Today we sailed into Lynn Canal, a classic fjord (narrow, deep inlet between steeply elevated land) to reach Skagway, the northernmost port along the Inside Passage. Skagway was born as an entryway into the Klondike, a gold rush that began around 1898. Although it is a fairly quiet town of less than 800 inhabitants today, in 1900 was a rough and tumble outpost with a population of approximately 20,000. It was similar to the towns of the American West, lawless and dangerous. In fact, it was ruled by a criminal mob, led by Jefferson "Soapy" Smith, who lies buried in the town’s cemetery. Skagway still resembles a town of the Old West, with raised, wooden sidewalks and classic storefront facades.
These days, the stores sell souvenirs and jewelry to the many cruise ship customers who dock in town daily. It was definitely fun to walk the main street (Broadway Street) even though it was rainy and cool all day. The most impressive building was the Arctic Brotherhood Camp, now the Tourist Information Building, whose facade is composed of thousands of pieces of driftwood.
The dramatic scenery of the Lynn Canal is reputed to be some of the best of the entire cruise.