Getting into Winter Mode with a Drive to Skagway

It’s hard to believe that it’s only 12 days ago that we were on Waikiki Beach. My head has been having a hard time adjusting, and I needed to do something to get myself into winter mode, so I drove to Skagway with the fur-kids yesterday. It’s been almost 5 weeks since they had a road-trip, too, so I knew that they’d enjoy it.

Winter has made brief visits over the past 3 weeks, and back on the 8th or so, a heavy dump of snow did a lot of damage to trees on our property – some terminally bent like these 2, some much larger ones snapped right off. Most of the snow has melted, but the weather forecast for yesterday called for snow flurries in Whitehorse and afternoon showers in Skagway – not great, but not bad either.
Our snowy back yard in the Yukon
We didn’t get away until after 09:00, with the temperature sitting at -5°C (23°F). The light was generally flat, but had enough variety to be quite pretty down the South Klondike Highway.
South Klondike Highway north of Carcross, Yukon
Looking south along Windy Arm. The highway had started to get quite slippery by this point, with frozen rain covering everything. It’s rather funny that I sometimes don’t notice how slippery a road is until I step out onto it – although my car grips nicely at times like this, my shoes don’t.
Snowy mountains along Windy Arm, Yukon
When I stopped to take the photo above, at Pooley Creek, I was very pleased to see a lot of mountain goats above me – at least 15 of them. Poachers were taking a toll on this population a few years ago, but they seem to be doing very well now. Hopefully the poachers ended up in jail (though I know that they didn’t get arrested for poaching), or better yet, dead.
Mountain goats on Montana Mountain, Yukon
Morning mist at the south end of the dead-calm lake (Windy Arm).
Morning mist on dead-calm Windy Arm, Yukon
Looking back at Dail Peak. To me, this is one of the most scenic spots on the entire highway – I love that mountain, and the curve of the highway. You’d never guess it from this side, but it’s actually quite easy to get almost to the top of Dail.
Dail Peak
I initially stopped at Log Cabin to get another photo of the peak in the centre of this photo – a peak whose name (if it has one) I’ve never been able to figure out. But it was so nice there that I decided to take the kids for a long walk down the tracks.
Log Cabin, BC
The start of the very long Log Cabin siding north of the highway crossing.
Log Cabin siding on the WP&YR
That’s the sort of view that makes me want to walk and walk and walk… but I had neither the gear nor the time to continue further this day.
Log Cabin siding on the WP&YR
I did have time, though, to slow down. Bella and I both enjoyed frozen puddles – me to take photos of them, and Bella to jump on them, probably just to hear the noise 🙂
Frozen puddle
The humidity must be quite high to get such good frosting on everything.
Frosted leaves
A brief stop to get a shot of the Canada Customs (sorry, CBSA) post at Fraser.
Canada Customs at Fraser, BC
Beautiful moody light at Summit Lake.
Beautiful moody light at Summit Lake, White Pass, BC

The road condition remained quite poor all the way to Skagway, and I didn’t meet a single vehicle on the 90-minute drive between Carcross and Skagway.

I picked up my mail in Skagway, then went for a wander. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a freighter sitting at the Railroad Dock before. I thought at first that it might be a tanker.
Freighter Nordana Madeleine in Skagway, Alaska
But then saw the hatch cover being lowered, so knew it was cargo. Googling when I got home, I see that the Nordana Madeleine is a new ship (built in China in 2009), and heavy-lift cargo is one of her specialties. She’s based in Denmark.
Heavy-lift cargo ship Nordana Madeleine in Skagway, Alaska
“Come on, guys, back in the car!” 🙂
Monty and Bella running
Driving around to the Railroad Dock, I saw a crew measuring the height of cables over the road, and when I got to the dock, I saw why. I assume that these are fuel tanks for the White Pass shops – it will be an interesting move to get them through town!
Freighter Nordana Madeleine at the Railroad Dock in Skagway, Alaska
Ahhh – Skagway is quiet for a few months again.
A quiet early-winter day on Broadway in Skagway
Heading back up the hill, I stopped at a few waterfalls. This is the time of year to savour that sound, because it’ll be getting silent very soon now as Father Winter locks everything up in his icy vault.
Waterfall in the White Pass, Alaska
The vacation was wonderful, but it is so great to be home again!
A mountain view along the South Klondike Highway
I made another quick stop at Log Cabin to get a photo of these new winter-friendly outhouses in better light than I had during our long morning stop. Recreation Sites and Trails BC has recently installed these – impressive when many people don’t even know that this is part of BC.

That was a great day. The dogs are pooped out, and I’m more focussed. While I have a lot of physical work to do around the property yet, I’m also spending a lot of time in my large collection of historic documents (by “large”, I mean thousands of items). A few days ago, I posted 3 articles of local interest from The Journal of the Canadian Mining Institute, 1909, and I’m currently working on getting these 3 documents entirely online.

Edit: the one on the right, a 20-page guide to the Canadian section of the Alaska Highway published by the Canadian Travel Bureau in 1958, can now be seen here.

And in my spare time, there’s planning to do for future Adventures!


Getting into Winter Mode with a Drive to Skagway — 9 Comments

  1. I quite like these postings in “winter mode”. I’ve never been to the Yukon and never will except through viewing your postings. Things I found most interesting in today’s reported jaunt: the low light view at 9 o’clock, stop at Log Cabin to view lofty peak with a total blanket of snow, the red ship which is different from the container ships I usually see at Port of Los Angeles, those happy dogs with the tongues hanging out, so cute! and winter-friendly outhouses so you can use them in the snow.

  2. loving some of those pictures. What a wonderful time of the year that is. Glad to see (for me as a reader) that you are back on your Northern beat after the warm weather interlude.

  3. Hi Murray,

    Someone posted on Facebook that those tanks are destined for the new LNG plant in Whitehorse. I’m not sure if that’s true or not.

    Wish I’d been in town when the freighter was there!


  4. Hi Murray, Hawaii postings were interesting but don’t compare to your Yukon ones with the scenery you have and the two beautiful dogs running around.

  5. Thanks for all of the comments. 🙂 Hawaii seems like it was forever ago already, and it really is good to be back home.

    Jane, it’s always good to hear what specifically find interesting about my posts. Sunrise today is at 09:09, sunset at 18:19 – but December 21st we’ll have lost almost 3 1/2 hours more of the precious daylight.

    Anthony, you were right, those are the LNG tanks for Yukon Energy – I’ve sent them a note asking them to let me know when they’re coming up the highway. It’ll be an interesting move that I’d like to photograph.

    Maureen, Monty and Bella are certainly a huge part of what makes my life here so wonderful.

    Matt, I’ll pop you a note next time I’m down – in 10 days or so.

  6. This got me into winter mood as well, very nice pictures!
    Now that the days are getting shorter there’s more time to get all the work done inside the home that has been sitting there all summer.

  7. The light may have been flat but you got some beautiful photos. I’ll always love the Summit Lake photos…one of my favorite places on that drive. The photo towards the end where it looks like you’re in the middle of the road is also very beautiful and looks very familiar to me also. I can’t remember what it was called (Tormented Valley???) but I know it was beautiful.