Sun, Rain & Snow on a Drive to Skagway

I needed to go to Skagway yesterday to pick up a part that I had flown in for my RV, and it turned out to be a wildly varied day. It was -1°C (30°F) when I left home at 09:00.

One of the first signs that Winter is really over is when the lakes open up. Many of the people on cruise ships have been asking about Emerald Lake – the ice is very rotten and a good wind now will probably clear it. I shot this photo on Wednesday when I took the motorcycle for a 160-km spin, but it looked about the same yesterday.

Frozen Emerald Lake, Yukon
The light at Windy Arm was wonderful, conducive to creating this mild HDR image of the scene to make it “pop” – click on it to enlarge it in a new window. There were just a few bits of open water along the shore.

Spring along Windy Arm, Yukon
I had Bella and Tucker with me so stopped at Tutshi Lake for a run. We’ve come to realize that Monty had a stronger influence on the pack than we knew – since his death, Bella has become quite disobedient, to the point where leash-free walks off our property have to come to an end except where there’s no possibility of getting into trouble. Tucker, as can be expected from a puppy, follows her bad lead. The ice piled up along the shore by the wind was beautiful.

Ice piled up along the shore of Tutshi Lake, BC, by the wind
Heading into the White Pass, with the temperature right at freezing, it began to snow, though it didn’t stick on the road.

The “Welcome to Alaska” sign at the border has been re-installed for the summer.

Welcome to Alaska sign
The unique William Moore Bridge is about to be replaced by an ugly concrete “dam” thing. It will be to the right of the bridge in this photo, and the rock bluff there will be blasted away to remove the fairly tight curve at that end of the current bridge. Construction will be starting soon.

William Moore Bridge
With the first cruise ship arriving in less than 2 weeks (the Crystal Serenity on April 29th), the shelves were being stocked in this new building across from the train station. It was a dreary, wet day, so I just took care of business and headed home.

A dreary Spring day in Skagway
The curve ahead is the one that will be blasted straight by the new bridge project.

William Moore Bridge, Skagway
The WP&YR rail line has been cleared as far as Fraser, and there’s so little snow that I expect that they’ll let Mother Nature take care of most of the rest of it all the way to Carcross.

Fraser, BC
One of my favourite spots on the highway stopped me again for a minute. Now back in the rain shadow of the Coast Mountains, the skies started to clear and the temperature climbed to 8°C (46°F) 🙂

Spring along the South Klondike Highway
A reflection on a lead of open water along Windy Arm.

Spring reflection along Windy Arm, Yukon
I never tire of this drive. Several of the mountain routes are already hike-able, though I won’t be able to get into the high country until getting back from the big trip, in late June.

Spring along the South Klondike Highway
That’s Tutshi Lake and the beach where I run the dogs.

Tutshi Lake, BC
My initial look at the new campground at Conrad left me with a very negative opinion of it, so I decided to have a really good look around now that the snow is gone.

Campground at Conrad, Yukon
My summary now is that I have absolutely nothing good to say about the campground. It’s planning, engineering and construction are all hugely flawed. Only 2 of the campsites are even close to being level, and many are sloped in two directions. What kind of equipment operator can’t build a level pad?? What kind of supervisor would allow it to be left that way??

Campground at Conrad, Yukon
Yes, the location and views are wonderful, and deserved a well-built campground. There isn’t even any beach access, much less a boat launch – the superb and endless gravel beach is a couple of hundred feet through brush below these campsites.

Campground at Conrad, Yukon
Even the tables are very poorly built, and I expect some will be broken during the first season. The group camping site is an old gravel pit, and has lost none of that character.

Campground at Conrad, Yukon
Tucker and Bella don’t mind the retractable leashes, and it’s a minor nuisance to me to keep them safe.

Dogs at Conrad, Yukon
The tramway terminus ruins and mining company dock a few hundred yards from the campground. I expect that the old townsite and beach will continue to get plenty of campers because it’s a far better setup than the campground is, though our rig is too big to safely get in and out of there. Oh well, Conrad had potential, but we certainly won’t be going there.

Mining tramway wreckage at Conrad, Yukon
Okay, that's enough about the campground, which I will never mention again - < /rant >

I had been extremely happy with the service I got from Fleetwood to get the new levelling jack for the RV to me quickly, but despite a lengthy discussion with the clerk there about the clear error in their catalogue, it turned out to be the wrong part! It looked like I was going to have a rig I needed to level with wood blocks (yes, roughing it!), but I figured out a fix with part of the one they sent. I leave in 8 days 🙂


Sun, Rain & Snow on a Drive to Skagway — 2 Comments

  1. Yes, a rant, but a well meaning RANT. I have ‘enjoyed’ my share of those over the years, in tents mostly, where no matter how many 2×4’s you can scare up, the site just isn’t level. Very odd and those tables are hilarious…CHEAPO!

    Some great pics and interesting to see how the dog family is evolving now. Change for all of you, in so may ways.

    Are you towing the Tracker on this trip. Was sure I knew the bike was staying home (speaking of hydraulic gadgets!)…

    • Yes, the Tracker is coming with me, and will be getting lots of use. Poor Cathy has to drive the Cadillac for the 3 weeks until she flies down – she hates that 🙂