of our group was used to being on horseback for almost two hours as we were all walking painfully around trying to loosen up our back and leg muscles. But it was an enjoyable ride despite the rain and the lack of animals or anything to see.

One of our wranglers told Denny and I that her favorite beer was Spruce Tip beer and that the Skagway Brewing Company in town might have some although the locals loved it so much it was usually in short supply. Sure enough, when we settled gingerly on our bar stools the waitress informed us they were out of Spruce Tip so we settled for some ice tea and I had a cup of the most wonderful green bean pureed soup. Very tasty on a dreary, wet day. The two of us wandered down Main Street peering into shops and stopping at one jewelry store to pick up our "free" charm. The cruise line shopping director had given a talk and part of your package had coupons for a charm bracelet and free charms at various jewelry stores in Skagway (there are 18 listed on the Skagway web page). One of the salesman eventually pulled out a Tanzanite pendant that wasn't as expensive as the other shops in town so after getting him to throw in a reversible Omega necklace I walked out with a new necklace. There wasn't anything else that we were interested in buying so we simply enjoyed the architecture of the town for a while but then Denny finally admitted he could use an aspirin since his legs and hips were hurting. So we headed back to the ship where we sat in the cushy lounge chairs of one of the bars until it was time for our next excursion. This time we were headed into Canada.

Our second excursion of the day was our Summit, Suspension Bridge and Salmon Bake trip. A 45 minute bus trip into Canada took us to the summit of White Pass, over a single support suspension bridge, along the mountains where the narrow gauge train ran, past waterfalls to our destination of the Yukon Suspension Bridge over the Tutshi (pronounced Too-shy) River.
The obligatory tourist shots. Our oldest granddaughter (age 14) asked "who are those men sitting with Grandpa?" Kids.

And since Bl*gger is not cooperating with me at the moment, I'll finish this tomorrow.

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