Fall rains and a taste of Winter in August

Except for a spectacular May, this was a sad excuse for summer in the Yukon, and now it’s gone, replaced by a bit of winter in August. The Whitehorse area typically gets about 262 mm (10.3 inches) of precipitation per year (21.8 mm per month), but this year we got 35 mm in July, and a record 65mm of rain in August. Mushrooms are usually the first sign of Fall’s arrival, but our property has had lots of them growing since late July.

The thing that I like most about Fall is the colours. Not just the yellow and red leaves, but the colours of everything that are made vibrant by the rain. This photo shows Monty on one of his walks on the trail around our property. Despite some bad days, he’s still enthusiastic about his walks – when that stops, we know that things are very bad for him.

Our husky Monty on a Yukon forest trail
Mushrooms are one of my favourite Fall photo subjects. The variety is quite incredible, from delicate ones a tiny fraction of an inch across, to massive ones that are several inches across. I’d like to be able to put names to them, but have given up. Environment Yukon’s mushroom brochure says that “Learning to identify mushrooms can be a daunting task”, that there are thousands of species of mushrooms here, and that many are poisonous. Yes, it sure can be daunting, so I’m just going to enjoy photographing them without worrying about what type they are 🙂

Mushrooms in the Yukon
I’m often amazed by the power of mushrooms as they force their way to the surface.

Mushrooms in the Yukon
Moose nuggets must make a great home for a mushroom.

Mushroom in a bed of moose nuggets in the Yukon
Beyond mushrooms, the rains bring other things to life – even a ragged spider web can take on a special beauty.

Wet spider web in the Yukon
Looking closer at things like this lodgepole pine branch is easier when the mountains are hidden in clouds day after day.

Wet lodgepole pine
There aren’t many really vibrant colours yet, but the show of some fireweed is worthy of note, and many of the high country berry bushes are at their peak.

Fall colors of fireweed
Fall is always an extremely busy time, but I got most of my winter firewood supply in many weeks ago. I only have another 2 or 3 cords to split and stack, and it’s not a high priority. That thermometer has hit “0” and lower a few times already.

A winter firewood supply in the Yukon
It was rather a shock to wake up on August 31st to find the back yard looking like this!

August snow in Whitehorse, Yukon
The snow melted within a few hours, but it got me into a higher gear to get a few projects taken care of. The motorhome will be back on the road on Wednesday (September 9), taking me south on a month-long tour of BC and Alberta to visit family.

August snow in Whitehorse, Yukon
It’s a little disconcerting to see that snow is already hitting a few of the areas I’ll be going to, notably the Banff and Jasper areas. I’m not ready to spend $2,000 on snow tires for the motorhome, but I’m looking for a set of chains for possible emergency use. Chains for 19.5-inch tires seem to be hard to come by, though.

August snow west of Calgary
This map shows my route over the next month, heading south on the Alaska Highway and returning on the Stewart-Cassiar. The next time I post on the blog will probably be in Dawson Creek, a week from now.

Map of 30-day RV route through the Yukon, BC, and Alberta


Fall rains and a taste of Winter in August — 6 Comments

  1. I ordered chains for my 245/70-19.5″ tires from Anchorage. They ship in a flat rate box (great deal!). But you’re right, very hard to find.

  2. I went to Banff and Jasper for the first time in over forty years this past summer and loved it. I’m looking forward to seeing your pictures of autumn in the parks.

  3. Hi Murray….
    Got back from Haines about 3 weeks ago. Went up the Cassiar, great trip! Down the Alcan, very rough road construction around Muncho Lake. Slick if it rains.

  4. Really looking forward to your adventures and pics as the trip goes on and you have the opportunity to post. S/B interesting with the quick change of seasons.

  5. Finally have time to catch up on your blog! Speaking of weather, Winnipeg has had a long summer, but the rainfalls have been more like monsoons. No light sprinklings of rain or days of drizzles- we are talking rainfalls that the sewers can’t keep up with flooding out many underpasses, vehicles and homes and turning parking lots and streets into lakes that people got their canoes and kayaks out on! A very different summer for us as well.
    I have been on trips to Jasper and Banff this time of year and I have to say, it is my favorite time to be there. The beauty is breathtaking! You are well into your trip now, but have a safe one and I hope you and Cathy along with your furry family members have a wonderful trip!

    • It’s a very different world than it used to be, for sure – the term “normal weather” just doesn’t mean much anymore. A week into the trip now, in the Rockies, I’m most thankful that the crowds are less, because there are still a lot of people, a large percentage being Germans in motorhomes.