Spring in the Yukon – Welcome, Visitors!

It’s supposed to be Spring even in the Yukon, and we have had a few really nice days. Yesterday, however, Father Winter returned in a big way. The snow began at about 5:00am and got quite heavy for a while.

By 8:30 I’d seen all I could handle and decided to go to Skagway for the day – “south to Alaska” where it’s warm! That looks like a nice day for a drive through the mountains, doesn’t it? ๐Ÿ™‚

Shortly after turning off the Alaska Highway, I ran into some construction. There was about a 10-minute delay to wait for a pilot car to lead us around this stretch of road that’s getting the BST (commonly called “chipseal”) renewed.

Emerald Lake is still frozen.

The temperature was between 1 and 3 degrees C all the way from Whitehorse to halfway down the hill to Skagway. By the time I reached Fraser at 10:20, though, the clouds were at least starting to break up.

The view across Summit Lake to the Sawtooth Range is always spectacular.

There’s lots of action in Skagway – last-minute building maintenance, and stores being stocked up for the start of the cruise season today (there were 2 ships in last week, but few shops open for the earliest ships which come in days apart).

There are tour buses coming in by barge.

There’s also lots of equipment coming in for a major dock expansion project – concrete hoppers and trucks, an industrial ambulance and smaller stuff.

This calm scene at the Ore Dock will be changing very soon.

Though it was warm and beautiful in Skagway, I didn’t stay long – I have a bad cold and didn’t want to be near anyone, so just picked up some motorcycle parts that were in and headed north again.

This storm on Nares Lake at Carcross was worth stopping for. There’s nothing open in Carcross yet – the Visitor Reception Centre got moved to a new building at the last second, and a day-long power outage made even it unuseable. I often tell people that booking an early cruise may be cheap, but this is a good example of what can happen weatherwise.

By the time I got home from Skagway it was raining, and it rained much of the night. I went in to Whitehorse this afternoon, and sleet and fog made it an extremely ugly drive.

By the time I got back home it was snowing heavily again, and as I write this at 4:45 there’s a couple of inches on the ground. Spring in the Yukon!

I do feel bad for people who expect that early May is Spring here. It’s bad enough when you’re on a cruise ship – if the weather’s ugly you can just stay on board and enjoy the facilities there. I saw one of the canoe company vans loaded up and headed east, though, apparently taking people out to the Teslin River or Quiet Lake to start a 10-14 day trip down the Yukon River. I can’t imagine a much more dreary trip! ๐Ÿ™

While it wasn’t snowing in Skagway today, it was getting a cold rain. When I captured this shot from the WP&YR’s webcam at 5:11 Alaska time it was 43°F. That’s the Norwegian Pearl departing.

Part of my comments on online Forums when responding to queries about early cruises, though, is that we often get a dramatic improvement in the weather around May 20th – here’s a screenshot of the weather forecast a few minutes ago ๐Ÿ™‚


Spring in the Yukon – Welcome, Visitors! — 5 Comments

  1. Hi Murray, When you travel down on your bike, stop in and say hi it looks like you will be going right by. We are looking after the Swan Lake Provincal Campground just off hiway 2 and the Alberta border near Dawson Creek.
    If you haven’t time have a safe trip. marky

  2. Beautiful shots Murray. The shots along the Yukon Highway sure look different than when we drove it last June. ๐Ÿ™‚

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