On Monday, June 30 we arrived at our second port city, Skagway, Alaska. Here, Cheryl and I were booked on the White Pass Railway. Back in 1898 there was a gold rush in the Yukon Territory of Canada. In order to get there gold rushers (called stampeders) had 3 choices. They could take a very long and expensive voyage around most of Alaska and then upriver to the town of Dawson. Or they could hike through Skagway or Dyea and then build a boat and float downriver to Dawson. The trail from Dyea was shorter but very steep. It is famous for having a section where they carved steps into the ice. Skagway’s trail was longer and less steep but also very dangerous. Within a couple of years the built a railroad up the pass from Skagway. The rush was already pretty much over, but it served as an important connection from the coast to the Yukon. We rode that same railroad.
After the train ride, we got lunch and then headed to town for all the free things. There was also a couple of small museums in town to enjoy. Cheryl and I were finished early and we still had hours left yet in port. So, I decided it was about time to get another run in. I grabbed my phone and room key and headed off the ship and back into town.
My goal was to run for 40 – 50 minutes. I told Cheryl I would be back in an hour. Runs are always more interesting when you have a destination, so I decided to try to run to the cemetery. On the train ride we had passed a very old cemetery that is famous as being the burying place of James Reid and Soapy Smith. The, being a famous con artist and gang leader in the old town. The faced each other in a gun battle. Soapy was killed instantly and James died a couple of weeks later from his wounds. Soapy’s gang was rounded up and tried. So with a destination in mind I headed inland through town.
I saw some signs pointing the way, but took a side trip out onto a bridge over a big river..
Then I headed up a dirt road toward the cemetery. The distance was getting long and my allotted time was getting short when I finally entered it. I did not take the time to find any particular tomb markers. I snapped proof of my arrival and began the return trip.
The run out to the cemetery had been a steady incline so I was looking forward to a downhill return. As I began, though I found that the afternoon sea breeze was strong and had a much bigger effect than the elevation difference. As I got closer to the the shore the wind became worse and worse. As I finished on a very long dock it was like fighting a wind tunnel. Correction, it WAS fighting a wind tunnel. On my right were two 12 story ships parked end to end, mine being the farther one. On my left was a sheer rock face leading up hundreds of feet into the mountains, with only the width of the dock in between.
With the cold and the wind I must have looked out of place in my shorts and short sleeved running shirt. I got some quizzical looks from the crew manning the check points upon my return.