Posted by: Silver | August 23, 2010

Whitehorse to Tlell

Another epic journey, but a far more pleasant one. It started with an 8 km downhill run from the outskirts of Whitehorse to the centre, during which I set a new personal speed record: 63.5 km/h (39.5 mph for those of you still watching in black and white). Weeeeeeeeeee! Then it was onto a coach for the first part of the historic gold rush rail route from Whitehorse to Skagway (the Whitehorse end of the railroad no longer exists): everyone was very impressed with Ranger’s lissomeness as he folded neatly away into the luggage hold, and I just about coped with the overwhelming feeling of being a tourist when we all piled off the coach to take the obligatory photo of Emerald Lake. At Fraser, we transferred to the train: “I’ve never loaded one of these before!” said the (really rather cute) brakeman as Ranger took some further time off through the mountains. I hesitate to repeat what every tourist brochure for the area has said already, but the train journey really is quite spectacular. A word to the wise, though: if you’re going towards Skagway, sit on the right hand side – all the most impressive features are on the right.

At Skagway, I had to wait overnight for my ferry departure, so after a good night’s sleep at the basic but comfortable Sgt Preston’s Lodge, I was well prepared for the gruelling 1 km cycle along flat ground from there to the ferry terminal. The ferry followed the fabled Inside Passage along Alaska’s panhandle: forested mountains on either side, whales rising and diving in the water, and perfect calm, sunny weather for the whole trip. Fortunately, though, the magnificent scenery didn’t change so quickly that I wasn’t also able to use the two-day journey to recoup a bit more energy (ie. SLEEP! LOTS!)

At Prince Rupert, I got off one ferry, and onto another heading for Haida Gwaii (although Google Maps doesn’t seem to have caught up with the fact that they’re no longer called the Queen Charlotte Islands). And after another calm, sunny, pleasant voyage, it was finally back onto the trike again for the 35 km ride to my next placement. There’s basically only one highway on Haida Gwaii, and the part I experienced was bordered by temperate rainforest on one side and ocean on the other, very well paved, and – most importantly – FLAT! And no headwind either (although I am reliably informed that it can be extremely windy)! In short, an incredibly beautiful and enjoyable ride that more than adequately counter-balanced the torture of my last time on the trike.

And so, despite a full week of doing pretty much nothing other than travelling (starting with the Pelly Crossing to Lake Laberge odyssey), using almost every means of earth-bound transport available (except motorbike – oh, and tank…), Ranger and I both arrived at our next destination in perfect working order.

The obligatory photo of Emerald Lake

Just occasionally, there was something nice to see out of the left-hand side of the train

The Inside Passage: mountains, ocean, sunshine... all a bit boring, really...



  1. AH Silver. Those photos. That one from the canoe especially. It makes me feel all uplifted and calm just to be reminded that scenery like that exists in the world.

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