This is our last “activity” day before two more days viewing glaciers at sea. We docked in Skagway quite early and headed straight for the tourist centre. It is a funny little town. It is kind of fake-y with little facades on the houses on main street and boardwalks. It reminds me of Heritage Park in Calgary, actually. I guess it is a historic Gold Rush town.
I had learned that there was a great day hike that started right from town. Skagway is also the beginning of the Chilkoot trail, which I would like to do one day, but clearly we did not have time on a one-day stop whilst on a cruise to tackle such an adventure. We did manage to hike the lower and upper Dewey lakes, however, and it was very worthwhile.
The lower lake did not take much time to reach and we learned a lot. Shawn likes to read signs. All of the signs. So it was good because we learned about the power plant that was built in 1902. A small dam was built and the water provided run-of-the-river power to the town of 3000 inhabitants as well as pressurized water for firefighting. Considering how steep the climb was, I am glad that they were able to harness the power there. In fact, the powerplant has since been upgraded and still runs. This year it was inducted to the Hydro Hall of Fame in Oregon as one of the plants in the USA that has been continually operational for more than 100 years.
Anyway, the first part of the hike was a reasonable work out, but the second half was intense. We climbed for three hours and only covered about 5 kilometers! We gained 3,100 feet over just under 5 kilometers. It was impressive. The views at the top were fantastic. We were really surrounded by only the peaks of the mountains and there was a small lake were standing. Right before we reached the lake at the end of the hike we looked back and had an amazing panorama of the ocean and the mountains. It was incredible.
At the top there are a few cabins. Apparently they can either be reserved or first-come, first served. It would be an amazing place to spend the night. Even during the day when we were there, it was so incredibly peaceful.The way down went a bit faster than the hike up, but we definitely had to watch the footing! I was not prepared to break anything hiking in Alaska!
I got it in my head that I should buy my bridesmaids gifts here, so we spent the afternoon looking in jewellery stores to try and find matching mystic topazes. It was fun.
It was our last day on land for a couple of days, so even though town was kind of tacky, we had fun walking around.
I am looking forward to seeing the different glaciers over the next couple of days!