Today was the day we’d been waiting for. Skagway, Alaska and the bald eagles! As soon as we knew we would be travelling near the Chilkat Eagle preserve, we booked a tour so we could view some eagles in the wild. The day started out great, and just got better!
We were the only ones who had booked a tour today with Captain Dave (http://www.alaskafloattrips.com/), so Linda and I got a private tour of some really beautiful areas of Alaska. Unfortunatley, the water in the Chilkat was too low due to a lack of warm weather, so Dave took us to the Dyea (die-e-ah) area where we saw eagles, seals, ducks and all sorts of natural Alaskan wonder. One of the greatest moments was when we just turned the boats motors off, the sun broke through the clouds and we just floated silently on the river.
While Linda and I really enjoyed the trip, Captain Dave wanted to make up for the fact that we couldn’t go to the Chilkat as scheduled. So on the way back to the dock, he actually offered us his van for the afternoon to go explore Skagway. How cool! So… we hopped in and set a course for Skagway (which was literally around the corner and small enough to miss if you blinked).
What we didn’t miss were our friends Jan, Darrell, Lisa and Dave as they were walking down Broadway in downtown Skagway. We opened the doors to the van and they jumped in to join us for an unscripted adventure.
A free van and a “roll with it” attitude helped us visit the Gold Rush Cemetery (where some of the early gold rush pioneers were laid to rest – most of them under 40 years old), Reid Falls (a beautiful waterfall just beyond the cemetery, where Darrell found a cave and decided to explore), and the Klondike Gold Dredge (where the gold rush and Alaskan history came to life – complete with panning for gold, the greatest chocolate chip cookies ever, and a chance to meet and play with an Iditarod sled dog team – including 8 day old puppies!)
The day wasn’t over yet, so we took a scenic drive up a road Captain Dave told us about. We found a great scenic overlook that gave us a bird’s eye view of Skagway. We decided to see where else this road went, and quickly found ourselves on a dirt road in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness – it was GREAT! We saw another two bald eagles, and what we thought were black bears, but they turned out not to be bears, and we’ll just leave it at that.
We followed that road until it literally ended, then turned around and went back. As we crossed a bridge, we noticed a group floating down the river on a raft. Turned out to be our friends from the cruise, Dave, Georgia, Julie and Mark. What a coinsedence!
We got back to the ship in time for a late lunch and a nap. Zzzzzz…