Even the Darkest Days in the Yukon are Beautiful

The shortest and darkest day of the year is only 2 days away now, and yesterday I took the dogs to Skagway for the day. As you’ll see, I hope, the stories about how dark and dreary mid-winter in the Yukon is are just not true 🙂

This is the road we live on in Mary Lake, a “rural residential” part of Whitehorse, at 09:14 – sunrise was 53 minutes away, at 10:07. The temperature was -22°C (-8°F), about normal for this time of year and a good temperature for a road trip.

A winter pre-dawn in Mary Lake, Whitehorse
Lake Bennett hasn’t frozen over yet, so there was quite a wall of fog over the lake at Carcross.

Winter fog at Carcross, Yukon
As we got near Tagish Lake there was lots of hoar frost from the fog that’s been hanging there for weeks, adding to the spectacular mountain scenery.

Winter on the Yukon's South Klondike Highway
From this distance I couldn’t tell if the lake around Bove Island was frozen or not, but it turned out that it was, probably just the previous night, and had no snow on it yet.

Winter at Bove Island, Yukon
With Windy Arm of Tagish Lake very recently frozen, there was still a bit of fog hanging around, but that just added more interest to the views.

Winter on the South Klondike Highway along Windy Arm
Looking up through the mist at one of the towers for an aerial tramway that ran to the Vault silver mine in 1905-1906.

Aerial tramway tower in the Yukon
The Venus silver mine mill. In recent years the warehouse and mill manager’s house have floated away during extremely high water, and collapsed, respectively. The log warehouse used to be on the snow-covered point seen right behind the mill, and the mill manager’s house was between the mill and that point.

The Venus silver mine mill
Tutshi Lake was still completely open, so there was lots of mist rising off it. With the temperature up to -9°C (+16°F), it was a good place for playtime for the kids, and they embraced it 🙂

Tutshi Lake, BC - unfrozen in mid-December
My little girl, Bella, can always make both me and her big brother smile. Life is just such fun! At 13 months she may not really be a puppy anymore, but she still thinks that she is 🙂

My puppy, Bella, playing in the snow
But when Bella gets him going, you’d never think that Monty is 12 years old, either!

Murray's dogs, Monty and Bella, playing in the snow

Murray's dogs, Monty and Bella, playing in the snow
Seeing those smiles makes me feel extremely good. I often wonder if they remember anything from their previous lives (they’re both rescues).

Murray's dogs, Monty and Bella, playing in the snow

Yukon dogs playing in the snow
Heading up into the White Pass, Monty was stretched out on the back seat, while Bella enjoyed her co-pilot’s position.

This 7-minute video takes you from the BC/Alaska border at the White Pass summit down to the William Moore Bridge. The temperature at the summit was -9°C (+15°F), and cloud and blowing snow were both reducing visibility.

In Skagway, I met 2 long-time friends at the post office, a wonderful way to start our short visit. Although the temperature was right at the freezing mark and there was a lot of ice around, Skagway just may not get a white Christmas! The ice was so bad down at the Small Boat Harbour that Monty slipped and hurt himself getting out of the car. I haven’t heard Monty cry more than 2 or 3 other times in his life 🙁 He’s okay now.

No white Christmas for Skagway, Alaska?
The owners of The Station Restaurant and Bar and Morning Wood Hotel have started a very large expansion which will have a bar with no food service, and motel rooms. It’s always great to see a well-run business do well. My lunch there was excellent as always.

The Station Restaurant and Bar and Morning Wood Hotel, Skagway, Alaska
With sunset coming at 3:47, we didn’t dawdle in Skagway, and were back on the road north just before 1:00 pm Yukon time. This is the view northbound along Tutshi Lake just south of the beach the dogs and I play at.

Tutshi Lake, BC in the winter
The light was perfect for shooting HDR images (High Dynamic Range), and I did a few on the way home. This shows the beach we play at.

HDR image of Tutshi Lake, BC in the winter
The mostly-frozen waterfalls below the Venus mine were even more beautiful than the last time I was down, and I spent a few minutes shooting there.

Frozen waterfall along the South Klondike Highway, Yukon
The peaks above those waterfalls are always worthy of note as well.

Dramatic peaks along along the South Klondike Highway, Yukon
Bove Island in HDR.

HDR image of Bove Island, Yukon
With a bit of daylight left, we stopped in at Carcross and went for a short walk to make sure that Monty was okay.

Carcross is a very quiet place in the winter, but it’s a great stop for any photographer.

We got home about 20 minutes before sunset. The days may be short, but they can be as wonderful as the longer ones 🙂


Even the Darkest Days in the Yukon are Beautiful — 11 Comments

  1. Murray you take the best pictures I really enjoy stopping by now and then and look at what you are up to. Thanks for the getaway!

  2. Murray, I hope you don’t mind, but that HDR image of Tutshi lake was so beautiful I had to use it for my desktop picture. I can no longer drive anymore as my health is deteriorating at a rapid pace, but all your pictures and videos bring back many memories I had of the northern country when I used to deliver trucks to Norcan in Whitehorse from Edmonton.
    Thanks for all your road trips, I follow them all…regards Ron

  3. I also love “traveling” the road with you. Fantastic picture of Bove Island (and all the rest). If I was driving that road in those conditions, I wouldn’t make it 50 yards!!

  4. great site Murray. I’ve bookmarked your site and will refer to it for four years in preparation for my four month family trip in canada in 2018

  5. Great pictures as always Murray and love the one of the beach and the ones of Bella & Monty, what a happy team they make. Wish all 4 of you a wonderful Holiday season filled with great moments with friends and family. Maureen

  6. + to all the comments…… and particularly enjoyed the video….I can’t remember when I was last in snow !, maybe UK/Scotland in late 80’s early 90’s.

  7. Merry Christmas Murray from Chios.Watching the video above i was thinking that you are driving too fast,having in mind the road conditions!Allthough you are used to drive with snow or ice,maybe (?)you`ll have to be more carefull!!!

  8. Always appreciate being allowed to ride along on your and the pooches adventures… still looking for the Subaru!