The End of Winter, the Start of Spring

This has felt like The Winter With No End – pretty well everyone’s been complaining about the weather the past couple of weeks in particular. Finally, though, Spring has arrived (and it looks like Summer is only days away).

Last Tuesday, Cathy and I had to go to Carcross to finish the cleanup of our cabin in preparation to hand the keys over to the new owners. We’d barely started down the South Klondike Highway when 5 caribou walked calmly across the road in front of us.
Caribou on the South Klondike Highway
We weren’t at all prepared for the heavy dump of snow that Carcross had gotten in the past couple of days! That made walking to the cabin difficult and some of the cleanup (the outside) impossible, and we have to be able to get the pickup in to finish it off.
Heavy April 30th snow in Carcross, Yukon
It had been so cold overnight that a layer of of ice had formed on the open water in front of the cabin where many migrating swans stop to rest and feed. One of the Trumpeter swans had died during the night – here, a juvenile bald eagle is checking out the yet-untouched body.
Bald eagle with a dead Trumpeter swan
A few minutes later, one of the parents arrived as well.
Bald eagles on frozen Lake Bennett, Yukon
The next day, May 1st, Winter returned in earnest. Conditions at the Whitehorse airport were so bad that this Air North jet had to do a missed approach and circle for about 20 minutes, waiting for the near-zero visibility to improve before making this successful landing.
Air North 737 in a May snowstorm
Yesterday, May 6th, the weather improved, and I was very surprised to discover the first Prairie crocus of the year.
Prairie crocus in the Yukon
There are always an endless list of things to be done this time of year. The winter wheels on Cathy’s Tracker get more and more weathered and ugly every year – this year I couldn’t stand to put them away looking like that, so decided to restore them. It takes about 45 minutes each to go from the left-hand state to the right. ๐Ÿ™‚
Restoring aluminum wheels
The weather forecast today was very good for both Whitehorse and Skagway, so I decided that a little road trip was in order. It was still only 0°C when I shot this photo of Windy Arm and the Venus silver mine mill, though.
The historic Venus silver mine, Yukon
I believe that the person camping here is a field editor for The Milepost guidebook, but I couldn’t verify that.
Log Cabin, BC. Under that snow, about 3 feet deep, is the White Pass & Yukon Route rail line.
Log Cabin, BC, in the winter
Does it look like Monty enjoys road trips? ๐Ÿ™‚
Monty, my husky
Nearing Fraser.
South Klondike Highway in May
The freshly-plowed rail line at Ptarmigan Point. Clearing the line each Spring is a massive job that’s now done with bulldozers.
Summit Lake.
Summit Lake, north of Skagway, Alaska
The cruise ship season has begun, but on many of early-season days there are no ships, and today was one of those. But more tour buses are arriving by barge from Seattle.
Buses being barged to Skagway, Alaska
The sidewalks are being cleaned.
Spring sidewalk cleaning in Skagway, Alaska
Some people can remain optimistic through almost anything ๐Ÿ™‚
Sarah Palin store in Skagway, Alaska
Millions of dollars worth of helicopters await the ships.
Temsco helicopters in Skagway, Alaska
I had gotten away from home very early so decided to see how work on the Dyea Road was coming along. There’s an amazing amount of granite being blasted.
Blasting on the Dyea Road near Skagway, Alaska
The road to the Dyea townsite and beach gets very soft in the Spring, and a great deal of care is needed to avoid getting stuck.
The road to Dyea, Alaska
The tide was exceptionally low, so Monty and I walked the width of the lovely wilderness beach, over to Nelson Creek.
Nelson Creek at Dyea, Alaska
Nelson Creek, looking down Taiya Inlet.
Dyea, Alaska
I estimate that the road construction, which is removing the worst of the steep, winding and narrow sections, is about half done.
This little waterfall is right beside the main road.
Waterfall along the Dyea Road
Heading home, the WP&YR bulldozer was back at work. We walked over to a section of the rail line that gets particularly badly drifted, to see how deep the snow still is. Impressive.
Deep Spring snow on the WP&YR line
And when we got back to Log Cabin, the bulldozer was already north of the highway crossing.
Clearing snow from the railway line at Log Cabin, BC
My happy, pooped-out husky ๐Ÿ™‚
The grand opening of the “retail village” at Carcross is less than 2 weeks away, and work is going on full-speed. It will house the tourist information office, a coffee shop, a fresh fish store and other shops.
Retail village at Carcross, Yukon
The arrival of Spring signals the arrival of construction crews. The wait to get through this 3-km section of re-paving was substantial – half an hour probably.
Road construction near Carcross, Yukon

So that’s the seasonal progression so far. I won’t see the next stage of it, as I’m flying to Calgary first thing tomorrow morning. I’ll be picking up a new car, visiting with both my kids and grand-daughters, and making a fairly leisurely drive home via the Alaska Highway. I’ll be posting as I go along, as the weather forecast is very good and I plan on making some interesting stops.


The End of Winter, the Start of Spring — 5 Comments

  1. Did you chose a yellow vehicle?? I love the fresh clarity of your Skagway trip photos. I am not sure of the correct descriptive terms, but this was an especially good day for outdoor photography. I think the crocus is absolutely beautiful, too. I can feel what it would be like to touch the feathery bits. I think the eagles are beautifully captured, too. You certainly make the most of where you live and always have your camera to hand. Travel safely.
    Marie G.

  2. The earth is waking up at last! What is done with all the scraped-away snow? Just let it melt?

  3. Hi Rejeana. Yes, the snow is trucked to large fields around the city and just allowed to melt. The biggest of those fields is then used for truck mud bog races one weekend!

  4. Thanks again fur the pictures Murray, simply beautiful and Monty looks like a very happy dog indeed.