We woke up bright an early on Wednesday morning, partly because we knew we had a lot to do that morning, and partly because the sun rises at like 4am and my body was still on East Coast time. We headed to the lobby to check out and grab some breakfast, but the hotel restaurant was pretty crowded and we didn’t have a ton of time until our cab arrived to take us to the airport. So we walked a few blocks to Silverbow, an Inn and bakery, which I only knew about from sharing a cab with the family the night before.
Going to Silverbow was SUCH a good idea! Carbo loading the day I was about the hike 13 miles? Heck yes!
We devoured our breakfast and hopped into our cab to the airport. The cab driver was actually a teacher, who was working to make some extra cash for the summer. Juneau is an expensive place to live, so she was doing what she could to make a few extra bucks.
We were flying Wings of Alaska, which is a tiny airline that flies into the small towns all over southeast Alaska. One of the most popular forms of transportation in Alaska is small aircraft, which is exactly what we would be boarding to get to Skagway.
Besides the beautiful snow topped mountains, we also saw plenty of greenery, lakes, waterfalls, and even a whale in the water below!
When we arrived in Skagway, Bill’s friend Nathan picked us up from the airport. Skagway is the definition of a small town, so the airport was literally less than a 5 minute drive to downtown, where we needed to pick up our alternative solution for a tent, our permits to hike, and our train tickets to get back to Skagway when we finished the hike. We also needed to pick up some bear spray and alcohol for our stove, since the box we sent several weeks earlier with these supplies hadn’t yet arrived.
Bill and I had decided that our best and cheapest option would be to purchase some tarp and lines to make a tarp tent. So, he headed to the mountain shop for some extra line and our bear spray. He’d pick up the tarp at the hardware store after we got our permits. Next, we stopped at the trail information center to check in, get our permits settled, and hear about the trail conditions.
(the 18th was our summit day, the day we would cross into Canada)
The rangers went over permit conditions, and prepped us on what we could expect to see out on the trail. All Bill and I needed to hear was: “A lot of hikers have been saying how bad the mosquitoes have been. It’s been the worst season for bugs in years…” and “Once you get past the summit, there are patches of ice; we highly recommend trekking poles.” before we looked at each other and decided that we were keeping the Squall and buying a set of trekking poles. I stayed and listened to the rest of the ranger’s talk, which included that the avalanche warning had been lifted (HOORAY!), while Bill went back to the mountain shop.
By this time it was getting close to 11:30, so we stopped at a coffee shop for our final “real” meal before Nathan dropped us at the trailhead. It was finally time to start the hike.