Skagway has a year-round population of approximately 1,250 inhabitants, which doubles in summer months to accommodate the million or more visitors each year. The weather on this day was extraordinarily beautiful with clear skies and sunshine.
Skagway was a part of the Klondike gold rush frenzy when, in 1896, gold was found in the Klondike region of Canada’s Yukon Territory. Ships began bringing thousands of hopeful miners to town as they prepared to make the 500-mile journey to the Canadian gold fields. The town population soon grew to 30,000, mostly American gold prospectors. Within weeks the town was filled with trading posts, guest houses, stores, and saloons; offices lined the streets of Skagway and it was the largest city in Alaska. Along with its fast growth came fights, prostitutes, liquor and con-men, all taking advantage of the hopeful prospectors. Canada began imposing new restrictions on the prospectors and by 1899 the town’s economy began to collapse as the stream of gold seekers dried up.
Much of the town has been preserved as part of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park and rangers offer free walking tours around the historic district. We visited the National Park offices where we watched a 25-minute film about the goldrush days.
The main street of town is called Broadway and it began just at the bow of our ship. The street is very wide and filled with shops on both sides of the street. Many of the buildings are from the goldrush days and most are filled with souvenir shops for the summer tourists. Most of the merchandise was similar to what we had seen in other shops along the way.
We stopped at the Moore Homestead where we toured the home of one of the early settlers of the town. The home belonged to a Captain William Moore who predicted that the area would grow when gold was discovered nearby and so he homesteaded 160 acres of land. He made remarkable amounts of money on his land and would later build a sawmill and wharf.
For dinner we dined at the specialty restaurant Tamarind again. We tried a variety of different dishes like the lamb chops and three sorbets for dessert. Everything was delicious and we ate everything.
After dinner we attended a 45-minute concert in the Lincoln Center Stage. The violinist and the pianist performed but the viola player was absent with no mention. There are many rumors about how many of the crew may be under quarantine or in isolation but it is unknown. Since we have been on the ship there has been no mention about Covid. There are signs all over the ship that say “masks recommended” but that is the extent of any mention. All crew members wear KN95 masks that fit well and they seem very comfortable with them at this point.
The main stage show on this evening was a combination show with both the dance troupe and the two piano players from the Billboard 100 piano bar. The theme of the show was music from Billboards number one songs.
As a side note, I wanted to mention that my father had an Ischemic Stroke this morning. The facility where he lives was able to get him transported to UCI Medical Center quickly. A scan showed that he had a blood clot in the brain and was given a blood thinner. By afternoon he appeared to be recovering well and they were planning to do an MRI. We wish him a speedy and complete recovery.