We got off the boat and headed to the shuttle that would transfer us to the Skagway Temsco heliport. We put on overboots and safety vests, and waited until the armada of choppers showed up.
The flight out from the heliport was pretty; both Sarah and I were in the back seat, though I got lucky by being on the window. The 1800-foot deep channel wasn’t too much to look at, however. We flew to the Meade ice flow in the lead position of the train of choppers. Once there we were given trekking poles and were warned not to step on any snow since “nobody knows what is under it.” Warning heeded!
We saw a lot of amazing views, and sampled the water melting off the glacier. We got to see how the tree line was 1000 feet above and there was a clear break where the glacier used to be.
Overall, the trip was pretty impressive, and the photos turned out ok; probably not something I need to do again (at least the helicopter side of things), but it was neat to actually walk on a glacier, see the crags, see the calving up close, etc.
After a rest back in the cabin, we headed to board the White Pass Railroad, a narrow gauge train ride that would take us 20 miles along and two-thirds of a mile up. Before the train ride, we explored downtown Skagway a bit; wasn’t too much to see, and it was … a port of call.
I spent some time out on the balcony of the train taking photos, though at times (like when passing over a wooden bridge with a sheer drop-off on one side) it was a bit terrifying. As we got higher, it got quite a bit colder, with snow, fog, and so forth. Also, as we got further into the 5-hour trip, the children in our cabin (and we weren’t allowed to change cabins) got more and more annoying.
At the top of our journey, we swapped engines from the front to the back of the train, and we started a slow descent. This descent was made much slower by the fact that one of the three engines was malfunctioning.
Long story short, we held up the cruise ship by over an hour, but it did at least wait for us. Of course, this added yet another hour of the kids getting yet more irritating.