From Winter to Spring – Whitehorse to Dyea

It’s that time of year when I love being able to drive to Spring. On Saturday, Cathy, Bobbie and I took advantage of a forecast sunny day to drive to Dyea, to get away from the snow for just a couple of hours.

I always take far fewer pictures when I have company, but the view down to Tutshi Lake was a must-stop, as it often is whether I have anyone with me or not.

Tutshi Lake, BC
I worship the sun this time of year. In mid-winter it’s a cold white orb that adds little or no heat to my world. Now, it’s adding 20 degrees C (35 degrees F) or more, bringing the night-time low of -25 or so up to near the freezing point.

Lodgepole in the Spring sun - Tutshi Lake, BC
This couple was just heading out to do some snowshoeing on the frozen surface of Tutshi Lake. Their charming dog, Kodi, seemed to be unaffected by losing an eye to a porcupine 3 years ago. A few days ago, a friend’s puppy lost an eye when he ran into a stick – I hope he has the same spirit.

Snowshoeing on Tutshi Lake, BC
There are some impressive cornices down Fraser way. Rescue crews must cringe when they see these conditions. The next day, 3 people were caught in an avalanche north of Haines . That’s not very far from here, so no doubt has similar conditions.

Snow cornices near Fraser, BC

Snow cornices near Fraser, BC
Conditions for snowmobiling were simply superb in the White Pass, and I was surprised to see relatively few people out enjoying the day. Many people of the snowmobile-level-income persuasion may have left the territory for Spring break.

Snowmobiles in the White Pass, Alaska

Snowmobiles in the White Pass, BC
There were lots of skiers out, though – the slopes were tracked everywhere! The folks at posted a couple of photos on their Facebook page of the view looking down from the upper reaches that day. The photo below was shot right at the White Pass summit.

Skiers in the White Pass, BC
I stopped to get some more detail photos of the rebuilt ballast cars at Skagway. This photo shows clearly how narrow “narrow gauge” is.

Rebuilt ballast cars for the WP&YR
We were very surprised to see a great deal of heavy construction going on along the Dyea Road. There’s both widening and re-routing being done – both involve blasting large amounts of granite.

Construction on the Dyea Road, Alaska
A look at the road rebuilding from the Dyea tidal flats.

Construction on the Dyea Road, Alaska
We all love Dyea. Getting here brings out the “aaahhhhh” of appreciation for a job well done, Mother Nature 🙂

Dyea, Alaska
The 115-year-old pilings from one of the wharves that served the Klondike gold rush stampeders.

Dyea, Alaska
In just a few weeks, this will be a fairly busy spot, with people rafting the Taiya River and hiking the Chilkoot Trail.

Taiya River, Alaska
On the way home, we got delayed for 50 minutes here while crews cleaned up a rockslide that had come down unexpectedly. A few miles further towards Skagway, some large rocks had fallen on the road since we came through, but traffic could get around them.

Construction on the Dyea Road, Alaska

A break like that makes a huge difference to me in terms of being able to deal with Winter. Even making it a few hours shorter counts 🙂 Now, we have days and days more sunshine forecast, so I’m heading back outside!


From Winter to Spring – Whitehorse to Dyea — 6 Comments

  1. Hi Murray, I am somewhat surprised by such little amount of snow id Dyea; can you explain ? Great pictures, as always ! Thanks

  2. Thanks 🙂 Southeast Alaska typically doesn’t get much snow, and they’re already rapidly getting into Spring temperatures so much of what was there has melted.

  3. aaahhhhhh….dyea…and the drive to skagway. i’m so glad you share your journey with us.

  4. The last time I was in Dyea there was a grizzly bear fishing for salmon in the river, it did not seem to be bothered by all the people also fishing 200 feet from it . Great photos

  5. Wow, I almost missed this one. Sure glad I decided to go back. For some reason I saw the first picture and thought it was your drive out the Alcan Highway and I had already seen it. More impressive pictures I must say. 🙂