A late-Fall hike in the White Pass with the dogs

On Saturday, my friend Karla and I decided to take advantage of the continuing beautiful Fall weather for a hike in the White Pass. As well as my dogs Bella and Tucker, and Karla’s little dog Meeko, I was baby-sitting my former foster Klee for the weekend (see that amazing fostering adventure here), so we had a good Jeep-full of fur πŸ™‚

The weather forecast called for wind and perhaps a bit of rain, so I picked a sheltered trail, Bryant Lake, which is right above Fraser, where the Canadian border crossing is located.

We got away from Whitehorse just after 09:00, and by 10:15 when I made the first brief photo stop, we were in the pass between Windy Arm and Tutshi Lake on the South Klondike Highway.

Snowy peaks along the South Klondike Highway, Yukon
Fifteen minutes later, the light was so wonderful at Log Cabin that we spent a few minutes shooting. The grass, the WP&YR rail line, and the snowy, storm-lashed peaks behind offered plenty of opportunities.

Late Fall light at Log Cabin on the South Klondike Highway, BC
The White Pass & Yukon Route has lots of work going on, on track maintenance and upgrades, but the tourist trains stopped a month ago.

Late Fall light at Log Cabin on the WP&YR railway
On October 17th, cannabis use became legal in Canada. It’s also legal in Alaska, but it can’t be carried across the border, so signs have been installed to warn about that rule that some people may not expect. This sign is at Log Cabin, so people have lots of warning and an easy place to turn around if necessary.

No cannabis at border crossings
I decided to go past the Bryant Lake trailhead to have a look at the new bridge construction. The light for the final climb up to the White Pass summit was certainly dramatic.

Early winter in the White Pass, BC
The new William Moore Bridge was supposed to be finished by the end of August, but it’s not nearly finished yet, and crews appear to be gone for the winter.

The new William Moore Bridge north of Skagway
We drove back to Summit Lake, and decided to give the dogs a good rip down on the beach before taking them on the more confined trail. They had plenty of exploring to do on the walk to the lake.

Dogs exploring on the short trail to Summit Lake on the South Klondike Highway, BC
They got way ahead of us and quickly made it clear that the beach was a great idea. Meeko in particular was quickly soaked, dirty, and happy πŸ™‚

Dogs playing at Summit Lake on the South Klondike Highway, BC
Tucker loves being chased, and Klee was game for that. The lake level was extremely high and the beach was extremely small, but there was still plenty of room for fun.

Dogs playing at Summit Lake on the South Klondike Highway, BC
“Rocket Man” showing off just how fast he is! πŸ™‚

My dog Tucker running at Summit Lake on the South Klondike Highway, BC
Klee and Bella after the initial energy was burned off. The wind was quite strong and very cold at the lake.

Dogs at Summit Lake on the South Klondike Highway, BC
I love being able to put a smile like that on that little girl’s face.


Okay, it’s noon – back in the car and let’s go find a trail. The cover we bought for the back of the Jeep makes wet and sandy dogs no problem.

4 dogs in Cathy's Jeep Cherokee
At 12:40 we were well up the trail to Bryant Lake. We brought leashes in case any of the kids didn’t stay with us, but they were all being great.

The trail to Bryant Lake, BC
Cookie time. By this point we were out of the worst of the wind, but it was damp and cold.

The trail to Bryant Lake, BC
Just before reaching Bryant Lake, there’s a creek to be crossed. I had expected the high country to be frozen and the creek to be low enough to cross easily, but that wasn’t the case.

The trail to Bryant Lake, BC
Klee crossed on the water line that supplies Fraser, but Karla and I decided that with the weather closing in, the lake itself wasn’t that important, so called her back. She wasn’t nearly as confident on the return crossing! πŸ™‚

The trail to Bryant Lake, BC
The sun was trying hard to make an appearance as we walked back down towards the highway. I had to put Klee on a leash for the last half-hour or so, as her explorations had gotten too ambitious, beyond my comfort level.

The trail from Bryant Lake, BC
Along the trail were some of the healthiest looking lichens and fungi I’ve seen in a long time, and I spent a while shooting them.


These are British soldiers lichen (Cladonia cristatella).


Karla captured this shot of me hard at work photographing lichen, with my attentive assistants standing by in case I need help πŸ™‚

Murray Lundberg photographing lichen in the White Pass
We got back to the Jeep just before 2:00, made the quick crossing at Customs, then made a photo stop to capture the great light on the peaks beyond Tormented Valley.

Snowy peaks at Tormented Valley in the White Pass
My new EF 100-400mm lens allowed a close look at the crags of Dail Peak. On the lower slopes, we saw dozens of Dall sheep and mountain goats.

Dail Peak, Yukon

Dail Peak, Yukon
The 1906 Venus silver mine workings, seen from the highway with the long lens.

The 1906 Venus silver mine workings above the South Klondike Highway
At Pooley Canyon, there were more mountain goats, these ones low enough to get decent photos of. In total, we saw nearly 60 Dall sheep and mountain goats in about 15 minutes.

Mountain goats above Pooley Canyon on Montana Mountain, Yukon
Just before we reached the Bove Island viewpoint, a hot spot from the Windy Arm wildfire flared up. I find it quite incredible that it’s still going after almost 3 months, especially with the rain we’ve had recently.


That turned out to be a wonderful day – the weather was a minor issue. The weather forecast is calling for a few more warm, sunny days, so we just may get out again before the white stuff starts to limit our options – perhaps even in the White Pass again.




Comments

A late-Fall hike in the White Pass with the dogs — 18 Comments

  1. Great pictures Murray and what beautiful sceneries. Thanks for sharing as always. Klee has a little something about her that makes me think of Monty.

  2. Wonderful scenery and wildlife! I never get tired of seeing the whole area, it brings back memories of time spent all over Montana Mtn. in the early to mid sixties.
    Thank you for sharing.

  3. Hi Murray. I discovered your blog as we were preparing for our own Northern BC and Yukon adventure this past Sept. unfortunately I only had a time to read a few of them before we left but have been thoroughly enjoying them now we are home. So great to revisit so many of the places we saw and to learn so much about them.
    We had an AMAZING trip and were overwhelmed at how incredibly beautiful it was up there. Hoping to return again next year!

    Have a question for you. Have tried to subscribe to your blog. Did it on a couple of your older posts but I am still not getting notifications. I think maybe because when yo do it that way it is keyword specific pertaining to that specific post. But the last one I subscribed to was exactly on that topic (from a few years ago where you noted that it was keyword specific and had two boxes – one more specific to that blog and a second that was more general). But still nothing.
    Is there some way or place I can go to subscribe to all postings made?

    Again thanks so much for keepin this up. I know how much time these things take to keep up and maintain. Am SO enjoying reading all of your exploits and seeing your lovely photos!

  4. Still getting caught up on past posts and was just reading your sad post about Monty. So very sorry!

    But in it I saw in it that you got him on your birthday on Oct 27, which was yesrteday, so just wanted to wish you Happy birthday!

  5. Sorry to be posting out of order like this but am having so much fun going through your old posts!
    Just reading through your Ft Steel one. Such a small world. Was thrilled to see you mention their Chantecler chickens, which they actually got from me.
    I originally brought them out from QC after a trip there to attend a Canadian Horse meeting.
    The Canadian Horse is another heritage Canadian breed and is our β€œNational Horse of Canada”. Just to tie this back to the Yukon, apparently the Tagish Carcross nation just brought a couple of them up there within the past month or so. Perhaps a good topic for one of your next adventures? πŸ™‚

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