Our ship, the Coral Princess, was, once again tied up at the railroad dock in Skagway, my favorite port of call on our itinerary. Favorite? Yes, because here I could spend a perfect day.
Skagway is just the right size for a stroll from the dock, along the sea walk and then onto Broadway. I meandered into town, taking time to peruse the creek for any late salmon coming up stream, and then headed to the Skaguay News Depot to see what new reading selections were adorning the shelves.
Inside the shop, playing softly in the background was the music of Steve Hites, a Skagway resident and Alaskan troubadour, providing the appropriate sound track to this very Alaskan shop. Even if I do not find another book to add to my ever bulging suitcase, every two weeks there is a new edition of The Skagway News to buy and devour complete with the “Heard on the Wind” column that never ceases to amuse.
Next, it’s on to the quilting and then yarn stores where I can spend a pleasant hour fondling the fabrics and yarns, all the time wondering when I will actually be able to afford the qiviut for sale.
If weather and inclination are in sync, a trip to the Gold Rush Cemetery is an essential part of the Skagway experience.
After such a gentle hike one can find restoring sustenance at either the Fudge Shoppe or the Kone Kompany ice cream emporium.
In the 15 summers I have spent in Alaska as an onboard naturalist, Skagway has never ceased to enchant me. There continues to be newly restored buildings, new shops and artists wares to behold that all fit seamlessly into this embodiment of Gold Rush history.
I look forward to returning next season to reacquaint myself with what is historical and what newly adorns and freshens the town, to maybe, once again, ride the WP&YR, marvel at the film in the National Park center and be rowdy at the “Days of 98.”
What a wonderful living time capsule is Skagway!
Ann Carroll Burgess • Onboard Naturalist, Coral Princess