Skagway Welcomes the Colorado Traveling Ducks

We arrived in Skagway, Alaska.   That means we once again left the Canadian Yukon and went through US Customs to get to Skagway.   As we stopped at US Customs, our guide book said we should see a glacier in the mountains above the Customs building.   But there was so much snow on the mountain that our moms could not distinguish the glacier from the snow.   We were happy to arrive at the port city of Skagway.

Welcome sign

Our first stop was the Westmark Hotel.

Mural on side of Westmark Hotel.  Ducks on the sidewalk.

This mural for the Westmark caught our attention.   Skagway became famous during the gold rush in the late 1890’s.  The Skagway Westmark will be our home for the next few days.   Wandering around town, we stopped at the Visitor’s Center.

Visitor’s Center. Former Arctic Brotherhood Hall

This is the former Arctic Brotherhood Hall.   The outside facade has more than 8,833 pieces of driftwood sticks arranged in a mosaic pattern.   Included are the Brotherhood’s AB letters and symbols, a gold pan with nuggets.   The entrance shows the year it was first used by the Arctic Brotherhood.

Visitor’s Center historic entrance

These buildings are really old.   That could be because Skagway is the oldest incorporated city in Alaska.   It was incorporated in 1900.   Skagway is a year-round port and one of two gateway cities to the Alaska Highway in Southeast Alaska.   The other is Haines, Alaska.   Inside the Visitor’s Center, we were greeted by friendly, informative people.   You can really see the driftwood sticks on the counter here.

Counter insider Visitor’s Center

We got helpful information here and loved this building.   Nearby we stopped at the Remedy Shoppe.

Remedy Shoppe. Alaska’s first legal marijuana store

Alaska voted to legalize marijuana a couple years ago.   The remedy Shoppe was Alaska’s first legal marijuana store.  We did not purchase anything there.   We ducks and humans do not need or use marijuana.   Our home state of Colorado was one of the first states to legalize marijuana.   Isn’t this trolley great?

Skagway trolley

We love trolleys.   But wait.   What is this?

Skagway Chamber of Commerce sells duck race tickets

The Skagway Chamber of Commerce is selling tickets to the Duck Derby.   We have so many relatives here.

Duck Derby or Duck Races coming soon

We have duck races at home, but we didn’t expect to see them so far north.   Hi to our distant cousins.   The City of Skagway has an interesting museum.

City of Skagway Museum

This museum is just a block from main street.   Very convenient.   Looking down main street, you may notice that these old historic buildings are all constructed from wood.

Historic old buildings in Skagway. All wood construction

That could be a disaster if a fire started.

Public ashtrays to protect historic wooden buildings.

The city is doing its best to prevent fires.   Please put all cigarette and cigar ashes here.   Let’s all do our part to keep Skagway safe and historic.   You may notice some photos show sun and dry streets and other rain and wet streets.   We were only there a few days in May, but we experienced rainy mornings and sunny afternoons and evenings.   So if you are there, remember the weather can change.

Carcross Desert in Yukon Territory with Colorado Traveling Ducks

Today we are leaving the Alaska highway and going to Skagway.   Skagway is a port city in Alaska.   The Alaska Sate ferry, part of the Marine Highway stops here.   Skagway is a very popular cruise ship port.   It is also one of the few cities in southeast Alaska that are accessible by roads.   We will see tourist stops in Skagway, something missing from most of our road trip.   Let’s go.

Whitehorse, south to Carcross and continuing to Skagway

You have to see Carcross, Yukon Territory.   Carcross, Canadian Yukon Territory, situated on the shores of Lake Bennett, was formerly known as Caribou Crossing.

Carcross, YT on shore of Lake Bennett

But there was a problem.   The Yukon, British Columbia and Alaska all had towns named Caribou Crossing.  Mail delivery wasn’t so good.   So, now we have Carcross in the Canadian Yukon.

Carcross Visitor’s Center with Welcome Man Crest

The Yukon Visitor’s Center here has the “Welcome Man” crest.   As do the community buildings.

Carcross Community buildings

Also featured are totem poles.

Totem poles

These are made by Native carver, Keith Smarch.   Carcross was a stopping place for gold stampeders in the late 1890s.   It was also a stopping place on the White Pass and Yukon Railroad during that same gold rush.   But there is something special about Carcross.   It is home to the world’s smallest desert.

Carcross Desert

This small desert is 640 acres or 1 square mile (2.6 square kilometers).   Carcross Tagish First Nation has constructed a single track bike trail which attracts international cyclists.

Carcross Desert

This desert has mountains for a background and some trees.

Carcross desert along road

Carcross desert is right along the highway.   But it is really a desert?

Desert? Ancient lake bed?

It has been called the world’s smallest desert, but we learned that really is the remains of an ancient lake.   And insects?

Rare insects

This is the home to some rare insects and some even more rare insects that are only found here, in the Carcross Desert.

Carcross desert

One more view of the world’s smallest desert, with our dog Chloe.   A few miles north of Carcross Desert is Emerald Lake.

Emerald Lake

We Colorado Traveling Ducks love this lake.   It is sometimes referred to as Rainbow Lake.

Emerald Lake

Aren’t the colors fantastic?   We love the green in the water.   Our guide book says the color comes from blue-green light waves, reflecting off the white sediment of the lake bottom.   This white sediment, called marl, consists of fragments of decomposed shell mixed with clay.

Emerald Lake

But we just think it is beautiful.   If you drive between Whitehorse, Yukon Territory and Skagway, Alaska, be sure to stop and admire these lakes, and explore Carcross Desert.

Lamar, Colorado’s Visitor’s Center with Zeb, Soapy Smith and JB Duck

Sometimes we just get in the car, and mom starts driving.   There is always something interesting to see in Colorado, and everywhere.   We are entering Lamar, Colorado now.

Lamar, Colorado

Lamar, Colorado

We, the Colorado Traveling Ducks, love Visitor’s Centers.   So much information is available and the people are so friendly and so knowledgeable.   Lamar, Colorado’s was great.

Visitor's Center, Lamar, Colorado

Visitor’s Center, Lamar, Colorado

Before entering, we had to see this engine.   Built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1909, it weighs 322,775 pounds.

Locomotive engine

Locomotive engine

This locomotive engine was retired from service October 1953.   A huge statue, Madonna of the Trail, certainly got our attention.

Madonna of the Trail

Madonna of the Trail

It is honoring the women of the trail.   Remember, the Santa Fe Trail passed through Lamar.  On another side of the Visitor’s Center, we found the Enchanted Forest.

Enchanted Forest

Enchanted Forest

What a great location for picnics.   There is even a stage for live entertainment.

Ready for entertainment

Ready for entertainment

This is a great place for visitors and local residents also.   Going in the Visitor’s Center we talked to the humans and found so many places to explore in the area.   However, even though it was an unusual 70 degrees, it is winter, so many locations had limited hours for visitors.  We did visit one location, but this is definitely a place to return when we have more time.   Tomorrow we will show you what we did see.   You might want to plan a trip to Lamar soon.

Georgetown, Colorado with Zeb and Eider Duck

I, Zeb the Duck, and my Alaska cousin, Eider Duck, visited Georgetown, Colorado.

Georgetown, Colorado was an old mining town.

Georgetown, Colorado was an old mining town.

We did not have any snow in our neighborhood near Denver, so we drove to Georgetown to find some.  First stop is the Georgetown Visitor’s Center.

The Visitor Center has great information and a small museum.

The Visitor Center has great information and a small museum.

It was starting to snow in Georgetown, so our photos are missing the bright sunshine and our Colorado blue skies.   But we loved the misty mountains and the light falling snow.   The park in Georgetown has a pretty gazebo and it had evergreen branches for Christmas decorations.

In the park in Georgetown, Colorado

In the park in Georgetown, Colorado

On the main street, this archway leads to a small area with seats.

Misty mountains are pretty

Misty mountains are pretty

The tall tree by the outdoor café was decorated.

Didn't even want hot chocolate out here today.  But it is pretty.

Didn’t even want hot chocolate out here today. But it is pretty.

It was too cool today for us to sit outdoors and enjoy refreshments.   Looking down the main street, we liked the Christmas decorations over the street and

Looking down main street at mountains

Looking down main street at mountains

especially liked this view of the mountains, slightly obscured by swirling snow and light fog.   This tree with lights seemed festive to us.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

We really like that Georgetown does not cut trees to decorate.   The lights and decorations are placed on growing trees.  We enjoy these trees all year long.   Eider and Zeb liked sitting on these logs.

These logs seemed inviting to ducks.

These logs seemed inviting to ducks.

Georgetown is a nice town located at an altitude of 8,530 feet in the mountains.  It is a nice drive on I-70, about 45 minutes west of Denver.

You will enjoy visiting Georgetown, Colorado.

You will enjoy visiting Georgetown, Colorado.

We will be back here soon.