A drive looking for sunshine yesterday turned into a day I will never forget when I met a pack of wolves along the South Klondike Highway.
It was really dull and dreary yesterday morning, and far colder than “normal” (whatever that means now) at -18°C (0°F).
But some days, it’s much easier to put things into perspective than others. While a couple of nieces and many friends are preparing for Hurricane Sandy to hit…
…I was able to just look at Weather.com and decide to drive to the sunshine again – just because I can. As it turned out, I got much more than sunshine.
As it turned out, I was in the sunshine just a couple of miles from home. This is the South Klondike Highway a mile south of the Alaska Highway.
I could see lots of fog ahead at Carcross, but it might not extend too far.
At Carcross, I stopped to see how the new retail village is coming along. Very recently, it wasn’t clear that it would happen at all – it’s a very controversial project.
But, controversial or not, there’s a bunch of money being spent. This is the view of the project from the Tutshi memorial.
I’ve see a few vehicles at the 1970s Venus silver mine mill site that make me think that it’s going to be demolished if the money can be found, so I stopped to get a few more photos of that site.
I didn’t get back into the sunshine until reaching Fraser. These are the peaks above Goat Lake, heading down the hill to Skagway.
There were lots of harbor seals fishing at the mouth of the Skagway River.
Work on the $10 million Skagway Small Boat Harbor improvement project is well underway.
With strong winds and bitter cold, clearing the old docks was a nasty job.
My thoughts of possibly going hiking were changed by the wind, and we headed back up the hill instead. We met a moose just as we started up the hill – a very unusual sighting. Summit Lake, seen in the next photo, was completely open when Cathy and I were down on Sunday, but now it’s almost all frozen.
Looking back up Summit Lake to the south.
The ice looked rather interesting so the dogs and I went down for a look. Monty wasn’t too sure what to make of the clear ice, and Kayla would only walk on the ice that had a snow cover.
Tom arrived right after us, and laced up his new skates for a few loops around the unmarked skating rink on his way home to Haines. He said that there are a few bumps but it’s a pretty good surface.
The Thompson River was worth a quick photo stop.
I stopped at the creek at Fraser to play with some long-exposure water shots – this was shot at 1/13th of a second.
The WP&YR line is quiet for a few months now.
Another of my “usual” photo stops was irresistible.
Near the south end of Tutshi Lake, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing – two wolves trotting down the side of the highway! My camera was still on long-exposure-water settings from another stop along the Tutshi River, and luckily I noticed that the click of the shutter didn’t sound right as I started shooting.
I was still scrambling trying to change several settings on the camera as a third wolf came up from behind me as the car was still moving slowly.
With the camera set properly, I was able to get a few more shots before the 3 wolves drifted off into the forest. The reaction from Monty and Kayla was very different than it is when we see any other wildlife. Normally they’re very excited and noisy, but there was barely a sound from either of them. After the wolves had vanished I opened a window for the dogs, and they both sniffed long and deeply, trying to get every molecule of scent from the wolves. I’ve seen a fair number of wolves over the years, but nothing like this – this was an encounter I’ll never forget. [Edit: in February 2016, I posted an article about my 3 best wolf encounters in northern BC.
The light was so perfect that I made a few more mountain-photo stops along Tutshi Lake and Windy Arm.
I went down the side road to Conrad looking for photo ops – not too inspiring, but the water frozen on this old tramway bucket rack was rather cool.
My sunshine-search day turned into something far more special than I ever thought possible. And back East, Hurricane Sandy continues to wreak havoc – I wish everyone a safe journey through that event.