A Day of Spring, a Day of Winter

This can be a frustrating time of year for anyone who enjoys being outside. The sun is doing a good job of warming the earth up to welcome life back in a grand way, but Father Winter still pops back for a visit.

On Wednesday, I took Monty for a long walk in a new location – the section of the Miles Canyon Road that’s closed during the winter. This is a road that I drive a lot but have never walked. This view is looking back down the hill to Schwatka Lake, which is the Yukon River backed up by a power dam.
Miles Canyon Road, Whitehorse, Yukon
At the top of the hill ahead is a very popular viewpoint over Miles Canyon, the downstream end of which is seen to the left in this photo.
Miles Canyon Road, Whitehorse, Yukon
Instead of going further along the road, though, Monty and I headed back downriver on a trail along the bluff. Any south-facing slopes now are just about ready for the first crocuses to bloom – our second sign of Spring, after the arrival of the swans.
A trail above Schwatka Lake - Whitehorse, Yukon
The trail was beautiful but we had to turn around when it went steeply downhill and was still covered by snow and ice. In another few weeks this will be a great place to come back to.
A trail above Schwatka Lake - Whitehorse, Yukon
Air North’s Boeing 737-548 C-GANJ arrives from Vancouver as we start back down the road, with a light snow falling.
Air North's Boeing 737-548 C-GANJ
On the way back to the car, we saw these Trumpeter swans flying in the wrong direction for their migration. I wonder if they had to turn back when they were unable to find any open water further north. The day before, the government’s Yukon Wildlife Viewing Program posted on their Facebook page: “Big jump in swan counts, April 15: 750 at Swan Haven, 320 in Tagish, and 330 at Johnson’s Crossing (a partial count, maybe more)!”
Migrating Trumpeter swans in the Yukon
The sun came out as we got to the car, so I went down to the Yukon River where it’s broken free of the ice. The light was wonderful, and there were lots of gulls who seemed to have found something to eat there.
Gulls on the Yukon River in the Spring
The raven in this photo was fun to watch. He had shooed a gull off that high spot, and was protecting it from other gulls who wanted it.
Gulls on the Yukon River in the Spring
The SS Klondike, with the new Crocus Ridge Medical Staff Residence to the right.
SS Klondike and the Crocus Ridge Medical Staff Residence
The weather on Thursday turned ugly. Cathy called me when she got to work to tell me how bad the roads were, as I’d planned on going to Carcross for the day to finish cleaning out the cabin, which goes to its new owners in 2 weeks. The snow arrived at our home a couple of hours after it had made a mess in town, but the forecast for the weekend made it really easy to stay optimistic.
April weather in the Yukon
Molly loves big snowflakes, and often gets quite excited trying to catch them 🙂
Unlike normal people, I really like nasty roads, and although I tried to work and ignore Cathy’s comment that there was even a truck rolled into the ditch along the Alaska Highway, I just couldn’t do it!
April snow in the Yukon
As soon as I turned onto the highway, it appeared that it was closed just ahead at Wolf Creek. It was actually single-lane around another accident.
Accident on the Alaska Highway
Over the crest of the hill, at the entrance to the Wolf Creek Campground, this old truck was probably a write-off.
Rollover on the Alaska Highway
Just 2 blocks further ahead, another roll-over! The roads were really not that bad, but some people just can’t figure out that their normal 40kmh-over-the-speed-limit driving may not be a great idea in these conditions. With near-zero enforcement of any traffic laws in the Yukon, though, this is what happens.
Rollover on the Alaska Highway
I went to the airport to see what was going on there. It was snowing quite heavily, with a strong north wind so it was pretty quiet.
The Whitehorse airport terminal building and control tower
The plow crews were busy getting the runway useable for the next flight from Vancouver in an hour.
Snowplow working at the Whitehorse airport
When I got home, I had to dig the snow out of the wheel wells. With the temperature forecast to fall to -10°C overnight, the car would be quite well cemented to the ground by morning!
April snow in the Yukon

There’s lot of RV traffic on the road already, and it’s less than 2 weeks until the first cruise ship passengers arrive. I wonder how many are mentally or physically prepared for this. Ah, Spring in the Yukon!


A Day of Spring, a Day of Winter — 2 Comments

  1. AH HA..it looks like we are both getting the same kind of spring. We got a 20cm snow fall last saturday and although it is not unusual for this time of year, it has been a few years since we’ve had such a late spring. I’d love to send you a few picts of where I live to give you an idea……hang in there, there will be a spring ! Maureen

  2. You know I think there are people that don’t understand centrifugal force and think you can go around a curve as fast as straight ahead. Other people with 4-wheel drive think they are immune to having a wreck on ice and snow…at least that is the case around here. I don’t mind driving on snow but I worry a lot more about other people hitting me than getting stuck.