A Fall Colours Weekend

The Labour Day long weekend is a rather manic time in the North. Everyone is doing something outside, knowing that this is the last good-weather long weekend we’re going to see until May. Whether it’s berry picking, hiking, boating, camping or just getting out for a scenic drive, it’s time to get it out of your system.

Cathy and I just went for a drive to Skagway on Saturday. The forecast was for partly sunny in Whitehorse, all sun in Skagway. Of course that didn’t happen, but that’s what we hoped for, and the clouds in Skagway were great compared to what often happens in September!

The first photo below shows the Fall colours on Caribou Mountain. It’s not going to be a great year for colour. My impression is that it takes a spell of warmish weather and then sudden deep cold to make the colours brilliant – when the temperature just slowly drops as it has this year, colours are subdued.

The colours a couple of miles further down the highway, at Spirit Lake.

A couple of rental RVs were set up at one of the nicest camping spots in the territory, on the shore of Tutshi Lake. Whenever you see 2 or 3 RVs travelling bumper-to-bumper here, you can always be sure that they’re Germans 🙂

Looking up from the same spot that I took the photo above, Winter is just that close!

With only 2 ships in port, things were bound to be slow in Skagway, but things were very slow, and many of the people on the street were from Whitehorse. The Sea Princess is on a 10-day sailing, now southbound back to San Francisco, and the Volendam is in the middle of a 7-day cruise out of Vancouver.

We’d gotten off to a late start so had lunch/dinner at the Skagway Brewing Company, then went over to the Klothes Rush and stocked up with footwear from their great sale (Skagwegians know how to put on sales!). Now I’m all set for the 3 cruises I’ve got booked for the next few weeks (Cathy only gets to go on 2 of them).

As we headed out of town, a photo op for a train near the White Pass Shops stopped me – because you can never have too many pictures of trains 🙂

Some of these locomotives won’t be working until next year…

… though they may get moved into the new engine house, which went up very quickly.

For my friends on the White Pass list who can’t figure out where the new engine house is, here it is in relation to the main building.

Northbound back to Whitehorse along the Tutshi River at Km 53.

Despite a forecast of a 40% chance of showers yesterday, I decided to head north on the bike for a bit. I almost turned around at Porter Creek when I saw the weather ahead, but decided to go anyway. The road construction that has stopped me twice before is all finished now, so Braeburn Lodge became the destination of the day despite the steady cold rain.

Fox Lake Campground was over-full, with some people camped in the parking lot rather than campsites, but seemed to be clearing out quickly due to the cold rain that showed no sign of letting up. I saw only Yukon licence plates on all the vehicles.

Nearing the north end of the Fox Lake Burn, an area that had a pair of forest fires in the late 1990s. Not exactly good biking weather, but traffic was very light, which is a very good thing when you’re on 2 wheels.

I had a pleasant visit with the owner of Braeburn Lodge (as well as coffee and some excellent mushroom soup), got one of his ginormous cinnamon buns to take home, and headed south. As on the South Klondike, the colours weren’t great overall but there were some brilliant patches like this.

It’s a great bike road, but rain and 44° isn’t the best weather to do it in! By the time I got home, with 195km on the clock, I was ready for the hot tub 🙂

There’s still one day of weekend to go, but this will be a stay-at-home day – there’s a lot of work to get done.


A Fall Colours Weekend — 4 Comments

  1. “Cool” pictures Murray !!!
    As of now, our weather has not turned to Fall.
    However the nights are getting chilly…mid 30s f.

    FYI….the WP&R #91 should leave Seattle today or tomorrow, headed for Skagway.


  2. Thanks, Dave. I saw the note on the WP list about 91 coming north – I’m sailing back this way from Vancouver on Friday (in Skagway on the 15th) so just may get some photos of part of the process 🙂

  3. Lovely autumn scenes – thank you for your wonderful recording of ‘the days of your lives’. Guess what – in a week we will be back in BC, when at the same time last year we were in Denali! This is an unexpected visit – we’re helping to look after our 21 mth. old grandson while his Mum’s on a Research trip. I’ll be following your blog from much closer.

  4. When Mom and I drove from Carcross to Skagway on Monday, 9/13, the colors on Windy Arm were so glorious, it took our breath away! I was sure they would be gone by Friday, but the colors had spread to Tutshi Lake. I have NEVER seen such beautiful scenery in my life! I had to stop the car and just gaze. Now, our backyard in Carcross is getting that way. Everywhere I look, there’s another beautiful picture. This has been an amazing autumn.