Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Skagway was the gateway to the gold fields and thousands died tried to get to them to make their fame and fortune. If you could see the surrounding countryside, you would understand why. The little town is nestled between towering mountains and surrounded by ice fields that stretch for miles. We did a little shopping then set off on a float trip into the wilderness to an eagle preserve. The official eagle count was 49. (Bald eagles: seven foot wingspans when mature.) We also saw bear tracks lining the banks.

It was a cold, beautiful excursion in a shallow river whose name I cannot pronounce, much less spell. We did travel for awhile on the Chilcat River where the salmon are spawning. There are five kinds of salmon: chum or dog salmon, sockeye, king, silver or chinook and pink. They swim hundreds of miles to get to the streams where they first hatched. Once they have spawned, they die. We saw both pink and sockeye salmon spawning like crazy--and we saw the dead ones that were spawned out. (So first they have an orgy, and then they check out. What a way to go!) We've heard several salmon sex stories. If it weren't for the fish and the gold, humans probably wouldn't have come and settled in Alaska. Did I mention that winters typically have 40 below zero temps and sometimes even 80 below?

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