The White Pass Yukon Train line
is an amazing feat of man against nature, geography and the elements. In 1898, the Klondike Gold Rush was a big motivator to get transportation to and from Whitehorse (the capital of the Yukon Territory) and the seaport of Skagway.
The train line is a 3 ft narrow gauge railway. Construction began in 1898 and was completed in 1900. It was used until 1982. In 1988 the railway was revived as a Heritage Railway to runs along part of the original route.
In 1897, before the railway, the most popular route taken by prospectors to the gold fields in Dawson City was a treacherous route from the port in Skagway, Alaska, across the mountains to the Canadian border at the summit of the Chilkoot Pass or the White Pass. At the border, the prospectors were not allowed to cross into Canada unless they had one ton of supplies. I just cannot imagine! This usually required several trips across the passes. There was a need for better transportation than the pack horses used over the White Pass or human portage over the Chilkoot Pass.
Today, the railway runs seasonally. It runs from Skagway to Fraser and back. There is a special train that runs occasionally to Carcross,YT. Most of the tracks in Whitehorse have been removed or retrofitted for the city trolly.
To ride the train, you need to catch it in Skagway or Fraser. At designated stops along the route, hikers are picked up or dropped off along the way. We signed up for the tour that started with a bus picking us up at 7:30 at our campground, Pioneer RV Park. With a few tourist stops along the way, we arrived at Fraser to catch the train at 10 am. The train ride is 28 miles and takes almost 2 hours. Then, you have a 2 hour layover in Skagway for lunch and shopping. The bus picked us up at 2 pm and drove us back to Whitehorse with a few tourist photo stops along the way. We got back to the campground around 5:30. A spectacular trip that I would do again in a heart beat. Since we have been experiencing mostly wet weather, we were very lucky to have sunshine to make this train ride really special.
Today is the first day of summer and the longest day of the summer solstice. In Whitehorse there was 19:09 hours of daylight. ￼￼￼￼The Arctic Circle is the latitude at which the sun does not set for one day at the summer solstice (June 21). About one third of the total landmass of Alaska lies north of the Arctic Circle making for some very long days. it is very weird to want to go to bed at 11 pm, but it looks like it may be only 6 pm. My brain just can't wrap itself around it still being light out.
JC can sleep through just about any kind of conditions. It really is remarkable. I am a light sleeper. I prefer cool, quiet and dark sleeping quarters. So we picked up some cheap windshield sunshades and I cut them as need to custom fit our two bedroom windows. Works like charm. To eliminate the light from the skylight in the bathroom, we simply closed our bedroom door we did most of the job. Our bedroom is very small. So, we rarely closed the door to let the air flow a little better. It has been cool enough not to be bother. I also bought a sleeping mask, but they are just not that comfortable.
Tomorrow we will visit the town of Whitehorse.