Liarsville Gold Rush Trail Camp
We have been in Alaska for over a month and had yet to go to a salmon bake for a meal. We had several delicious salmon meals courtesy of Denny and Linda but salmon bake is one of the ‘things to do’ in Alaska. Tomorrow we have a twelve hour excursion planned and the next day we leave Alaska so today was our last chance.
There is only one salmon bake in Skagway. It is several miles out of town at a small 1898 themed tourist attraction. It is located down a small road in the forest. Only way to get there is by their bus. There are several options for visiting Liarsville. Meal only, meal and self guide walk around grounds (1892 style cabins and shacks, etc.), walk only, meal and walk and melodrama and gold panning. We did the whole thing and had a tour saver coupon so one of us was free (don’t know which :) ). The whole thing is set up and timed for cruise ship tourists. From time we got there ‘till we left was two hours.
The bus picked us up at our campground at 11:00 am and we then went to dock to get 38 cruise tourists. The bus driver was very good. Third generation native of Skagway. On the way to the site he took us on a narrated tour of Skagway and pointed out sites and their history.
Tourist train that goes over White Pass. Very popular with cruise passengers. We didn’t do it. We will drive same route in a couple of days.
Full blown tourist day. Yesterday (July 4th) was slow touristwise.
We started with browsing around supplemented with hot cider and animal crackers. (The whole operation is pretty low budget but still well done)
There was also a fire to sit by which was nice for many as the weather is still gray, cold, and windy.
The melodrama was sort of corny (intentionally) but fun and ended with a demo of how to pan for gold filled with jokes and risqué comments.
One part of the show was an explanation of the derivation of the name of the spot. That area is the last flat ground before going up the White Pass Trail. In 1898 there was no train or road over White Pass. (The famed Chilkoot Trail was one mountain west. Both were the only land way to gold fields.) A sizeable tent city sprang up mainly to supply hopeful would be miners as they started over the pass. Part of the population that came to this spot were newspaper reporters who had been sent to cover the gold rush and send their reports back to the outside world. The pictures you may have seen of a solid line of men climbing a mountain of snow with huge packs on their backs are very true. Getting to the gold fields could take six to eight or nine months, much of it in snow, ice, and sub zero temperatures. The reporters quickly determined that they really did not want to do that. Instead they stayed in the cozy tent city and from time to time would send reports back to their papers based on things they might have heard or just on their imagination but always painting a rosy picture with no mention of the real situation. Hence the name “Liarsville”.
The panning was again low budget (very small amount of dirt already in pans and salted with two or three very small flakes) but the experience was there for those who have never done it. Sure glad we did gold mine in Fairbanks though.
The meal was basic but good. Three types of salad, beans, dirty rice, corn bread, chicken available, cake, and grilled salmon. Buffet style and seconds and thirds were encouraged. All of it was tasty and at the prices we have seen around Alaska for salmon we got our money’s worth in the salmon we ate. We did not need dinner tonight.
Entertainment during meal.
Following the meal we all got back on the bus for the trip back to town. On the way the driver took a side trip to a spot that over looks Skagway. A place we had not known of and would have missed.
We are camped in RV park just behind bushy trees, dead center.
A few pictures and back on the bus. The driver dropped us off at the campground before going on to the dock. All in all, an entertaining and tasty way to spend a few hours and add another Alaskan experience.