|Disney Wonder docked in Skagway|
Last September we barely saw Skagway, as we'd booked an all-day excursion. This time we had no plans except to explore the town. At first glance, it looks like a movie set for an old western. Turns out many of those buildings are original to the gold rush era, even if they have played musical chairs with their locations.
|Ugly sketch/cool stamp!|
|Heritage Museum in Skagway|
|There's gold dust in that there pan!|
Up next, Juneau was our only port where we'd pre-planned our shore excursion. Joe really wanted to go gold panning, following his grandfather's (and father's) examples. I thought I'd tag along and take pictures. I had a blast! Our prospector guide picked us up at the cruise dock then gave us a short but fun tour of Juneau as we headed out of town towards Gold Creek.
The day was warm (for Alaska in early May), the scenery beautiful, and their's something rather heady about seeing gold flakes at the bottom of your pan. After showing us the basics, our guide passed out pre-filled pans. And sure enough we found gold - in the form of tiny flakes. But even better, he'd brought a shovel so we could scoop dirt from the creek bank itself and keep going. My first solo attempt was a bust, but three bright gold flakes winked at me from the bottom of my next pan. Woo hoo!
|Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau|
Having now visited Alaska in both shoulder seasons, I have to say that I think I prefer September. May is fairly early spring, so far north, so wherever I saw deciduous forests they were still quite bare and brown. In September, those same forest blazed gold with fall color. Also, the salmon are running in September, so ther's more wildlife - seals and bears, feasting on the salmon. But as Joe pointed out, Creek Street (Ketchikan) does smell better in 'May without the dead carcasses os spawned salmon.
|View of Ketchikan from the top deck|
|'Our' team at the Lumberjack Show|
|Treetop Adventure walk at Capilano|