Great Light for a Drive to Skagway

An hour after getting home from my 12-hour, 538-kilometer aurora-viewing drive to Kluane Lake, I was back on the road to Skagway. I had an exciting eBay win to pick up at the post office, and hey, it was sunny – what more reason do I need? 🙂

Starting down the South Klondike at 09:40, 32 minutes after sunrise.
South Klondike Highway on a winter morning
Bove Island. The 90%-plus humidity has resulted in a lot of fog and low cloud, which in turn has resulted in some wonderful hoar frost along the highway.
Bove Island, on the South Klondike Highway, Yukon
This view of Tutshi Lake had a dramatic contrast between the light and dark areas, so worked nicely as an HDR image, combining 3 images shot at different exposures.
Tutshi Lake in the winter
The light was wonderful, and I found myself stopping a lot. The low clouds and blue shadow with the winding gold road here got a few shots.
South Klondike Highway, BC
Some interesting patterns have formed in the lake ice.
Patterns on a frozen lake
After my long night on the road I wasn’t feeling particularly energetic, but after picking up my mail I got a few shots of the WP&YR’s first locomotive, #52 (originally #2), which was recently moved to a position of honour beside the rotary snow plow on one of the most visible pieces of property in Skagway.
WP&YR steam locomotive #52
This 2-6-0 engine was built by Brooks Locomotive Works in 1881 for the Utah & Northern Railroad; it was sold in 1890 to Columbia & Puget Sound and sold again in 1898 to the WP&YR. After working the main line for many years, in 1931 it was moved to Taku to run on a 2½-mile long line connecting Tagish Lake and Atlin Lake. On the Atlin Lake side, the steamboat M/V Tarahne would carry guests to and from the railway’s large and luxurious Atlin Inn.
WP&YR steam locomotive #52
Broadway after the end of another cruise ships season – calm again! 🙂
Skagway in the winter
A deep cold last week froze all the waterfalls, but temperatures slightly above freezing have got the water flowing again.
Winter waterfall in Alaska's White Pass
Waterfalls fascinate me, especially when there’s ice as well as water.
Winter waterfall near Skagway, Alaska
Hoar frost and spectacular peaks – it’s quite a drive.
South Klondike Highway, BC

I was back home by 2:30, and went straight to bed without opening my prize package. When I got up, though, opening it was my first priority.

This collection from the estate of Francois S. Brodeur was what had me so excited. He was a member of Company A, 340th Engineers and served on the Alaska Highway and in the Pacific. The two lower books were printed specifically for 340th members – “Lower Post or Freeze” is one of the rarest of construction-era books and I’ve been looking for a copy for many years – it has scores of photos I’ve never seen before. The letter is a 1978 letter of sympathy to his widow, signed by the governor of Rhode Island.

[Nov. 20 edit – I’ve started to put some of the significant information from “Lower Post or Freeze” online – first, the unit history on the Alcan project, and photos and names of every member that served in the regiment on that project (over 1,200). It starts with the history here.]

My “to-do” list seems a mile long at the moment – it’s tough to set the right priorities at times. But, I’ll see what I can get accomplished today. Isn’t retirement supposed to be when you sit back and watch TV a lot? 🙂


Great Light for a Drive to Skagway — 7 Comments

  1. Oh wow, beautiful photos Murray! I wish I had seen Skagway that quiet – it looks so nice in the picture. Do they really still have cruise ships at this time of year?!

  2. What a great drive! Your photos are, as always, breathtaking and always look forward to my Yukon fix!!

  3. whew…i checked this site yesterday and it looked so different and there was no comment spots….this looks updated but similar, with comments 🙂

  4. Thanks as always for sharing and your enthusiasm too! The contrast again between the drive and the destination in Skagway is astonishing, like two worlds. Your ebay prize reminded me that I still have ‘work to do’ on my reading list.

  5. Hello Murray…stopped by your carcross cabin during the third week of august..
    you were not there…was traveling via motorhome with my three children,
    their spouses, my wife and I….we were on very tight schedule as we traveled
    from anchorage to homer…then denali and the klondike loop…I hope you and Kathy are doing well…I will catch you next time through…bob

    • Happy New Year, Bob. Sorry we missed you – I was in Phoenix picking up a new motorhome. I’m rather amused by your comment that we weren’t at the cabin – no mention of the fact that even the cabin wasn’t there! We sold the cabin in the Spring of 2013, and the new owners immediately bulldozed it. We’re in Mary Lake now, with lots of time in the new “cabin on wheels”.