There will be puppies! Exploring the Klondike pass and dog sledding school

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Skagway, Alaska with its summertime population of just over 900 may seem like just a sleepy backwater tourist depot.  And that’s what it But don’t let its present incarnation fool you.  The city was once the trail-head for the Klondike and white pass routes during the Yukon gold rush and had a population of almost forty thousand.  Many perspicacious businessmen realized there was more money to be made selling supplies to the would-be miners than could ever be made in the off chance of finding any gold.

Skagway Alaska is a popular stopover for summertime cruise ships who run along Alaska’s inside passage.
Historic photograph of people trying to cross the Klondike pass to go to the Yukon minefields

The Canadian government had strict demands for anyone crossing the pass into Canada and required each miner to purchase supplies and food in advance which totaled over one ton.  While some did find wealth in the minefields, many more businesses became prosperous providing supplies as well a the saloons and brothels that opened as well.

red onion
The red onion saloon and brothel was probably the most (in)famous of all Skagway ‘s houses of ill repute. It is still open to this day. ( The saloon part, the brothel is long gone)

By far the most successful business to come from the gold rush though was the White Pass Railway, Completed in 1900, the railway ran the 107 mile Klondike trail from Skagway, Alaska to Whitehorse, Yukon. The railroad still runs today as a tourist attraction.

The Railway still makes runs but today usually only runs to the Canadian border.

I was on an Alaska cruise that made a stop at Skagway that offered the train excursion. I was originally uninterested but the lady at the excursions desk mentioned that they stop at the Tutshi Sledding Academy where they train the sled dogs for the Iditarod. The Iditarod is a massive sled dog race and the dogs are well known for their strength and stamina. This is the summer home for these dogs and then she said the magic words “There will be puppies” Sold!

The rail pass goes through some amazing alpine scenery, hairpins, and tunnels

The rail portion of the journey went as far as the US-Canadian border, there we rode on a bus to the Academy.

Yours truly at the Yukon border, plugging one of my alma maters as usual
Many of the lakes in the Yukon had a blue-green tint from the silt coming off the abundant glaciers

The sledding school had a nice but small museum included that had some exhibits covering local history and how the dog sled races began.

A Royal Mounted Police uniform which could have been worn by Duddley DoRight

The tourist was encouraged to interact freely with both the puppies and their parents.


And here are the puppies

Alaska Tour - Real Alaska Tour - Seavey Kennels



They were very spirited and rowdy.
pup16 This puppy just ate my plastic name tag

The academy is located in Carcross Yukon which has a nice town square with decorated buildings and a totem pole.


Definitely a worthwhile excursion that left my tail waging

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