A quick barely-Winter trip to Skagway

I had to go to Skagway on Thursday (November 10th), and once I was on the road it felt like a very long time since I’d been there. Although I’d spent several days hiking in the White Pass this past summer, I don’t seem to have made it right to the coast since taking the bike down in late August.

On the way down, I was watching for a long string of old WP&YR railcars that have been stored at Carcross for many years, having heard that they were being moved to Skagway. They were at Fraser according to the last report I heard, but the lines were empty there.

The weather has been very mild lately, and there’s also very little snow. It was +6°C (43°F) when I left Whitehorse at about 09:00, and stayed close to that right to the White Pass summit where it had dropped to +1/34 and was snowing lightly.

White Pass summit in mid-November
I made the stop at the Skagway post office that was the reason for my trip, then went on a search for the railcars. I found them at the Railroad Dock. The temperature was back up to 6/43, but it was i>very dark, and raining heavily, so I didn’t get all the photos or even the list of the cars that I was hoping for.

Derelict rail cars at the Railroad Dock in Skagway
Most of the cars are tankers that haven’t been used in many years, but there are also some small flatcars and ballast cars. I expect that they’re going to be broken up for the usable parts – in particular the trucks (the axle/wheel assemblies), as narrow-gauge trucks are nearly impossible to find anymore.

Derelict rail cars at the Railroad Dock in Skagway
A quick stop at the White Pass Shops on the way out of town at 11:20. On May 2, 2017, the first of these locomotives will start taking people up to the summit again.

Locomotives at the White Pass Shops in Skagway
Mixed rain and snow at Mile 14 of the South Klondike Highway, with small avalanches coming down the cliffs. Yuch!

Mixed rain and snow at Mile 14 of the South Klondike Highway
At the 3,292-foot summit, Mile 14.4, the snow was starting to stick and the temperature was -1C, but the road was soon wet again.

Snow at the summit of the South Klondike Highway
Dail Peak, near the BC/Yukon border, was the best place to take a shot to show you how little snow there is yet.

Time to get this posted and get outside. There’s some cold weather coming in a few days (highs around -15C/+5F), and I want to get Christmas lights up on the house, as my daughter is coming for a visit over the holidays 🙂


A quick barely-Winter trip to Skagway — 3 Comments

  1. Always surprised at the change in climate/zones from your home to Skagway…fascinating.

    • it’s pretty cool being able to drive to Spring, or at least out of Winter, at times. And for people in Skagway, clear skies are often not far away 🙂