A weather forecast showing sunshine in Skagway was all the encouragement I needed to hit the road again yesterday – sunshine in Skagway doesn’t happen very often in the winter!
The first photo was shot at 10:14, 15 minutes after sunrise, just north of Carcross, with the temperature at -8°C (+17°F).
Our first stop was at the “Carcross Desert“, just for a run for the dogs and a bit of photography for me, as the morning light was rather interesting.
The world is a race track for Monty! 🙂 We believe Monty to be a Seppala Siberian Sleddog – this was a breeding project initiated by Yukoner J. Jeffrey Bragg about 20 years ago. Although the project is dead and the Web site has gone, the link goes to an archived version of Bragg’s very interesting site from 2009. His Web site now summarizes the project’s end: “This naïve attempt to stay the inevitable processes of time was at first ignored, later imitated and hijacked, and finally abandoned by its founder once he became convinced that the dedication, commitment, energy and loyalty necessary to perpetuate the SSSD vision were not to be found in sufficient measure in postmodern society.” If Monty did indeed come from your line, Jeffrey, nice work!
It’s hard to believe from this photo that Kayla is 13 years old, which is quite old for a husky. Today she’s suffering for yesterday’s enthusiasm, though – she won’t be moving off her memory-foam bed much, I’m sure. 🙁
I was very surprised to find when I reached Carcross that the highway was closed. There was nothing in the weather to suggest that that might be a possibility, so I hadn’t checked 511yukon.ca. However, there were two trucks waiting there, so it seemed like a safe bet that it would be a short closure for avalanche clearing or control, so I did a bit of wandering around town to kill time.
Mornings like this always bring back fond memories of the 7 years I lived a few hundred yards up Lake Bennett from this spot.
The long-abandoned historic cabins along the Nares River waterfront are slowly crumbling.
The view down Lake Bennett from the viewing deck above the main beach.
I drove up to the gate at Km 98.3 (7 km south of Carcross) knowing that it would still be closed, but I didn’t have any photos of it closed. As it turned out, I had a pleasant conversation there with a couple from Skagway that I had previously only known from email conversations.
At 11:25, Highways opened the gate and we all continued our journey. I was in no hurry, so I pulled over and let the two trucks by.
Beautiful light on Lime Mountain.
This 3-minute video shows the highway as I drove through the Venus Mine area, from about Km 87 to Km 82.
The weather was so warm, we got out a lot on this trip (it was still -8°C at this point). I wonder what smell caught both their attentions.
Although Tutshi Lake is all frozen over, the thick hoar frost from when there was open water still clings to the north side of the trees, though a wind has knocked it off the south side of most of them.
The view southbound at about Km 49.
The view southbound at Km 33.4, now under clear blue skies.
The windblown landscape at the same location as the photo above.
Looking down on Summit Lake.
A tough little tree growing on a tiny shelf on the granite just north of Skagway.
A good stockpile of fine gravel for sanding the hill up the White Pass is ready at the Highways yard at the bottom of the hill.
I said last week that this WP&YR railway car was going out for rebuilding. I then got an email from a friend who said that it was actually being scrapped, as the steel cars present maintenance problems that the wooden-bodied cars don’t have. However, it appears to have a different future, though I don’t know what yet – the fact that it’s being trucked up the highway is a pretty good indication that it isn’t going far, though – perhaps one of the transportation museums in Whitehorse, Fairbanks or Anchorage.
I picked up my mail, but the weather was far too nice to go home quickly, so we drove over to Dyea, and hiked into the Slide Cemetery, final resting place of many of the men killed in the April 3, 1898 “Palm Sunday Avalanche” on the Chilkoot Trail.
The headboards in the Slide Cemetery were replaced in the 1970s, but many are illegible and/or badly damaged now. They haven’t been maintained or replaced again largely because the previous work was so poorly done that it really isn’t known anymore who is buried there or exactly where.
We continued up the Taiya River valley as far as the West Creek bridge, took a few photos of the peaks and then headed back to Skagway to see if some long-overdue parcels had arrived during the day (no luck).
Evening light over the Taiya estuary, at 2:14pm local, 42 minutes before sunset.
The recent deep cold has resulted in extensive ice both on the Taiya River and floating in the channel.
The colours were simply superb, and allowed lots of time to enjoy them – this was shot at 2:22.
Back up in the White Pass at 3:01pm.
This is un-filtered, un-Photoshopped – the sky really looked like that at 4:08pm (there’s a one-hour time change between Canada and Alaska). Amazing work, Mother Nature!
I was surprised to see two people and their dogs skiing down a slope above the main rest area in the White Pass. It would be good exercise snowshoeing up that 🙂
Looking down on the Thompson River and the railway bridge that crosses it.
This was shot at Km 52 at 4:36pm.
Climbing up the hill from Tutshi Lake, I was surprised to see a moose. I stopped far back and shot this hand-held at at 1/2-second exposure – the camera over-exposed the shot but I left it to keep detail that I couldn’t see with my eyes.
And that was that – from the moose north it was too dark to take any more photos without a tripod.