Approaching White Pass Summit. Although the journey on the White Pass & Yukon Route for most cruise ship passengers ends at White Pass Station (MP 20.4), near the US/Canada Border, the actual summit of White Pass is about 4 miles north of that point, just ahead of where you see the Rotary Fleet here, at MP 23.9. The grade over these four miles is significantly shallower than the 20 mile stretch out of Skagway, and as you can see, the depth of the accumulated season's snow is also much less. The running gear of the steam engines is actually visible for the first time since we started plowing 2 days before. From here on to Fraser, BC, about 4 miles ahead, the route looks pretty much like this. A rock-strewn, meadow surrounded by snow-capped hills. It is gorgeous, virgin country, regardless of the season. We will continue to chase the plow train on snowshoes for perhaps another mile, until everyone is dog-tired, at which point our chase train.....which is trailing behind out of sight, will come and pick us up and take us to Fraser, where everyone will have lunch. What you see here is my most enduring memory of this trip. Gorgeous blue skies, nice, low-angle sun, pristine snow-capped mountains.....and the greatest show on rails being staged before our eyes.
Interestingly, when this photo was taken, the photographers and the railroad folks who were assigned to watch us and keep us safe, had all been essentially trespassing in Canada for three days without any sort of Customs inspection or need to show passport credentials. It seems that while US Customs is right at the border on the Klondike Highway, you don't encounter Canadian Customs until you get to Fraser. So, we all were wandering freely for days without a care in the world, but as our train approached Fraser, the railroad folks suddenly told us to stay in our seats and definitely not step off the train until Customs did their inspection. Things get serious when you get to Fraser! Fortunately, the Canadian Customs folks were extremely nice. They had already reviewed our information, which was provided in advance by the railroad, so the clearance process took just a couple of minutes.