Meeting Wolves instead of Sandy

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).

A dreary day in Whitehorse

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…

Hurricane Sandy approaching NE States

…I was able to just look at and decide to drive to the sunshine again – just because I can. As it turned out, I got much more than sunshine.

Weather forecast for Skagway, Alaska

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.

South Klondike Highway

I could see lots of fog ahead at Carcross, but it might not extend too far.

South Klondike Highway

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.

Carcross retail village construction

But, controversial or not, there’s a bunch of money being spent. This is the view of the project from the Tutshi memorial.

Carcross retail village construction

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.

Venus silver mine mill 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.

Peaks above Goat Lake, Alaska

There were lots of harbor seals fishing at the mouth of the Skagway River.

Harbor seals fishing at the mouth of the Skagway River

Work on the $10 million Skagway Small Boat Harbor improvement project is well underway.

Skagway Small Boat Harbor improvement project

With strong winds and bitter cold, clearing the old docks was a nasty job.

Skagway Small Boat Harbor improvement project

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.

Summit Lake

Looking back up Summit Lake to the south.

Summit Lake

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.

Frozen Summit Lake

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.

Skating on Summit Lake, South Klondike Highway

The Thompson River was worth a quick photo stop.

Thompson River, South Klondike Highway

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.

The Fraser water tower on the WP&YR line

Another of my “usual” photo stops was irresistible.

The spectacular South Klondike Highway

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.

Wolves in the Yukon

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.

A wolf in the Yukon

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.

Wolves in the Yukon

The light was so perfect that I made a few more mountain-photo stops along Tutshi Lake and Windy Arm.

Peaks along Tutshi Lake, BC

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.


Meeting Wolves instead of Sandy — 8 Comments

  1. Beautiful photo’s as always Murray! Is there anywhere I can read more about the “controversial” building going on in Carcross that you mentioned.


  2. Thanks Murray…interesting concept and I hope that Carcross is successful in any venture that promotes the beautiful area and helps to sustain those that live there year round. It would be my home if I had a job and home! Maybe buying a new condo is in order!
    Hope you and Cathy are well rested from your trip and enjoying the Yukon winter…your pictures make me miss it more…sigh!

  3. Hi There, Neal gave hubby and I your link —and I am so glad I checked it out… Fabulous pictures from a terrific part of the world!!!!!

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. Your blog was recommended by a friend, and your photographs are even better than Neal said they were. I enjoyed the ride in search of sunshine, and I look forward to seeing more of your beautiful north.

  5. Murray, as you can see I recommended your blog to a couple friends of mine. I have always enjoyed your blog even though I may not always leave a comment. This morning I was trying to find a previous blog of yours to show them….it was the one last year where you had a couple movies of those old locomotives (steam engines) clearing the snow off the track…I believe the Whitehorse pass. I didn’t know what to search on so I never did find it and I didn’t have time to go back through all of them.

  6. Hi Murray,
    we met at the Hotel Basel in Switzerland before our trip in the River Queen. The Aussies in a party of five from Melbourne. We have just enjoyed our trip all over again thanks to your wonderful blog. I have you on my bookmark and will keep an eye out for your future blogs. Your country looks as wild and wonderful as ours but in a totally different way. Many thanks for the return trip,
    Lesley and Owen

  7. I’m catching up on some old stuff in my feed reader. Wow, amazing trip! Those wolves are fantastic. Thanks for sharing your drive.