A Spectacular Winter Drive, and Getting Ready for a Tour

I went to Skagway yesterday on a bitterly cold but 10/10 day, and today I’m getting ready to pick up a group of people from Ontario. This afternoon, we start 12 days of touring the Yukon and a bit of Alaska, with the Yukon Quest sled dog race being the primary focus.

First, though, a puppy picture 🙂 Bella may be growing up physically but she’s still just a baby in many ways. She loves having a “soother” when she wakes up, and this giraffe stuffie is one of her favourites.

The temperature was sitting at -34°C (-29°F) and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky when I left home just before 10:30 yesterday. The temperature bottomed out at Robinson (as is often the case) at -36C (-33F), and had warmed up 1 degree at Emerald Lake.

Emerald Lake, Yukon, at -35 degrees
From the fog at Bove Island, it appears that there was still open water until last night.

Fog at Bove Island, Yukon, at -34 degrees
Ptarmigan Point stopped me as it often does. This was shot and processed as an HDR image. The temperature was climbing much slower than I had expected – it was still -29C here (-20F).

Ptarmigan Point on the South Klondike Highway
I didn’t stay in Skagway for long – although it was beautiful, it was still -9°C (+16F) and windy, so a short walk was enough. Both the gulls and harbour seals seemed to be enjoying both the sunshine and some sort of dining experience at the mouth of the Skagway River.

gulls and harbour seals at Skagway
There were a lot of ore trucks on the highway – I probably met a dozen on my way north. I expect that there was a blockage at the mine (from the recent heavy snow is my guess) and they’re running hard to catch up now. The one in the distance is seen from Km 50.4.

Ore truck on the South Klondike Highway
We made our usual stop at Tutshi Lake, but it, too, was a short stop. The humidity must be very high, judging both by how cold it felt, and by the thick frost-feathers on everything.

This is the motorcycle jacket I went to Skagway to pick up. Now I’d like to get some good use out of it by having Mother Nature raise the temperature 130 degrees Fahrenheit (the forecast was for a wind chill of -62F yesterday morning). 130 degrees warmer to get comfortable – that’s a bit bizarre, isn’t it?

Murray's new motorcycle jacket
There’s a lot to do to get ready for a tour like this, both physically and mentally. Among the many jobs was buying thermos bottles for each guest and washing them. Hot liquids will be very welcome at the temperatures we’re going to be travelling in.

Getting Thermos bottles ready for a winter tour
By 10:00 this morning I had picked up one of the vans, the luggage trailer, and special Yukon Quest jackets for each of our guests. After a photo stop at the SS Klondike, it was home to load more gear, mostly in the vehicle care and emergency categories.

Journeys by Van Dyke tour van at the SS Klondike in Whitehorse at -33C

I’ve now got another van to pick up and get both to the airport for the group’s 3:05 arrival. Let the fun begin 🙂


A Spectacular Winter Drive, and Getting Ready for a Tour — 6 Comments

  1. Hi Murray, what a great idea touring the Yukon & Alaska having the Yukon Quest as focus ! Beautiful pictures….thanks love the one with Bove Island.

  2. Same here, hoping you are not too taken up with tour guide duties to miss out on your photo ops. Nice jacket, looks like you could fit a full electric liner underneath, gloves and chaps too…still, too cold is just too cold at those temps!

  3. Murray ,nice to hier from you ,many years ago I had a driver named Murray ( Atlas Tours ) Joe Becker )) when I escorted a tour of the Yukon & Alaska ,was that you ? I’m sure Jeremy will tell me all about it
    I love the way you do your log, with AMAZING pictures ,please keep it up

    • Hi Jerry. Great to “see” you here. Yes, that was me that you worked with when you chartered from Joe Becker 🙂

      Thanks for the compliment on the blog – I definitely will keep it up. It’s warmed up to -28C so in a few minutes I’m joining some of our guests for a half-mile walk down to Front Street to watch the next musher come in – photos to follow 🙂

  4. Thanks for the thermos, they came in handy a few times. Think about you every time I use mine,