A Christmas Drive to Skagway, and Other Stuff

We’re 3 days past the shortest day of the year now. That’s always a significant point for me – PLEASE come back, Sun! 🙂 It’s actually been an easy winter so far, probably because I’m so busy with all kinds of projects. I’ll tell you about some of them, but first, I want to show you the drive to Skagway that Monty and I did yesterday.

The first photo was shot just south of Carcross at 10:24, 14 minutes after sunrise.
December sunrise along the South Klondike Highway
I made a change to the car a few days ago. The licence plate I had on the Outback, XPLOR, just wasn’t working for me on the Cadillac, so I got a new one (I was surprised that CRUZR was still available). I’m holding onto the old one for another vehicle, but I’m not sure yet which one.
Cadillac CTS with Yukon CRUZR plate
It wasn’t a very photographically rewarding trip. I’d been waiting for a good weather forecast for a while but it just never came, so I gave up. Luckily, I don’t mind driving in this sort of condition. This is the US/Canada border, a few hundred yards north of the White Pass summit.
The US/Canada border on the South Klondike Highway
More and more, I spend much of my Skagway time down at the water. If Cathy and I ever leave the Yukon, it will be to a place within walking distance of the sea – we both love it.
Small Boat Harbor at Skagway in December
Out at the fuel dock. It would be quite a day to be on a ferry coming up Taiya Inlet with a screaming south wind!
Taiya Inlet on a windy December day
The tug Anna T from Ketchikan was docked, but it wasn’t clear why – perhaps to take away the crane that was working on the Small Boat Harbor improvements.
Tug Anna T
Skagway got a couple of inches of snow overnight, and crews were busy cleaning up. The temperature was -15°C (+5°F) when I left home, +3°C (37°F) in Skagway. Ah, Spring! 🙂
Snow cleanup in Skagway
Cute. That’s probably illegal everywhere except Skagway.
Christmas decorations on a car in Skagway
Monty loves road trips, at least partly because he gets to go for lots of walks. Walk #4 was at the Pioneer Cemetery. Clara Amelia Patton was only 29 years old when she died on December 13, 1904. Going to these old cemeteries that have so many young people and babies buried always reminds me how easy life is today. The stories seem even sadder when the graves are covered by snow.
Grave of Clara Amelia Patton at Skagway
I had a good lunch, and headed north again just after 1:30 Yukon time. The new avalanche signs through the pass look more in character now 🙂
Avalanche warning sign in the White Pass, BC
Out in the middle of nowhere along Windy Arm, a Christmas tree appears every year. Thanks for putting it up, Jacqueline – Merry Christmas to you, too! She actually came along just as I was about to leave after taking this photo, and we chatted for a while.
A Christmas tree out in the Yukon wilderness
So, that was yesterday. Now, what else is going on? Well, the big excitement is that we have a moose hanging around the property again. This very poor photo taken in the pitch dark a few days ago is the only one I have of her yet, but there are lots of new tracks day after day, so she’s back pretty much every night.
Moose in Whitehorse
I got a dedicated photo scanner a few days ago, so I can finally start scanning my thousands of slides. Most of the ones I’ve done so far have been old family photos, but this Air North DC-3 that I flew from Dawson to Whitehorse on in 1992 made the cut as well.
Air North DC-3 at Dawson
Speaking of airplanes, I’ve been spending a lot of time with my head in the air lately – both my Alaska Aviation and the equivalent Yukon page have gotten dozens of additions, including this one shot in Fairbanks while I was on the Riverboat Discovery with one of my tour groups.
High performance bush plane in Fairbanks
The main reason for the drive to Skagway was that I had a few packages to pick up at the post office. I’ve added a large number of old transportation and tourism brochures and photos to the collection. If I run out of things to do, yesterday’s additions will keep me busy for many days. Here’s a sample of the sort of thing that I find interesting – from back in the days when the only way to get your vehicle from Skagway to Whitehorse was to put it on a White Pass rail car.
WP&YR brochure from the early 1970s
And finally there are the house renovations that I’m chipping away at. The first complete job is the basement bathroom – the before and after photos are below.
Bathroom renovation - before
Bathroom renovation - after

Well, the sun will be up in 4 hours, but I have to get into town long before that to pick up a couple of things, and I certainly want to be there before today’s craziness starts.

I hope that you all have a wonderful Christmas, in whatever way you celebrate or don’t 🙂 Cathy and I are pretty much on the “don’t” list except for having a dinner and a brunch with long-time friends. No stress, just a peaceful evening and morning.


A Christmas Drive to Skagway, and Other Stuff — 8 Comments

  1. Hope both you and Cathy along with Monty have a great Holiday season. Keep up the good work of informing us with pictures and writes……we always enjoy. We have a little herd……we counted 4 lovely white tail deer which seem to have adopted the back of our land. I’ll take a few pictures and send them along to you. Cheers, Maureen

  2. That was still very enjoyable even if the conditions didn’t lend themselves to taking good photographs. I always spend time around the water when I’m in a place like Skagway. I don’t know why but both my wife and I like to go down on the Ohio River and watch barges go through the locks….that has always fascinated me. Both of us also love to go to old cemeteries also…I think there are 124,000 downloaded into my road GPS. 🙂

    You guys have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

  3. Can you tell me what kind of slide scanner you’re using? My father left thousands of slides, too, and I would love to convert them to digital, but I haven’t had any luck finding a good slide scanner.

    And Merry Christmas to you. I first found your blog when I was writing my novel True Gold about the Klondike Gold Rush several years ago, and have enjoyed it ever since.

    • It’s an Epson Perfection V370. It was only $137 at Staples but I see it at some places Outside for just over $100. I’m extremely pleased with it. For slides, you need to use Epson Scan, not the software that may automatically load (which works fine for prints) – other than that, it’s all very straight-forward. Congratulations on the great reviews that your writing has gotten – I’ve added True Gold, and at the suggestion of one reviewer, “Repeating History” as well, to my next Amazon purchase list.

  4. The (outside temperature) dial in my car (yep I know they are not 100%) was reading 42c yesterday parked under a tree in Sydney….SO looking forward to winter.
    Your photos made me feel human again.

    Cheers and wishing you a happy,healthy year with a little prosperity tossed in for good measure.