Alaska Cruise
July 2014

to Juneau   to Glacier Bay


Thursday, July 17
Weather: Cloudy, Hi 60

7:00 AMArrive in Skagway
8:30 AM-12:00 PMWhite Pass Rail & Klondike Hwy (3.5 hr) Kim/Sarah
8:45 AM-4:30 PMDenver Valley Hike & White Pass Rail (7.75 hr) Me
12PM-1PMLunch at Jewell Gardens Kim/Sarah
1PM-4:30PMJewell Gardens Kim/Sarah
4:30 PMexplore Skagway
(finally got usable wifi at Skagway's library!)
9:00 PMDepart Skagway
(8:30 dinner in main dining room)

Fitbit stats:
To bed: 10:43 pm, Got up: 6:40 am (7:46 asleep)
Steps: 22,091 (10.36 miles)
Floors: 106

Kim & Sarah wanted to visit the Jewell Gardens, so they went on the shorter White Pass Rail excursion while I went on the excursion that included a hike through the rainforest to the Denver Glacier.

Skagway port

Klondike Hwy
The White Pass & Yukon Route train depot in Canada.

We were in the last car so we could get off at Denver Valley. We were given snacks to eat on the hike (candy bar, nuts, and veggies) and made sandwiches for lunch as we rode along the route toward Skagway.

'caboose' view

footpath / horse trail

old bridge

no longer used

Denver Valley

Skagway port

Denver stop

Denver Valley hike up toward Denver Glacier, through temperate rainforest. This is the same type of environment as that of New Zealand, and it felt at times like walking through Middle Earth and/or the forest moon of Endor. I could easily imagine hobbits or elves (or ewoks) amongst the trees.

old tree

base of tree
The old tree is approximately 250 years old. The area it is in was clear-cut until about 250 years ago, so it can't be older than that. Further along the trail, past the edges of the logged region, are older trees.
Glacier-fed river in the valley. I'm modeling my bug-hat in this last photo, although the skeeters weren't bad until the very end of the trail.

nursery tree

iridescent lichen

lunch spot
We stopped to eat lunch at about the 2.5 mile mark. The final half mile of the 3-mile trail is rougher and steeper than the rest and just a few of us were hand picked by one of the guides to continue on after lunch.
End of the trail. Denver Glacier is just out of sight around the bend.

fallen log
I wish I'd gotten a 'before' photo of the lichen on the rock. It was pale and flat and brittle-looking until our guide poured some water on it. Then it almost immediately fluffed out and became a brighter green.
Back at the train stop, as the train arrives to take us back to Skagway.

By the time we got back to town, a cold front had blown through. It didn't rain but the temperature dropped and the wind picked up. I stopped off at the ship to drop off the stuff I took on the hike, then walked into town to the public library where I was *finally* able to connect my phone to wifi. I spent an hour or two dumping as many photos as I could into a facebook album, then met up with the cousins and returned to the ship for dinner.


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