The Wandering Tops

The Wandering Tops

22 May, 2015

White Pass & Yukon Route

Bus picked us up at 8.30am and drove to Carcross for quick coffee stop, then onto Fisher where we boarded a train to travel White Pass Yukon Route.  Words cannot describe the fantastic scenery as we travelled through mountains down to Skagway.  The track took us through tunnels and over bridges with both sides of the carriage offering spectacular views.  The White Pass Yukon Route was born in the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898.  In 1896 George Carmack & two First Nations companions Skookum Jim & Dawson Charlie discovered a few flakes of gold in Bonanza Creek in the Klondike and it triggered a stampede for riches.  Some prospectors chose the shorter but steeper Chilkoot Trail - each person having to carry a ton of supplies. Others chose the longer, less steep White Pass Trail believing pack animals could be used and would be easier.  Both trails led to the interior lake country where stampeders could begin a 550 mile journey through the lake systems to the Yukon River and goldfields.  Both the trails were filled with hazards - 3,000 horses dies on the White Pass Trail because of the tortures of the trail and inexperience of the stampeders.

Two men came together in the 19th century to build a railroad through the White Pass  - Sir Thomas Tancrede represented investors in London and Michael J Heney an experienced railroad contractor. On 28th May 1898 construction began on the narrow gauge railroad - building the 110 miles of track was a challenge in every way - cliff hanging turns of 16 degrees, two tunnels & numerous bridges. While construction crews battled their way north another crew came from the south and together they met in Carcross on 29th July 1900. 35,000 men worked on the construction, some for a day others for longer overcoming harsh and challenging climate and geography to create the railroad.

Emerald Lake

Carcross - half way between Whitehorse & Skagway

Artwork on the buildings quite striking

Hels hoped this wasn't our train!

Colourful town buildings

The following photos were taken from the train trip

Our group had a carriage to ourselves

Before arriving in Skagway we had to produce our passports for the US Border Security as we were going from Canada into Alaska.  Had a quick walk around Skagway as we knew we would be spending time here with the Cruise Ship.  Had a wonderful leisurely lunch with fellow travellers at an Italian/Mexican Restaurant and was going to call into the Red Onion Brothel for a drink but it was packed with people.  Decided to visit it on our return journey.


Main Street, Skagway

Main Street, Skagway

Snow clearing attachment for the train

A bus brought us back to Whitehorse arriving around 6pm.  Had a great day as weather was warm, skies were blue, lovely company and scenery spectacular.

Travelling back on bus - looking back at White Pass Yukon Route

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