Autumn along the South Klondike Highway – from Oranges to Gray

I’d been watching the Whitehorse and Skagway weather forecasts for the past few days, hoping for a day that offered sunshine in both places so I could take the bike down and get some Fall color photos. Yesterday was that day.

Heavily layered to keep warm, I was away from the house just after 08:00, which turned out to be about half an hour too early, as some of the photos I wanted were still in shadow. But at Carcross I parked and walked back onto the bridge to get this shot – a good start to the day.

The classic view of Carcross, Yukon with Fall colors
Between the awful weather we had this summer and working too much, I did very little hiking this year. I really want to get back up to the Venus silver mine. Oh well, next year.

Venus Silver Mine, Yukon
The Fall colors were really good all along Windy Arm in particular, but shadows wiped out most of the photo ops I’d expected. That impressive peak ahead, as the highway climbs the ridge between Windy Arm and Tutshi Lake, has no name – surprising to people who come from places where every little bump and pond has a name.

Paddy Peak, BC - South Klondike Highway
The Fall colors were nowhere near as good as soon as I crossed over the ridge above – that abruptly, the impact of the warmer coastal weather prevails. Tutshi Lake was a good spot to stop for a portrait, though. The strong wind was cold here and I was really glad that I had so many layers of clothes on, because I didn’t feel it at all except on my face when my helmet was off.

Murray Lundberg at Tutshi Lake, BC
A few clouds started to form as I reached Log Cabin, they were much thicker at Fraser, and as I headed down the hill from the summit at 10:20 it got just plain nasty, with an icy rain and visibility of perhaps 100 yards.

Rain in the White Pass, Alaska
That wasn’t quite what I’d expected!

Skagway weather forecast
This is why end-of-the-season cruises are cheaper – the passengers on the Star Princess weren’t seeing much at all today. The Celebrity Century was also in port. Two more ships arrive on Saturday, 2 more next Tuesday, and then that’s it for the year. Many businesses will start closing today, though, and there won’t be much open by Tuesday.

The Star Princess in fog in Skagway, Alaska
I didn’t stay long in Skagway. It was sunshine I wanted, so I even skipped lunch – just grabbed a few photos, fueled up and headed north.

The Railroad Dock in Skagway, Alaska
I did make a U-turn to catch this train , though 🙂

WP&YR train in the White Pass
Back into the sunshine at Summit Lake! While the highway was in sunshine, though, the railway line was in heavy clouds for a few more miles.

Clouds in the White Pass, Alaska
I stopped to do a bit of hiking at Summit Lake.

Summit Lake
I don’t understand why people pile rocks up like this – I don’t understand why they think this is any different than spray-painting “JJ & MG July 2012” on the rocks. I knocked over about 40 of the largest of them.

The view of Summit Creek with the piles of rocks that had been in the view gone 🙂

Time to get rid of the first layer. Although the wind was still cool, it was far too warm for longjohns.

This little valley, completely hidden from the highway, is very different than the rest of the White Pass. It’s just a few yards behind me in the photo above.

I had planned on having lunch at the Yukon Suspension Bridge – I haven’t tried their new restaurant yet. But when I got there, there were 2 busloads of people being fed, so I turned around and went back to Shallow Lake for another hike.

Ahhhh, that’s more like it! I really need another few days like this before Father Winter arrives. This was shot at 2:30pm with the temperature at about 20°C (68°F).

Going for a barefoot walk in the White Pass
I love this spot.

Mushrooms are at their peak right now – I could easily spend a good part of a day just shooting mushrooms.

Mushrooms in the White Pass
On the way home, I made many stops for photos. This was along Windy Arm, at 3:20pm.

Fall colors along Windy Arm
This is the road down to the silver-mining ghost town of Conrad.

Fall colors along the side road to Conrad, Yukon
Bove Island.

Fall colors on Bove Island, Yukon
A look back at Lime Mountain.

Fall colors at Lime Mountain, Yukon
And finally, Spirit Lake.

Fall colors at Spirit Lake, Yukon

What a great day that was! And we apparently have more good weather coming.


Autumn along the South Klondike Highway – from Oranges to Gray — 4 Comments

  1. Great photo’s once again Murray! What a fantastic day and of course play to live. I need to start buying more lotto tickets!! to get back up there I think 🙂

  2. Oh, almost forgot. I hiked up to the Venus Mine one summer (well most of the way up) and as we started out we passed a stinky cave that I was certain housed a big bear during the winter. We took a quick! look inside and thank goodness no one was home but it surely was a bear cave. It is a beautiful area there.

  3. Having been to the Yukon four times I always look forward to your updates, enjoying the look at scenes and places I’d been myself.
    Thanks for the job you’re doing. I hope you’ll go on!