Alaskan Trip Journal

Date: Monday, July 14, 2003

Starting Location: Skagway, AK

Destination: Haines, AK

Trip Description: We awoke early to the sound of the trains being prepared for the day's excursions. We wanted to take a trip early in the morning, so we would be able to get on the afternoon ferry to Haines. I took a morning walk down to the rail depot to buy tickets. Laura went back to sleep. I reached the station to find out that the train was boarding in fifteen minutes. I bought the tickets, and hustled back to the campground. When I got there, Laura was almost ready. We drove down to the railroad station and just made ot on board.

The rail excursion was well worth the price. The train slowly climbs the steep mountains from Skagway to the summit at White Pass. The elevation gain is about 2800 feet in 20 miles. The trip was narrated by a knowledgeable guide. The scenery is truly stunning. Below is a sample of the many pictures we took on the trip.

After returning to the train station, we walked to the ferry terminal to buy passage to Haines. The ferry would board at 2:45 and set sail at 4:15. We had about an hour to spend in Skagway. Laura and I decided to have lunch at the Red Onion Saloon, a former brothel. The food was decent, but what was really worth the money was the atmosphere. A piano player, in period costume, played ragtime music. The waitresses were dressed in revealing corsets. As we ate, we watched the large numbers of cruise ship passengers moving up and down Broadway. Skagway was indeed a boom town today, similar to 1898. There are no gold seekers this time, only tourists looking for a T-shirt.

We drove to the ferry terminal and parked. There were many RV's waiting with us to get on the ferry. Haines is the first stop on the ferry that heads south to Belingham, WA. The crew loaded our RV in the front of the ship. As we turned off the engine, it backfired, sounding like a shotgun. Laura was totally embarassed, but had to laugh. Luckily, security was not tight. We would not have wanted the SWAT team called.

The ride from Skagway to Haines was short. We arived in Haines around 5:30. We drove into town and met Joanie Wagner, a friend of Cousin Frances. We sat down to a meal of crab legs that were provided by her friend. Joanie took us around town, then to the state park to look for bears eating salmon in the river. We saw no bears on this trip, but the lake and river were worth the trip. We returned to her house to settle in for the night. We plan to go to the radio station with Joanie tomorrow to be guest DJ's on the morning show.


The railroad passes through 2 small tunnels on its way to White Pass.

Red Onion Saloon- bar and brothel in 1898

arriving in Haines