An early-Fall drive to Skagway and Dyea

On Friday (August 24th), I drove to Skagway and back to pick up a couple of things I had ordered online. The weather turned to be better than I had expected, but the light was quite flat and I didn’t take many scenic photos.

I planned to go to Dyea so it would be a rather long day. I borrowed Cathy’s Jeep so Bella and Tucker would be more comfortable, and left the house at 08:40. Twenty minutes later when I took the first photo, we were well down the South Klondike Highway.

Heading south on the South Klondike Highway at Robinson
The new highway bridge over the Nares River at Carcross is coming along nicely. The contract was won by Ruskin Construction Ltd. of Prince George, a company very experienced in bridge building. The $12,662,494 job was started in about March this year, and will take 2 years to complete.

The new highway bridge over the Nares River at Carcross
To get the shot of the bridge, I drove up what was essentially my driveway for many years. It was my driveway in the sense that I maintained the one-kilometer-long road year-round, and it was rarely used by anyone else. It had been a few years since I’d been on it – it was an odd feeling. My cabin at Carcross was a very important part of my life for 20 years. A few weeks ago I sold the pickup that was an integral part of my cabin life, so I guess that chapter is now closed.

The road to Montana Mountain at Carcross
I was really happy to see that the Windy Arm wildfire was very quiet despite a strong wind and no rain. I climbed up above the Bove Island viewpoint to get the next photo.

The Windy Arm wildfire in the southern Yukon
At its southern extent, the Windy Arm fire is into a large area with no continuous paths of spruce or pine trees. With the prevailing being from the south, it should burn out soon now.

The Windy Arm wildfire in the southern Yukon
On Wednesday, I had driven down just before sunset to see the fire, and got a lot of pretty cool images that show the flames much better than daylight photos do.

The Windy Arm wildfire in the southern Yukon
It was a pretty quiet day in Skagway, with chilly weather and only 2 cruise ships in. Sometimes when I’m there I get the urge to cruise again, but only Carnival and Norwegian were there and I wouldn’t sail with either again (the food on Norwegian was awful, and everything about the Carnival experience was awful). The next photo shows the Carnival Legend berthed at the Railroad Dock.

Carnival Legend berthed at the Railroad Dock in Skagway, Alaska
I expected that over the past winter the White Pass would deal with the increasingly unstable rockslide area above the Railroad Dock. A massive rock at the top is a disaster waiting to happen – small stuff coming down has already damaged the dock at least twice. A lot of work of some sort was done last winter, but the big rock is still up there.

Rockslide area above the Railroad Dock in Skagway
Neither Bella nor Tucker are big fans of walking across bridges or out on docks. Although the didn’t fight me going on, when I turned around they were anxious to get back to solid ground 🙂

Walking the dogs on a Skagway dock
An interesting vessel, the Arctic Wolf, has been docked in Skagway for a few weeks. Ocean Explorers, who used her as a research vessel, says about her: “Developed by Henry Tomingas as a multipurpose, shallow draft, ice strengthened landing craft. As a geophysical or geotechnical research platform 1994-2005 the USA Arctic Wolf has an aft covered deck, helideck, an open archway, a moon pool, and a four point anchoring system. As a supply vessel or tug, the Arctic Wolf is equipped with with a bow mounted ramp and a deck crane to facilitate cargo transfer and pushing knees to engage cargo barges. The comfortable staterooms accommodate 24 persons.” They also say that she’s no longer in service, so I’m curious about why she’s here.

The next photo looks down Broadway to the Norwegian Jewel, at 200mm. It’s a rather cliched Skagway shot now, but I still like doing them.

Skagway, Alaska - looking down Broadway to the Norwegian Jewel, at 200mm.
Playing on the beach at Dyea was meant to be a big part of the day, but neither of the kids was into it for some reason. When it started raining a bit, Bella went back to the Jeep and asked to get in. A few minutes later, a heavy storm hit.

A horse excursion in heavy rain. Is that the part where they’re having fun? Yuck!

A horse excursion at Dyea in heavy rain.
The Dyea Road in the rain.

The Dyea Road in the rain
Driving north of the South Klondike Highway. A couple of minutes later, we were in the clouds, and visibility was as low as about 100 feet until we got over the summit.

I got home at about 4:30. As I write this on Sunday morning I’m watching for decent weather to return, but don’t have any solid plans for the next outing. Fresh snow fell on the mountain-tops west of Whitehorse yesterday, so I’m running out of time to get back into the high country.


An early-Fall drive to Skagway and Dyea — 2 Comments

  1. What cruise line do you like? We sailed on Carnival once and enjoyed it BUT we’ve never sailed much so didn’t have anything to compare it to. Of course we’ve going more for the scenery than food. 🙂

    • I’ve sailed with Royal Caribbean, Costa, Princess, Carnival, Norwegian, Holland America, and Celebrity (and Uniworld on European rivers). The winner for Cathy and I is Celebrity – specifically their Solstice-class ships. Holland America is a close second-place – we’ve liked all of their ships that we’ve sailed on. Royal Caribbean, Costa, and Princess have been okay but nothing special, and there’s no way we’ll sail Carnival or Norwegian again – the entire Carnival experience was awful, and the food on Norwegian was awful. The final comment on my series of blog posts about our Carnival cruise was “We’ve been rather sorry to have to leave every cruise ship we’ve been on – not this time, though.”