A Walk at the Lewes Dam

Some days I need to take a walk to clear my head. Sometimes a short walk around the property will do, sometimes it takes a longer one. Luckily, there are a virtually infinite number of great walks close at hand here. Last Tuesday I took the motorcycle down the Alaska Highway 14 kilometers to the Lewes Dam (a.k.a. the Marsh Lake Dam or the Yukon River Dam) to do some more exploring.

From the rest area at the south end of the bridge, this road takes you to the dam. This road is just cut into the glacial silt and is extremely muddy and slippery when it gets wet!

Lewes Dam, Yukon River

The Lewes Dam from upriver. I was out to the dam last October and posted some information about the dam with both current and historic photos.

Lewes Dam, Yukon River

All of the gates in the dam are now open and there’s no difference in the upriver and downriver water levels. A few weeks several people tried to run 3 canoes through the gates when there was still a drop, and the rescue that followed proved what a poor idea that is and that the signs warning against doing such things are justified.

Lewes Dam, Yukon River

The top of the dam with all of the wooden gates raised.

Lewes Dam, Yukon River

An ATV trail climbs the steep bank on the downriver side of the dam, and I decided to see what the view up there is like.

Lewes Dam, Yukon River

Very nice!

Lewes Dam, Yukon River

The ATV trail runs along the edge of the bank and then disappears into the forest – maybe someday I’ll see where it goes.

Lewes Dam, Yukon River

For today, though, this view was all the reward I needed.

Lewes Dam, Yukon River

On the way back to the rest area I saw this plant that I don’t recognize.

Wildflowers along the Yukon River

Almost a clover-looking blossom.

Wildflowers along the Yukon River

This tiny Least chipmunk (Eutamias minimus) joined me for a few minutes.

Least Chipmunk in the Yukon

I wasn’t quite ready to get back to work yet so walked up to the bridge/river viewing platform at the rest area, which has several interpretive signs about the area before the dam was built, about Shortyville, and about the Yukon River and some of the birds and wildlife that may be seen.

Yukon River Bridge, Alaska Highway

There are getting to be more RVs heading south on the Alaska Highway than there are ones heading north – the first sign that the end of summer is nearing.

Yukon River Bridge, Alaska Highway

That outing was less than 2 hours long, but nicely provided the break I needed – back to work!


A Walk at the Lewes Dam — 10 Comments

  1. Hi Murray, you always have such interesting pictures and commentaries. You and Cathy enjoy your weekend.

  2. Murray
    The closup of the plant sure looks like alfalfa,thats a farmers opinion, whats it doing growing in the cold Yukon? Wish it could tell us how it aririved on the banks of the Yukon, could be a great story.

    When does snow arrive in Whitehorse ?we are traveling through North ON with thoughts of coming your way but do not like snow.


    • We could get snow anytime in September but it doesn’t stay until the end of October typically. I’ll check out what alfalfa looks like – thanks 🙂

  3. Murray,

    Also check out the Lupine family…….that looks similar to the miniature Lupine in my front yard.

    Dave Leland

  4. Thanks for the suggestion, Dave, but this is a very large plant, almost 3 feet tall. I’ve been through all of my books and can’t find it. The photos I’ve found of alfalfa don’t really look like it either, though I’ve seen horse trailers unloaded there that could explain that plant’s presence.

  5. No it’s definitely not Yukon lupine. I’ve sent a note to Bruce Bennett querying whether it may be a new invasive as it looks a lot like the sweetclover that’s getting so much attention – except with purple flowers instead of white or yellow.

  6. Definitely alfalfa– where I live in an agricultural but half-wild area of Alberta, its everywhere, along with its cousins the sweet clovers you mentioned, and several clovers and other forage crops.. almost all of our weeds around here are agricultural escapes and tag-alongs 🙁 unfortunate they are making it into the Yukon as well, no doubt that will increase with more agriculture..

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