46 years ago, our family first journeyed to Alaska! A 12 year old me, is in the middle in the off white coat… surrounded by my family and the Mitchell family, who journeyed north with us. It was an epic adventure for all of us. Changed the way we looked at life. We bought nine acres on Chena Ridge, near Fairbanks, back when there were only a few cabins within a five mile radius of ours. No running water, but we did have electricity! I learned a love for the wilderness, state of Alaska and the people who live here!
This black bear, just out of hibernation, grabbed this young evergreen, and began to scratch his back against it! I’ve only seen this happen, just after waking from their long winter’s nap! It must feel so good… This bear went from scratching against a guard railing, to a sign, then to this tree, looking for the best relief.
We are excited to see the snow melt begin in the mountains surrounding Skagway! It won’t be long now! By the time you come on your tour, going “Beyond Skagway”, you’ll see signs of spring thaw in the White’s Pass area, such as in the photo here. I promise, I won’t make you jump in the water tho!
Carcross, a small town that we will see while on your 5-8- hour custom tour “Beyond Skagway”, was named after these beautiful animals, the caribou!
You see, long before man arrived in such large numbers, during the 1898 Klondike Gold Rush, caribou used Nares River that flows next to Carcross, for their crossing point to get to their summer alpine feeding and birthing grounds.
Back then, Carcross was called Caribou Crossing. It was shortened to Carcross when mail became confused with mail from another town of the same name. Caribou are still crossing to get to their summer grounds, just in smaller numbers and away from the town… You can see them along the Klondike Hwy this time of year, and again in the Fall.
Nope, they have not arrived in Skagway yet! But, in only one month from now, the cruise ships will be departing from their docks, full of people, set on enjoying their vacation by seeing some of the most spectacular scenery in the world!
I am excited that you are considering a tour with us, “Beyond Skagway”! There are some beautiful places, as we drive further inland, along the Klondike Hwy! I hope for good weather and lots of wildlife sightings, but even if neither of those pan out, there are so many other positive things about your day, you’ll hardly notice that the two big ones didn’t happen for you!
This is one of my favorite photo opportunities, taken next to the Klondike Hwy, on our way to Emerald Lake. “My moma said there’d be days like this,” and I’m most certainly glad there are!!! We look forward to sharing many days like this with you, while on your tour with Beyond Skagway Tours!!!
This summer, we have several weddings and vow renewals to plan and that makes us very excited! This is the interior of the little historic church in Carcross, Yukon, that we can use for wedding vow renewals! The stained glass window and organ on the right, came over the Chilkoot Trail, on the back of the men who were heading to strike it rich in Dawson, Yukon. Some didn’t make it all the way, but instead, stopped and created communities on the path that led to the gold. This 115 yr old church tells us the story of such a happening. Consider joining us for a wedding vow renewal in this church, or somewhere outdoors, along our journey. Weddings are a legal affair, and must be performed in Alaska, but we have some very beautiful places we’ve chosen for outdoor weddings too! I will post them soon!
Tomorrow, March 2, 2013 marks the beginning of the Iditarod, also known as the last great race on earth!
Caribou Crossing is one of the most popular add ons for guests out on tour with us Beyond Skagway. It is operated by Ed Hopkins and Michelle Phillips for the past 12 years. Ed and Michelle are true professionals and have been running dogs for a combined 40 years. Michelle ran the 2012 Iditarod and placed 16th out of 66 teams!
Join Michelle for a ride on a comfortable cart and watch the sled dogs in action. See the excitement and hear the barking and howling while the dogs are hooked up to run. these veterans of the Iditarod and Yukon Quest are eager to show you the strength and stamina it takes to cover up to 150 miles of wilderness in one day.
You’ll have a chance to actually spend time with the dogs and the puppies as well – already in training to be the next generation of canine athletes!
I never realized just how much bears love dining on Dandelions, until I moved to Skagway! Luckily, for us who drive along the Klondike Hwy, there are plenty of these bright yellow flowers growing along the side of the road in May and June. These are the two best months for viewing bears, as we are almost certain to see 2-6 bears daily when the Dandelions are in full bloom.
Our best chance of seeing dining bears, is after we pass the Yukon sign and are following the shore of Tushi and Tagish Lakes. That would be a 5-7 hr tour, in case you wonder.
While the North Wind blows outside my window, I sit under my flannel blanket, cozily dreaming about warm summer days last summer, and how I look forward to future days like this one, where the light is magical and the temperatures are warm enough to wear a T-shirt!
We’ve expanded our fleet, to include two 2011 mini vans! They seat five adults or six, if you have a someone under 130#, who doesn’t mind sitting in the middle third row seat. We chose these vans, as they have seats that slide easily forward, to let you in and out of the third row of seats. They also give best options for leg room. The side windows roll down, for those wildlife photos, when it’s not safe to get out of the car. Ready to roll, in our now total of four vehicles!
I am remembering our blue sky days last summer and hoping for plenty more like them next season! Thank you all, for your early reservations! They are flowing in nicely and we are even filling some of our days!
Get your reservation made now, if you want a tour next summer!
These sister cubs climbed higher than little brother could, but they sure encouraged him to come up and join them. He tried, but only climbed about ten feet from the ground, while his sisters watched from twenty feet up.
I’m hoping for more great bear sightings like this one next summer! What a gift it is to sit and watch wildlife from a safe distance. We stay in our car when around bear activity, of course!