There was so much to do in Skagway, we couldn't make up our minds. We ended up taking the "big whammy" tour that combined a gold mining dredge camp, salmon bake, a narrated bus tour, and a train trip. The gold camp was great fun, filled with colorful characters like this guy. Gold panning turned out to be a lot of work! And that was with the knowledge that our pans were "salted" ahead of time--can't imagine doing this day in and day out for months at a time, never sure if you'd have even one flake in your pan.
The water was freezing, and it was very hard to separate the little flecks of gold from the sand and gravel. I was the last one still out there panning out of the entire bus! Mike and I had a little contest going to see who had the most gold dust... turned out we both had the exact same amount--$12.03 worth each. Those little flecks add up!
Unfortunately we didn't come HOME with any gold... they do let you keep it, yes, and we bought a little glass pendant for the flecks, which I attached to my nametag chain. But it was either lost or stolen on the final day of the cruise--bummer!
I'll spare you the zillion pictures of the mining dredge and ancient machinery Mike took : )