Saturday, September 17, 2011

Skagway in the Afternoon

After getting Jack settled in the stateroom, I left the ship again and walked the couple of blocks to town--which is about 4 blocks wide and maybe 7 blocks long, but so cute! Bought some gifts for the various kidlets in my life and hunted up the quilt shop. Yep, there is a quilt shop in little Skagway and it's fabulous!  Allyson of Fat Cat Quilts works there, but, as I found out when I visited, only in the wintertime.  In the summer, she's the stationmaster of the White Pass and Yukon Route Railway station--which was to be our afternoon excursion. (If you want to see some glorious photos of Alaska, check out her site!)

I succumbed to temptation and bought myself some Northwest and Alaskan-themed fabric:

I loved the fabrics in this kit, but even more, the pattern, so I bought more fabrics to make an additional, different tablerunner. 

AND I bought more animal fabrics to make some quilts for my great-nephews. 

I don't have any particular pattern in mind yet, so I'm sure I'll have to browse their site for more material. Life is hard, isn't it?

This is the snowblower used on the tracks for the narrow gauge railway we would be riding. I understand it is still in use.

There was a wheelchair lift on one of the cars, meaning Jack didn't have to climb steep, scary steps to get onto the train. I was grateful. Watching him maneuver that gives me additional gray hairs.

Once the train got going, several of us got up to get better views from some of the picture windows. My  brother and his wife went outside to the connection between the cars to get photos, but that was just too cold for me.  It was hard to get good pictures, what with the back and forth movement of the train in addition to the forward movement, but some turned out pretty well. 

We were going to be climbing up this mountain range, following an old gold mining trail.

Maybe you can see the thin line where the train was headed:
Looking back over where we came:
Headed up the mountain
Seats lined both sides of the train, but on the right side going up, many times we were inches away from bedrock. I tried to get pictures, but the closeness just made for lots of blurring.

A voice from the speakers overhead pointed out places of interest, explained landmarks, and told once of a bear sighting, but we were so far back in the train, he was gone by the time we reached that point.

As we climbed to the top, amidst the clouds, we saw this old trestle

At the very top is a lake, where the train stopped. The tradition is, on the last tour of the season, brand new guides must jump into this lake, as all the passengers pile out of the train to cheer him or her on. Then the guide must continue the tour back down the mountain. As the last tour of the season is at the end of September, it must be a brutal rite of passage.

As our engines prepared to switch control from front to back, we flipped the seats, now facing them back down the mountain, and all passengers changed sides of the train so that everyone got a change
of view.

Looking back over the town, we could see the clouds had parted and there was sun shining down.

The guide said it had been raining and overcast for several weeks; the last "sun watch" was over 2 weeks ago.

The clouds were piling back in as we reached Skagway. I never did get to meet Allyson.

One last look as we started up the gangplank.

Sleep came easily to all of us that night as we sailed down the coast.

(Next: Glacier Bay)


AnnieO said...

What a great tour! Love your fabric purchases, those will be fun to play with. That snowblower is totally SERIOUS!!

Sorry you didn't get to meet Allyson. Thanks for Skagway :)

Libby said...

Gosh - Alaska is such a wonderful and beautiful place . . . . in the summer *s* I can see some fireweed in one of the photos. I remember from our visit a number of years ago that once the blooms are gone - fall is there to stay *s*

Lori said...

It looks like it was a wonderful train ride. I was wondering--did the air smell clean and crisp??

Pokey said...

Everything is so beautiful, isn't it? That is a great plan on switching sides and directions of the seats, when we travel and sight-see, it's interesting to realize each other's view and experience. So glad you both could enjoy this, too ~

Allyson said...

I love that you enjoyed Skagway! Rain or shine, Skagway is beautiful and it sounds like you had a great day here at Jewell Gardens and on the train. I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to meet you. It would be fun to meet someone from blogland. I love your glass balls you made. I made a pink and white one, and now I really wish I had made a red one for Christmas. I'll have to go back some day and play tourist and make another one. I'm glad you were able to visit our local quilt shop. It's a neat place, and always gets me reved up to work on some new projects.

julieQ said...

Now next about taking me along to take care of your luggage and any little thing you may need? Enjoy your trip!!

MightyMom said...

oh I'm so totally jealous.

audreypawdrey said...

It looks like you had so much fun, and I can't wait to see what you make with your new fabric!