Arriving in Skagway

View from the ferry between Juneau and Skagway

View from the ferry between Juneau and Skagway

We were both so tired, Dallas and I didn’t talk to anyone on the ferry.  I was hoping to check out Haines, since the ferry was stopping there for two hours and Christy had told us it was a nice town, but when the ferry docked, I read a road sign pointing 4 miles to Haines.  With nothing of interest within walking distance during our short layover, I went back to sleep on the bench next to Dallas.  Neither of us were fully awake to appreciate the grandeur view for more than a few minutes before drifting off again, and I didn’t fully wake up until we were a few minutes from landing in Skagway, our destination for the summer.

Scott, Dillon, Kristina, Kellee and Zabeth - some of our fellow guides and housemates for the summer

Scott, Dillon, Kristina, Kellee and Zabeth – some of our fellow guides and housemates for the summer

Dustin and Scott greeted us when we stepped off the boat, and 4 other new guides who had been on the same ferry joined us a few minutes later.  We all managed to load our bags into the Sockeye Cycle Van, and Dustin drove our belongings to the house while Scott led the rest of us by foot.  It was only a few blocks to the shop, and walking felt good after lounging around on the ferry for 7 hours (three of the other guides had boarded the ferry in Bellingham, and had been on board for 4 days).

View of Smugglers Cove from Yakutania Point

View of Smugglers Cove from Yakutania Point

Although it was clear and sunny that day, the announcement of an avalanche having recently blocked the white passage to the Yukon (pretty much the only way out of Skagway by land) reminded us that it was still very much winter in Alaska.  Scott, the shop manager who had previously been a mechanic for a tour company in Italy, provided us with numerous and entertaining stories.  He had arrived three weeks earlier and told us about his first day and days leading up to now, when it seemed he was finally able to talk to some other people who were seeing Skagway for the first time.  I think we all shared his wonder in what we’ve gotten ourselves into here.

Dallas, standing at Yakutania Point on the day of our arrival in Skagway

Dallas, standing at Yakutania Point on the day of our arrival in Skagway

The owner of the company, Thom, greeted us when we arrived at our new summer home, the two stories above the Sockeye Cycle bike shop.  Then he hurried off to drive to Whitehorse, the nearest city, to buy supplies for the house and our welcome barbecue.  Because of the avalanche, he had to take an alternate route to Whitehorse, and it was uncertain if he would even make it back the next day for the barbecue.

Dallas and I will be sharing this space for the next four months with 10 other guides.

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About Sarah

Sarah grew up in Cranston - just south of Providence, Rhode Island - and developed a love for travel, music, and outdoor sports at an early age. She had started bicycling long distances at age 12, as a participant of the MS150 bike tours to raise money for the MS Society. She didn't use her bike regularly until she built her own while studying in Montreal and found it an excellent way to get around the city. After graduating from McGill and moving back to Providence, Sarah started working at Brown University's office of Environmental Health & Safety as the Biological Safety Specialist. She was living 4 miles away at the time, and for the first few weeks was driving to work. She made the switch from driving to bicycling when she realized that she could get to work faster, avoid parking tickets, and integrate a few miles of training into her day. Bicycling was better for the environment and better for her own health and mood. She found that she had more energy and felt much happier once she started biking to work. When her car broke down several months later, she never bothered replacing it. After 4 years of working in Biosafety (and on her master's in Environmental Studies), Sarah left her job to pursue her passion. She has been working various jobs in the bicycle industry since June of 2011, including pedicab driver, bicycle tour guide, bike mechanic and traveling bicycle advocate. In between seasonal jobs, she has done a few long-distance bike tours, which is the main reason for this blog. Her dream is to eventually ride around the world and sail across the oceans.

Posted on 1 May 2013, in Alaska, The space between and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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