Alaska Cruise Day 5: Skagway
Caviar on warm blinis and Montaudon champagne for breakfast, while docking in Skagway. That is the right way to start an amazing day.
As soon as we finished our breakfast, we disembarked right in front of the “graffiti” that cruise lines have been painting on the mountain (with their logos, captain and vessel names) since 1928, and went to the heliport to board a Eurocopter that took us, through narrow canyons and spectacular valleys, flying over very high peaks and several glaciers, to the dog camp on the Denver Glacier.
Seeing a glacier from the top is like an alien view: small cracks in the snow granting you a glimpse of the intense blue of glacial ice. And sometimes, a bigger opening makes it look like you just saw the most blue lake ever, when it is actually the deep blue glacial ice.
We put on our glacier walking boots and met and talked with professional mushers, who introduced us to the art of dogsledding, and the world of mushing. But what we could not foresee is how friendly the dogs that made the Iditarod Dog Race famous were. We even had a chance to hold and play with two very little puppies and a very playful young dog called “Solo”, our new Alaskan friend, before jumping on the sled.
The otherwise quiet and nice dogs got crazily excited when they understood they were about to go on a run. They all started howling, barking, and pulling the rope. You could tell they love running and pulling the sled. They can easily go on 100 mile runs, making them the most endurance runners in the animal kingdom.
The breathtaking environment around us was magnificent. Virgin snow and ice as far as our eyes could see. And everybody in the dog camp was determined to keep it that way: after every season, they collect absolutely everything (including dog hairs) and take it away via helicopter. Even the smallest dark candy wrapper can cause a very big melting hole in the pristine ice and snow, so they go to great lengths to make sure it all remains as unspoiled as possible.
To top a perfect day off, back onboard after taking a stroll through small Skagway (and stopping at silly Red Onion Saloon), we had dinner at Prime 7 restaurant: a gigantic plate of steamed Alaska king crab, masterfully pre-cut to make it really easy to eat, and the famous mouth-watering 14 layer cake, which takes three days to prepare. Worthy of all that work. Although don’t miss the three leches cake either!