Day 27. Sunday, 26th April. Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada to Skagway, Alaska, USA.

Camping at the High Country RV Park was a good opportunity for catching up. We usually avoid RV parks as they are expensive and full of monster vehicles. This one was actually inexpensive and quite nice. After a few days camping in the wild we could do the laundry, fill up with water and wash the “old girl”.  She was filthy after our abortive trip on a dirt road trying to get to the Salmon Glacier. Also a nice warm shower and hair wash went down very well.

After my musings of a couple of days ago, about how little one really needs in life, there is one “luxury” I am severely missing. My Nespresso machine. I bought a jar of instant coffee with the intention of making myself a flask full for mid morning consumption. After 2 days I abandoned this idea. Instant coffee is yuk and just does not cut it. I have been spoiled!

Today’s drive from Whitehorse to Skagway was truly spectacular. Glistening emerald lakes, azure rivers and magnificent snow covered peaks around every corner. The most scenic ride we have had so far.

Mid way through the morning we sighted our first MOOSE (at last). We came across it (I think it was a female, as she had no horns. Although I am no expert and I don’t know if males lose their horns at certain times of the year). She skittered down the road in front of us for a bit and then suddenly dived on to and up an almost vertical bank. Probably around 25 feet high, she was gone in seconds. We were amazed at her climbing skills. 

Yesterday in Whitehorse we saw a mangy looking fox running around the central town streets. It reminded me of my earlier life living in Shortlands, near Bromley, in suburban London. We had urban foxes there which raided our dustbins and made the most horrendous screaming noises during the mating season. A vixen even had a burrow in our garden and raised 4 cubs one year. The cubs played in my flower beds completely destroying them. Of course, this was after fox hunting was banned and foxes ventured into urban areas. I won’t, however, start on the politics of that decision. One political writer is enough 🙂

After a lunch stop we passed Canadian Customs. A non-event. There was no one there. After a very long and steep descent we came to the US border. We were asked to pull over and come inside the building. Here we were finger printed, photographed and after payment of a $6 per person entry fee, and a bit of light hearted banter, allowed into Alaska. The border officials were nice and friendly and joking with us. The Customs man said he just needed to check out our vehicle. He wanted to know if we had any fruit. We had some oranges, but they were Californian, so no problem. Our tomatoes, though, were Canadian, so they had to go. Surprisingly, no interest at all in the vehicle papers.

Skagway is an attractive little town. Lots of heritage stores selling gem stones and handicrafts. There are various attractions, many themed on the Klondike gold rush and the history surrounding this period. Mainly aimed at cruise passengers who invade the place, I suspect, every day. There was a cruise ship moored in the harbour and the town was full of its passengers.  An Australian couple from the ship stopped to chat. Everyone is gobsmacked that we are driving an English registered vehicle here and the journey we have undertaken from the UK.

Juneau, the capital of Alaska, is not accessible by road. However, we decided we should visit. I went to the ferry terminal to enquire re timings for a vehicle ferry. They were completely unsuitable and very expensive. That option was out. There is a day tour from Skagway which includes breakfast/dinner and a sight seeing tour of Juneau and worked out to be cheaper. I went to book tickets, only to find tomorrow is a public holiday, Memorial Day, so the tour is not operating. There must be a plan C for us to work on.

Tonight we are camped just outside Skagway at a beautiful (and free) campsite in Dyea. It’s a very green, leafy spot in the woods and we have a fire burning to discourage the mosquitoes (and grizzlies!). There are a few other campers, but no one in sight. Hopefully a peaceful night will follow.

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