Stormy seas south from Skagway (and photos from Thursday’s train trip)

Our second night at the Westmark Inn was very restful and very welcome after the terrific Thursday we enjoyed in Skagway, and we spent Friday morning catching up on computer projects before boarding the 2 pm Alaska State Ferry back to Juneau. Winds rose and rain began not long after our departure, but the mountain scenery (snow fields, waterfalls, and some blue glaciated ice at the higher levels) was still beautiful as seen through the rain, low clouds, and heavy mist.

We again sat on the port side of the ferry, this time at a table in the bow section, but did not venture out to walk around the lower decks or to sit outside on the top deck! We shared our table with a couple from the Netherlands during the trip from Skagway to Haines, and then with a couple from Idaho during the ride from Haines back to Auke Bay, and had interesting and delightful conversations with both.

The sun glanced down to observe the starboard side of the ferry for a short time at one point, and the resulting “mist-bow” appears in the photo below above the whitecaps, generated by a wind of about 20 kts., that chased one another through the mint-green waters of the Lynn Canal. The lighter-colored water along the shore comes courtesy of a river outflow and produces eye-catching “stripes.”

Despite the reflections of some of the ferry’s windows, you can see the colored “bridge” arching from the mountainside to the sea.

The ride was not rough, but waves often broke along the hull as the boat plowed the hilly fields of the long, wide fjord, and feathery white wings of spray flew up from the surface outside our window.

One of the smaller wave fountains that splashed the ferry’s hull

The kind couple from Idaho with whom we’d visited over a salmon burger supper during the latter portion of our trip back to Juneau offered to drive us to the Auke Bay docks in their camper van, and we accepted, since it wasn’t cold but it WAS very rainy. The distance was only about 1.5 miles and driving us didn’t put them out, and this saved our calling a taxi–another blessing!

Now here follow, as promised, more photos from Thursday’s railway excursion. Unfortunately, photography was not encouraged inside the route’s two unlit tunnels [ 😉 ].

Mountain summits above the mists
Crossing the Skagway River
Looking down at the Skagway River
The Skagway River at the bottom of the steep-sided valley with the railroad tracks along the side of the hill at the left
Can you spot the light blue of the Lynn Canal ‘s waters below the strip of clouds at the center of the picture? The sharp peaks at the left comb the clouds’ white tresses.
Summit Lake near the top of the pass
Again looking back toward Skagway’s docks beyond the tree tops during the train’s descent from the pass
Looking through the spruce forest at the majestic peaks
A saw-toothed mountain peak scrapes the sky as I stand on the outdoor platform at the front of our railway car named “Lake Tincup.” The resulting strip of cloud-shavings lies along the mountain’s base.

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