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July 22, 2016

Skagway, AK

It is a short beautiful drive from Whitehorse to Skagway.  This is one of those jaw-dropping scenic drives that need to be experienced as pictures do not do it justice.

Emerald Lake has a large turnout to use as a lunch stop with an awesome view.
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Just before Carcross is the Carcross Desert, which claims to be the worlds smallest desert.
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Carcross itself is a brief stop tourist town.  The main Visitor Center offers ample parking with space for any size rig and the numerous ‘cruise buses’ that are up from Skagway cruise terminals full of the ‘boat people’.
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A walking tour guide of the town is available at the Visitor Center.  This short walk provides some history and a visit to their sandy beach. 
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Carcross is also the end of the line or the White Pass and Yukon Railway train from Skagway.  We watched the train make a 3-point turn to reverse itself for the trip back to Skagway.
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As the road descends toward Skagway there are numerous small lakes in the rocky terrain, which is dotted with dwarf spruce trees. 
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Entrance into the US at Skagway Customs was uneventful, as we had no firewood or weapons.  When the agent asked what we were bringing from Canada he qualified with ‘Don’t tell me about your fruits or vegetables, or I’ll have to take them.’
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We stayed on the Skagway waterfront in the Pullen Creek RV Park.  We chose the tarmac of the waterfront rather than grass and trees closer to Pullen Creek.  During our 2 days 7 cruise ships came and went.  The tourist shops would swell and empty as the tide of boat people arrived and departed. 

Although WiFi is available it is metered and there is a fee.  The Verizon signal here is a strong 4G LTE, I simply used my hot spot although the library is reported to have good service.   It’s been a rainy morning, a good time to do laundry, but alas Pullen RV Park does not have laundry facilities.
The cruise buses and the White Pass train were just steps away from our campsite.  Great opportunity to people watch, and see their various destinations with limited time.

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And Pullen Creek walk is on the other side of the RV park.  A nice stop on the way too town with its displays, pathways, ‘portable’ swim area.
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Although Skagway has reinvented itself as a tourist destination, there remains much history to be seen and trails to explore.   It is similar to Old Town in San Diego, but on a larger scale.
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There are several nice walking/hiking trail heads right near town.   We chose the Yakutania Point Trail.  A delightful easy trail with the 3-Rs (Rocks, Roots and Ruts).  The trail passes through Smugglers Cove to a picnic shelter a short ways beyond.   This was such a nice getaway, I did it again while waiting for the Haines ferry.
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There is ample parking in the staging area at the ferry terminal, but loading is a bit awkward onto the LeConte as you have to back on to the ferry through a side loading door in order to be in position to exit.
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Our first experience on the Alaska Marine Highway System – GREAT!

Next the crossing to Haines and beyond …

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