Driving from Winter at Whitehorse to Fall at Dyea

On Saturday, Cathy and I took the dogs for a walk along the waterfront trail in Whitehorse. It seemed like a good idea, but with the kids on leashes and the trail very icy, it wasn’t much fun for anyone. So yesterday, I took Monty and Bella to Dyea for a good ice-free blowout run or 2. We had a ball!

The forecast was for some cloud, some sun in both Whitehorse and Skagway, and the temperatures were going to be fairly mild. It was -8°C (+18°F) when we left home about 15 minutes before the 08:31 sunrise, and 15 minutes later it had dropped to -13C (+9F) at Robinson.

We stopped for the usual run at Tutshi Lake, then at 09:35 I caught this truck down by the Yukon Suspension Bridge.
Winter trucking on the South Klondike Highway, BC
The White Pass & Yukon Route tracks at Log Cabin. Only 5 months or so until they start clearing that white stuff off the tracks for another season 🙂
The White Pass & Yukon Route tracks at Log Cabin, BC
Unlike my drive to Skagway 10 days ago, there was a fair bit of traffic yesterday. This truck was at Ptarmigan Point, at about Km 39.
Winter trucking on the South Klondike Highway, BC
Things are very quiet at Fraser for a few months now, although the Highways crews are busier than in the summer. This is one of several HDR images I created from yesterday’s 205 photos.
Fraser, BC, in the early winter
No, I never do get tired of this drive!
The South Klondike Highway near the White Pass summit
By 10:00 Alaska time, I was heading up the Dyea Road. It’s been a very long time since I’d been to Dyea (well, over a year), and among other things, I was curious to see whether the major road reconstruction was finished.
Dyea Road sign
Nahku Bay was lovely.
Nahku Bay, Alaska
It was a truck day 🙂 I was already pulled off into a viewpoint, so let him come by – easy choice, actually, as that’s the narrowest part of the road and there’s no room for both of us.
Truck on the Dyea Road
The reconstruction is finished – I won’t miss that piece of the road climbing and winding up at all.
Reconstruction on the Dyea Road
On the new section of the road, there’s a new viewpoint and interpretive sign.
Interpretive sign on the Dyea Road
The rainforest along the road out to the historic Dyea townsite and flats is always beautiful, and yesterday’s light made it even better.
Winding road through the forest at Dyea, Alaska
I was just going to go out to the beach, but on the way in I noticed that it was a very high tide, so decided to walk through the old townsite and let the water come down a bit so we’d have more room to play. In a rack at the start of the trail, a townsite walking tour brochure that I hadn’t seen before made it an even better idea.
Trail through the historic Dyea townsite
It looks groomed, but the only caretaker here is Mother Nature. Nice work, Mom! Monty and Bella went nuts – the forest smells are wonderful even to me, and I can’t even imagine what it must be like to a dog’s super-smeller.
Forest trail at Dyea, Alaska
Snow covers pretty much all the ground in the Yukon now – Southeast Alaska is much more interesting.
The most-photographed artifact at Dyea is certainly the false front from the A.M. Gregg real estate office, on what had been Main Street during the gold rush. No other recognizable building pieces remain in what had been a town of 8,000 people.
False front from the A.M. Gregg real estate office at Dyea, Alaska
Driving out to the tidal flats, I was surprised to see this new sign. There’s been a lot of work being done out there in recent years, and this explains why.
Dyea Flats Municipal Recreation Area, Alaska
Nelson Slough, from the one-lane bridge over it.
Nelson Slough, at Dyea, Alaska
Mud-bogging used to be a fairly popular pastime on the flats – it’s now strongly discouraged.
No more mud-bogging on the Dyea Flats
Bella and Monty were already tired from all the running they did at the townsite, but were up for more on the tidal flats, still wet from high tide!
Dogs running at Dyea
Monty has almost infinite patience with his puppy. He has corrected her at times, but it’s very uncommon, and a smile is a more usual reaction to her silliness.
Much of the road out to the beach has been raised with new gravel, but you can see from the driftwood how high the winter tides get, so it will certainly not last very long. There’s still a large muddy area, but I found a route through it and got the car right to the beach.
Road to the beach at Dyea
There was a strong, icy-cold breeze blowing down the valley from the Yukon, so the beach wasn’t as warm as I’d hoped it might be, but it was still wonderful.
The beach at Dyea
A special moment with Monty.
A special moment with my old husky, Monty
We didn’t stay on the beach very long – I should have brought a picnic. By noon I was back on the Dyea Road, stopping to get this photo looking down Taiya Inlet.
Gorgeous light in Taiya Inlet, Alaska
And a similar shot from the viewpoint above Nahku Bay.
Nahku Bay, Alaska

I stopped for lunch at the Morning Wood pub, and was joined by a local who also has a passion for old mines in particular. It’s always great to be able to swap stories about mines and experiences getting into them, and though he has a new baby, Matt and I might even be able to get together for an outing when it warms up again.

Back to winter. It won’t be long before Summit Lake is as white as the land around it.
Summit Lake in the White Pass
Looking back towards the White Pass summit. Yes, that glare does show that the road is covered with ice.
Icy South Klondike Highway near White Pass summit
A closer look at Summit Lake.
Summit Lake, in the White Pass
One final shot of the road, looking back to the south between Fraser and Log Cabin.
After a day like that, both Bella and Monty are happy to have a “down” day today 🙂
My Sheltie Bella sleeping
My husky Monty sleeping


Driving from Winter at Whitehorse to Fall at Dyea — 7 Comments

  1. I never tire of that drive either. Thankfully, you take lots of pictures for us to enjoy! Glad you made it home safely on those icy roads!

  2. great pics…are those ‘stacked’?

    What a contrast between the snow, ice and you and the pups wandering on the tidal beach…from extreme of snow and ice to what must have been 45F or so for you to be out by the water and beach.

  3. Absolutely beautiful! What a change in scenery in just a relatively short drive. Every photo was gorgeous and I especiallly loved the rainforest shots.

    P.S. I have in my hands one of Rebecca’s beautiful paintings! Thank you for introducing me to her and her work, she is talented indeed!

  4. You sure got some great photos. Like you, I don’t think I would ever get tired of that drive. If one likes nature, how could you get tired of it? Thanks for sharing all these wonderful photos and you day with us.

  5. Hi there just going to agree with what Rejeana has said about the Things are very quiet at Fraser picture … beauitful picture love it!