Skagway sits at the northern end of the Inland Passage. The little town, which now boasts about 850 year-round residents, was the setting off point for the Klondike Stampeders in 1898. Because of depression in the "Lower 45", (OK, NM, and AZ not admitted to the Union yet) stalwart unemployed adventurers with gold fever swelled the then population of a dozen or so to thousands almost overnight.
In order to go to the Klondike where the gold was, the RCMP required them to bring a year's supplies. A year's supplies weighed about a ton. There was no railroad up the pass yet, the only way to get there was on foot. Even if the railroad had been there, by the time they got there they were out of money anyway and wouldn't have been able to book passage. The few who used pack animals to carry their goods up the White Pass were the ones who provided it's nickname: Dead Horse Pass.
Others chose to go by way of the Chilkoot Trail from nearby Dyea. It was a bit shorter and more direct. That's where one of the classic photos you might have seen of the miners in a steady streem uphill in the snow was taken. Uphill is the key word here.
We hiked the Chilkoot trail--the two miles at the beginning of the 33 miles. About a mile and a half of the two miles was steady uphill. About 30 of the 33 is uphill. Steep uphill.We were smiling when we set out --did I mention that it was uphill? Actually we were still smiling at the end, though if we had done the 33 miles, I don't know.
Thre was a strange mist--some fog--and it settled just right for this picture of Face Mountain.
The mist stayed quite a while on the river. This guy was drying his wings as we floated by. (We hiked uphill, floated down the river to our return.)