I have been here in Skagway Alaska for one month now. It is a small tourist town in the South East panhandle. We are the last town nestled at the end of the Lynn Canal, about 100 miles North of Juneau.
The population year round is only 800 people, though in the summer (because of all the touring cruise ships) the population doubles with seasonal workers.
The town is 4 blocks wide and 22 blocks long. The old renovated motel that acts as our employee housing “Brown Town” lies on the 21st block, near the train depot.
The town has one grocery store, a hardware store (which acts as our walmart), and a lot of little tourist shops.
The barge comes in to restocks our three isle grocery store every Tuesday afternoon. We are the last stop on its route and so produce is limited and very expensive.
Many of the towns people have 5 digit account numbers at the local stores. There is no stoplight... no doctor.... There is however one school; the graduating class last year was two.
The girls here have windswept hair and pink rosy cheeks. They wear neutral colors and carry backpacks instead of purses. The men wear plaid shirts and xtratuff boots. And nearly everyone here rides a bike. The town is littered with bikes which no one bothers to lock up, since there is only one road out and leading up to Canada. We are only 15 miles from the boarder.
Because supplies are so limited, the people here are very resourceful. There are yards with fire pits surrounded by cars benches, worn out bikes seats covered in duct tape, and a "Skagway swap" face book group.
It feels as if I have stumbled upon some new world… Some alternate reality I thought only existed in films. I am slowly taking it all in... It is beautiful.
Every day I ride my bike a mile and a half down to the pier for work. I am working for a tour company on ferry boat. It is a small privately owned company and I am one of only 12 employees.
We have 3 boats; the largest, carrying up to 170 passenger at a time. My duties range from operating lines, to guilding our tour, to engineering. On my favorite days, I operate the bow lines; I get my own personal Titanic moment every time we come in to, or leave the harbor. On our tours we pass mountains, waterfalls, forests and glaciers. The views here never get old.
The locals say that this has been an especially cold and overcast summer. I am feeling it... especially having come from New Mexico. I like to think I am resilient and can instantly acclimate, though the transition process has been harder then I anticipated. It usually is...
For the first three weeks I was sick with a cold and ear infections. My cell phone charging port also stopped working and it was a huge hassle getting a new phone sent out.
Despite these minor setbacks, I am taken with this little town. Life is simple here and has a sort of romantic feel.
On the day's I feel well, I bike to the river and pick wild flowers. They have turned my empty dorm room into a temporary home.
To the north, my bedroom widow looks out to our neighbors garden, wild raspberry bushes which line the gravel Allie and beyond that, a mountainous hill. To the south, just 100ft from my door, lies State Street, with a view of the mountains, the harbor and Harding Glacier.
I live in Alaska. It still feels a bit surreal...
Everyday i remind myself how limited my time is here. It's helping me make the most of every moment.
The whispers in the wind, The mountains calling, The flowers offering up their beauty. The burning in my thighs as I bike my 5th mile, The tourists roaming Main street, The crabby girl that works at the grocery store. My $6 avocado.
Ive decided to find beauty in every part of it. And to cherish every day.