With gorgeous weather forecast, Saturday was another South Klondike Highway exploring-and-photography day. But this time I had lots of company – Cathy, my niece Bobbie, and 2 enthusiastic huskies 🙂
Our first stop was going to be at the silver-mining ghost town of Conrad, but even at 10:00am the townsite was still in deep shadow so we turned back to the highway and continued south. The colours along the access road to Conrad, with Montana Mountain behind, were wonderful, though.
Just south of the Yukon-BC border we made another photo stop.
The reflections at Ptarmigan Point were near perfect.
One of the season’s last trains was unloading passengers at Fraser. There are only 2 ships coming into Skagway after today, both on Tuesday.
Bobbie wanted to hike into a waterfall at the White Pass summit, and as I hadn’t been over there in many years, I agreed, though I warned her that it’s not as easy as it might look. The waterfall is called International Border Falls in The Milepost, but I think that’s just a made-up name, as I’ve also heard it called International Falls and Boundary Falls – I prefer Boundary because it’s simple.
The “trail” down the steep slope from the highway got too extreme for both Cathy and Kayla, so they went back up to a scenic spot and watched our progress. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the creek crossing that I remember as being almost waist deep was only about a foot deep, and we were at the waterfall within about 20 minutes of leaving the car.
It is a beautiful spot. I was tempted to wade into the pool but the rocks were extremely slippery.
It was a great spot for a portrait of Bobbie and I and my adventure-loving but pooped-out pooch 🙂
Crossing the creek on the way back to the car. There’s another creek crossing between here and the falls – my sport sandals were much better for this trail than Bobbie’s runners.
Monty raced ahead of Bobbie and I to join the rest of the family. A short but excellent hike – the temptation to go further was huge, though, and if Cathy and Kayla hadn’t been waiting, it’s hard to say where we might have ended up.
We spent a while shopping for end-of-the-season deals on clothes in Skagway, but didn’t find much of interest, so had an excellent lunch at the Starfire Thai restaurant and headed north. We went back to Conrad, which was beautifully lit up now. This is the ruins of the terminus of the main aerial tramway, at the dock where supplies and ore were transferred from a sternwheeler or barge to the tramway, or vice-versa.
Ahhhh – water doesn’t get any finer than this! Nobody lives between us and the glaciers and snowfields that feed Tagish Lake – it’s crystal clear and icy cold.
Somehow this building is only very slowly collapsing, but a recently-snapped corner post may mean that it will come down next winter, 106 years after being built.
There are some excellent spots to camp at Conrad, this being my choice for the best. This is right at the public dock for the town of 500 people that existed here to serve Colonel Conrad’s silver mines. Finding this dock by scuba diving (it’s now all underwater) was key to my understanding of how the town was laid out – some day over beers I’ll tell you that story 🙂
The other surviving building at Conrad, the mine company’s cookhouse, is only standing because the roof was apparently taken off (for materials to roof another building?).
The cookhouse made the perfect spot for another portrait, of Cathy and I.
Our great weather appears to be coming to an end tomorrow, so that may well be the last Fall colors outing – it was a fine way to end the season.
I’ve been getting some messages from people wondering if Cathy and I are planning on leaving the Yukon, because of the fact that I’m not guiding tours anymore and the Carcross cabin is for sale. No, we’re not leaving, just re-focusing. There’s a whole lot more to explore in the North, and we’re setting ourselves up to see all of it together. So you’ll be seeing even more of this little corner of the world in my photos in coming months and years.