Our first stop on our Alaskan cruise was Skagway, Alaska. Getting off the ship and walking into town was like walking through a time machine into the 1800’s at the peak of the gold rush; This was probably because it’s peak and creation was during the Klondike Gold Rush. It was a charming small town, and “small” is no way an understatement. According to the locals and tour guides, at its peak summer numbers, Skagway’s population sat at about 3000 while in the winter the population was a meager 500. Furthermore, the bulk of the town was a main street that ran only about 5 blocks until it was interrupted by a few houses and than a cemetery.
The first thing we were greeted with when we walked off the cruise ship was a huge rock wall with all kinds of different art and signages painted on it with train tracks that ran along side it taking tourists along the White Pass and Yukon Route from Skagway to White Horse.
Before entering the town’s main downtown area, we walked through the Small Boat Harbor which was like any other port town harbor but with the addition of crystal blue water – A color of water you usually only see in pictures from travel magazines and TV shows.
Finally in the town, we walked the 5 blocks of shops and small historical sites all with snowcapped mountains looming in the background.
Even people way up in Alaska are thinking about the coming election…
We walked around the town a bit more realizing we had exhausted its downtown area of what to do and seeing that we had to be at specific meet up spot for our kayaking excursion, we stopped off at Skagway Brewing Company for drinks. It was an awesome little bar/ restaurant that really felt like a true local watering hole, but unfortunately the beer itself wasn’t the greatest. Even with the beer being a bit bland, the great service from our sarcastic Alaskan waiter made up for it.
The most memorable part of Skagway was not the town itself but the young local kids I ran into at a small pond on our way back to the harbor. Sitting on top of the pond’s surface was a circular structure made of plastic pipe with a handrail, where the local children were holding onto, staring at the water below them (you can see the structure and the kids to the left in the below picture) . Curious as to what the structure was and its purpose, I went over and jumped on the structure holding on tightly to the handrail as to not fall in to the water. Within seconds of jumping on, a little girl asked,”Who are you?”
The other children chuckled as they awaited my response in which I repeated her question, asking her who she was. Her face was priceless. The question seemed to be the most foreign thing she had ever heard as she stared back in what must have been confusion. To aid in their friend’s existential crisis, one of the other local children screamed out “We’re Locals!”
We went back and forth talking about where we came from and how we liked it. According to them, they loved Skagway and it was “the best place in the world”. Being from LA, they immediately asked if I was famous and to their dismay, I answered with the truth. But they continued on, asking what I would be famous for if I was to become famous – I answered “a writer”. Due to the shape of my glasses and my want to be a writer, they attributed me to being Harry Potter, which I laughed at.
The oldest of the children, an 11-12 year old girl, asked me if I was going to jump in. I told her I didn’t plan on it and she quickly replied that her and the other children were going to jump in themselves. Fearing that they would think it funny for their newfound wanna-be famous LA writer friend to fall in the pond, I quickly said goodbye and made it back to dry land.
As I walked away to yells of “goodbye Harry Potter”, one of the little boys screamed “Don’t forget about us. Write about us!”
“I will”, I yelled back and walked away with a smile, making a vow to myself that I would not forget the group of young Skagway locals whose interaction made my day. Maybe they will even find this blog post one day while googling the town they love so much and see that I kept my word – I can only hope.