Disconnecting in the wilderness is good for your head

My day with Bella and Tucker in the White Pass two weeks ago convinced me that I really needed to get down with the motorhome. Last Wednesday and Thursday, I got the rig ready, and Friday morning, the dogs and I headed down. Cathy would join us when she got off work Friday night. It had to be a short trip, as I had an appointment with one of my therapists Sunday afternoon, but it would be a good start, and a good test of my progress recovering from my injury last August.

We got away just after 10:00 a.m. The first photo shows that removal of the old Carcross bridge is almost complete. While it had character, it was a wreck, and I really like the look of the new one – the decorative lights make a huge difference to what could have been just a concrete slab.

Removal of the old Carcross bridge is almost complete
We encountered some road construction along Windy Arm. It’s particularly nice to have pretty much no traffic on the road at times like this, so there are no rocks flying at me. The windshields are both broken anyway, one side very badly, but I’m not in the mood to spend another $5,000 to replace them (windshield insurance isn’t available here).

Construction on the South Klondike Highway
On the pass between Windy Arm and Tutshi Lake, we got stopped by more construction for about 15 minutes.

Construction on the South Klondike Highway
Tucker rarely rides shotgun like this, but I’m always pleased to have my little buddy there.

My little dog Tucker riding shotgun in the RV
We all had a long nap after getting set up at Summit Creek, and didn’t get out for a play until 3:00.

While the kids played and explored, I spent some time foraging with my camera. The contrast of the witches’ broom on this very healthy little tree struck me.

witches' broom
Mother Nature really does some lovely landscaping.

A closer look at the White Mountain Heather (Cassiope mertensiana) seen in the photo above.

White Mountain Heather (Cassiope mertensiana) in the White Pass, BC
Cathy arrived at 7:45 Friday night, and it was already cold – 8°C/46°F. While Cathy and I played Scrabble after she got settled, the kids went to bed.

My husky/shelty Bella asleep on the RV couch
When I got up at 05:30 on Saturday, the weather was cold (6°C) and dreary.

A chilly, dreary morning in the White Pass
By 07:30, it was looking like the day might have potential, as a wall of cloud moved off to the east.

A storm moving out of the White Pass
Time for a cookie before breakfast? Mr. Granite is as polite as he is handsome. He first came into our lives as a rescued puppy named Raspberry, and we dog-sit him occasionally now – he’s a perfect fit into our pack. He was one of the puppies we almost didn’t let go.

I couldn’t figure out from the clouds what the weather might do. There were some really unusual cumulus buildups off to the northwest. I shot these “clouds with rocks in them” just after 08:00 – a flashback to my flying years. Every mountain pilot quickly learns to know that term and respect it – or doesn’t live long.

Clouds with rocks in them
By 08:30 as the clouds keept moving away, some wonderful layers of cloud and light developed over Summit Lake.

Layers of cloud and light over Summit Lake, BC
At 08:45, I drove to the summit – on the way, I shot this photo of the storm drifting beyond the White Pass & Yukon Route railway summit.

A storm drifting beyond the White Pass & Yukon Route railway summit
A look at what is, in a normal year, the busiest tourist highway in the highway, as I drove back to the motorhome. There’s a marmot sitting on the shoulder of the road in the break between the two sections of guardrail.

The South Klondike Highway near the White Pass summit
The marmot wasn’t very happy about being disturbed, and this grab shot missed the focus a bit. Marmots are one of my favourite animals – they are such characters.

A marmot on he tSouth Klondike Highway near the White Pass summit
After lunch, I made a couple of attempts to get a family portrait, but all I could get was dog bums.

Cathy and Murray with their dogs ad RV in the White Pass
At 12:35, this storm was moving in from the northwest.

A storm moving into the White Pass
Although I didn’t see any lightning, there was lots of thunder coming from the Bryant Lake area just 3-4 miles away.

A storm moving into the White Pass
Enjoying a last bit of sunshine at 12:44. Rain started just a couple of minutes later – we stashed our chairs and moved inside.

Sunshine and storm in the White Pass
I shot this series of videos starting at 12:50. Click on the image to open the video page at Youtube.

Sunshine and storm in the White Pass
Waiting out the storm in comfort while some hikers were out there in it.

Waiting out the storm in comfort in the RV
Looking south across Summit Lake at 1:35, with the rain now gone from our spot.

Storm at Summit Lake in the White Pass

It was a quiet day. Even after the storm blew through, there was a very cold wind so we had to be well bundled up to spend time outside.

After dinner, we drove south to the William Moore Bridges (old and new) – Cathy hadn’t yet seen the new one. It was a lovely evening.

The William Moore Bridges wayside
The Captain William Henry Moore Bridge looks more like a concrete dam with a culvert at the bottom. I don’t understand how this could be earthquake-proof as the old bridge was – I guess we’ll see.

Captain William Henry Moore Bridge
As we got back to the RV just before 7 p.m., there was a wonderful rainbow that lasted for a few minutes.

Rainbow at Summit Lake in the White Pass
Looking to the southeast across Summit Lake at 7:08.

Storm at Summit Lake in the White Pass
Sunday morning was cold and misty, but by 07:30 when I shot the next photo of Summit Lake and the Sawtooth Range it was gorgeous – though the cold wind still required a layer of fleece to be outside.

The Sawtooth Range and Summit Lake
From any angle, Mount Cleveland and the Cleveland Glacier is impressive. At the bottom right you can see our nearest neighbour, about half a kilometer away on the opposite side of the Summit Creek bridge.

Mount Cleveland and the Cleveland Glacier
Breakfast prep time in the White Pass, at 08:30. We sometimes laughingly call this “camping” šŸ™‚

Breakfast prep time in our RV in the White Pass
Just before 10:00, we took the dogs down to the wonderful beach where Summit Creek flows into Summit Lake. I had a couple of balls for the dogs in my pocket, and Tucker kept bugging me until I let him carry one. He’s become a great little trail dog – always right behind me. This was a very different walk for me than 2 weeks ago – I didn’t need my cane.

Walking down to Summit Lake
As always, Bella was the first one into the water! The water is very cold, right off the snowfields!

The water level is very high, but had dropped enough since we arrived that we could walk through shallow water to what was currently an island. I climbed up it to get the next photo.

Looking south across the lake. The wind was nasty, and cut down the enjoyment of this outing.

Looking south across Summit Lake
At about 11:00 we started the short walk back to the rig to pack up so I could get back to Whitehorse for my appointment with my therapist. Bella found a patch of berries along the way, and Cathy gave her a hand to get some that were a bit hidden. Bella is very adept at picking berries.

My dog Bella picking berries

Unlike 2 weeks ago when I had to walk with a cane, and had to stop several times to rest during what’s normally a 10-minute walk back up the the highway, I had no trouble. This sort of rapid, dramatic improvement happened in February as well, before my osteopath got shut down by COVID-19 requirements. I’m being very careful not to do anything that might set me back again.

I thought about leaving the RV and just driving the Tracker back for more supplies to return the next day, but decided against that – the final straw in that decision was discovering that I was low on propane. The final photo was shot at 12:40 as we started out.

Monday was a busy day. I decided to start taking care of some of the things the motorhome needs, beginning with tires on the steering axle. Two new 19.5-inch BF Goodrich Route Control tires, $1,040. Ouch, but there’s no more wobble from the crap tires that came with it, one of which was such crap my shop couldn’t even balance it. With gassing up the RV and Tracker, filling the propane tank, meeting Cathy for lunch, and buying groceries, the day disappeared quickly

As I finish writing this, it’s a few minutes after 05:00 on Tuesday. The motorhome is packed and ready to go back down to the White Pass today, for a longer stay. Cathy will drive down tonight to spend Canada Day with the dogs and I. The weather forecast changed dramatically overnight, and it’s now looking like a spectacular few days. ttyl… šŸ™‚


Disconnecting in the wilderness is good for your head — 6 Comments

  1. Iā€™m really glad to see and here that you are taking good care of yourself and as usual your photos are exceptional . White Pass is only a dream for me but you Murry make it a reality through your adventure and your photos . Dave is in Dawson City mining and is on a really good gold streak . He needs an operator or some good help if you know someone looking for work . God be with you and Kathy .

  2. Happy to hear you are doing better. We travelled that route a few years ago and would love to again. Beautiful country, thanks for sharing your beautiful photos and comments. šŸ™‚
    Keep well.

  3. That long, open road sure looks good from here in Juneau. Your photos are so welcome during this time of pandemic and we can’t wait to be able to travel again to beautiful BC and Yukon. Great picture of the Moore Bridge- had not seen that yet. Doesn’t look like it is going anywhere any time soon!

  4. Glad to see you’re travelling again but stay on safe ground just to be sure. Happy travels and keep thoses beautiful pictures coming.

  5. we live and enjoy your adventures big and small and what pleasure it was today to see the happy uptick in your mood, your energy and your outlook….gooooo Murray!

    Great short trip, perfect for the motorhome, I kept thinking you’d mention the delight of having the heater kick in, perhaps that was the low propane cause?

    To be able to go out your back door, to this…stupendous… Lets hope that road keeps beckoning you guys…

  6. ‘the mountain pics were very cool, loved the fog, the clouds, the fog, the movement that you captured…had to see it again tonight on the better PC monitor at home… those Sawtooths are aptly named and enjoyed seeing them so soon after a recent post.

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