A family adventure day to Skagway

Cathy hasn’t joined the dogs and I on a adventure in a very long time, but on Friday she took the day off work to escort us to Skagway. Bella and Tucker are always happy to ride in Cathy’s Jeep Cherokee – it’s much more comfortable for them than my car.

We got off to a very late start, not leaving the house until a few minutes after 11:00. The sun had risen at 10:08, at it was -22°C when we started out.

It was soon apparent that some of the large lakes weren’t yet frozen, and there was a lot of fog down Carcross way.

Fog ahead on the South Klondike Highway in January
It’s difficult to capture in a photo, but I really like way the sun looks in fog.

Fog on the South Klondike Highway in January
By 11:34 it had warmed up to -14°C, and it was obvious that it was open water on Lake Bennett that was producing much of the fog.

Fog ahead on the South Klondike Highway in January
I wasn’t feeeling very good when we left home, so Cathy was driving. That gave me a chance to get some photos not normally available to me. I always like seeing and photographing semis and snowplows, though I do usually cringe at the thought of another rock hitting the windhield.

B-train fuel tanker on the South Klondike Highway in January

Snowplow on the South Klondike Highway in January

The new bridge across the Nares River at Carcross opened a few weeks ago, and the old wooden bridge is slowly being torn apart.

The new Nares River bridge on the South Klondike Highway in January
As we drove south from Carcross the fog dissipated, as Tagish Lake was frozen. At the Venus Mine, the weather was looking great ahead.

The historic Venus silver mine on the South Klondike Highway in January
We made our usual stop at Tutshi Lake to let the kids play for a few minutes. The amount of snow this year is extremely low.

Snowy peaks along Tutshi Lake in the far north of BC
Tutshi Lake was still open and some fog was forming, but a north wind blew it away quickly.

Tutshi Lake, BC - open water in January
I took the wheel when we left Tutshi Lake, and our next stop was at the White Pass summit. The next photo was shot right at the Canada-USA border.Β The wind was brutal – the wind chill must have been nearing -30, and there were no sledders or skiers. I processed the image as an HDR to bring out the detail.

The White Pass summit on a windy January day
Another DHDR image. The ground blizzard was pretty cool, if a bit disorienting.

Driving south from the White Pass summit on a windy January day
Once on the sea side of the summit, the temperature started climbing as usual. It was up to -10 as we descended towards the William Moore Bridge.

Driving south from the White Pass summit on a windy January day
Once out of the shelter of some curves in the valley, the north wind hit us and the ground blizzard got even better πŸ™‚

A ground blizzard on the South Klondike Highway on a windy January day

We got to Skagway at about 12:30 Alaska time (1:30 Yukon), had an excellent lunch at The Station, and by 1:30 were back on the road. I wasn’t feeling good again, so Cathy was driving and other than going over to the mouth of the Dyea River to see the seals that are aways fishing there, didn’t do any wandering.

There was no traffic on the highway other than semis and snow-clearing equipment, though a few vehicles were parked down in the sheltered forest areas – sledders and skiers. The reflection of the lights of the B-train fuel tanker in the next photo may give you an idea of the condition of the road – yes, thats ice.

B-train fuel tanker on the South Klondike Highway in January
Icy or not, it’s spectacularly beautiful in the winter.

The South Klondike Highway in the White Pass in January
Another snowplow doing some fine-tuning of the shoulder.

Snowplow on the South Klondike Highway in the White Pass in January
A grader and the rotary snowplow doing some heavy moving.

A grader and the rotary snowplow doing some heavy moving on the South Klondike Highway in the White Pass in January
The snow-clearing crews were sure busy this day.

Snowplow on the South Klondike Highway near Fraser in January
Clearing Customs at Fraser was quick and simple as usual.

Canada Customs at Fraser, BC
You can see the fog rising off Tutshi Lake in the next photo.

Tutshi Lake, BC - not frozen in January.
We stopped at Tutshi Lake again, to give both the dogs and me a break.

Tutshi Lake, BC - not frozen in January

My dog Tucker at Tutshi Lake, BC, in January

My dog Bella at Tutshi Lake, BC, in January

Driving back to the highway from the Tutshi Lake parking area.

Snowy peaks along Tutshi Lake, BC, in January
A final shot of Dail Peak. I slept much of the hour from here to home.

Dail Peak in January
This game cam was in my post office box at Skagway – now we can get some photos of the moose and other critters that pass through our property πŸ™‚

Our new game cam


Comments

A family adventure day to Skagway — 11 Comments

  1. Hi Murray, great pictures once again and I’m glad to see we are not the only onces not having that much snow this time of year. Here in Quebec City we usually already have over 100cm of fallen snow; this year a thin 35cm. Nice to see Tucker & Bella enjoying a ride with both of you. Cheers on !

    • Thanks Maureen. Is there a downside for you not getting much snow? For us, it feels good now but the ground and forests will be far too dry in the summer (and my well needs the water, too).

      • Hi Murray, the downside is that we have many ski resorts and althought they do make snow, natural snow is better, also, anybody who looks towards winter for snowshoeing…are still waiting for a good amount of freah stuff. We should get a 20cm to 30cm come sunday…we are all keeping our fingers crossed ! To give you an idea a regular winter will bring about 300 to 400 cm of snow….we are very far from that but things can change fast. Cheers.

  2. Hello Murry , Thanks again for the wonderland of pics . It just gets better and better each time we get to here from you . God bless all of you and maybe one day we shall meet each other .

  3. Hello there sir,
    Things are rather hot here in Australia. Send us some cold weather please. Great photos and text as usual. Sorry to hear about your poor health, get well soon. Spent a brilliant holiday some years back with my family in Vancouver, Banff, Calgary, Skagway, etc. We did a cruise on the Holland-America line from Vancouver up into Alaska, brilliant. Your photos and text keep it fresh in my mind, thank you. Hoping 2020 sees you in better health.
    Kind regards,
    Walter Houston.

  4. Yeah, I like reading about your adventures, too. Vicarious winter. The only kind we get down here near Los Angeles. Today I learned that fog forms on open lakes but not frozen ones. But what are those horizontal sticks about ten feet high across the roads for?

    • Those horizontal sticks are guides for snowplow operators – they’re in a safe spot where the stick is white, not safe where it’s red.

  5. mmmmm GORGEOUS! Sun shining thru fog has always made my eyes hurt and even tends to make me slightly sick at my stomach. I think it’s because my eyes can’t quite figure out what to focus on in those situations and the light also tends to be terribly bright even when you’re NOT looking directly into the sun. So getting a good photo must be tricky indeed. But wow! All your pictures are great but the one that you mention processing “as an HDR to bring out the detail” (whatever an HDR is!) and the one immediately following that absolutely blow me away. So stark and yet so beautiful in an other-worldly way.

    Thanks too for giving us another glimpse of the “kids.” They look like they’re having such fun playing in the snow! I’m afraid my fur-babies don’t even know what snow is.

  6. Outstanding pics – and we enjoy your adventures and interests always. Glad that you all got out for a day on the road…and you are having a good winter, weather wise.

    What huge contrasts of topography and weather for that great drive from your house across the pass and down into Alaska!

    In the NE USA where my family is, we are still waiting on our first real winter storm, (no snow, above average temperatures) so enjoyed more your travels and photos on this day.