Driving to Skagway may be one of my procrastination techniques, but it’s a particularly good one 🙂 On Friday I made the drive despite a mediocre weather report, and it turned out to be an excellent day.
I was on the road just before 9:30, and 20 minutes later took this telephoto shot of the fresh snow on Montana Mountain at Carcross.
I stopped briefly at Emerald Lake hoping that the ice was gone, but although the colour of the water can be seen now, there’s still a layer of ice on it.
I was very pleased to see 4 caribou beside the highway just a couple of miles south of Carcross, including this cow, who I think is pregnant.
I hadn’t been down to the silver-mining ghost town of Conrad in a long time, so made that detour. The road was in much better condition that I had expected.
This was the lower terminus of an aerial tramway that ran to the Mountain Hero and other Conrad silver mines, and the mine dock.
One of the two buildings still standing (barely). The other was a cookhouse for the mines, this one was probably a store.
Back on the highway, I had a look at the trail that used to be called the Sam Magee Trail but has now thankfully been given an appropriate name, the Mountain Hero (it was originally the trail used to construct the aerial tramway).
The “Welcome to the Yukon” sign at the border is one of the stops that every tour bus makes. For some reason this scene makes me cringe now – I certainly don’t look back at the 17 years I spent being part of it with any regret.
There were several mountain goats and Dall sheep on Dail Peak directly above the buses – the two upper animals are Dall sheep, the lower ones are mountain goats.
Another fresh snow scene along Windy Arm.
In another month when water levels are much higher, the Tutshi River will be an short but excellent whitewater rafting river.
The new restaurant at the Yukon Suspension Bridge is a few days away from completion. The view is quite impressive, and it should do well.
The White Pass & Yukon Route rail line at Ptarmigan Point.
You can see the snow falling in this photo taken at Fraser, but you can’t see the strong, bitterly cold wind that was blowing. The temperature was +2°C (35.6°F) but the wind chill was well below freezing.
I had thought briefly about taking the motorcycle on this trip – I’m really glad that I didn’t!
The view at the summit was much less impressive than it is on a nice day. The temperature here had dropped to 0 (32).
Right at the Black Lakes, I spent quite a while watching this very healthy-looking black bear getting his fill of Spring salad.
This ended my bear viewing.
The Carnival Spirit was again the only cruise ship in port. Because of the high winds, she’d berthed at the somewhat sheltered Railroad Dock. I always wonder how many people on the ship had any idea of the weather they might encounter this time of year – my guess is very few.
I was very surprised to see a tour boat from Major Marine in Seward. Always curious about such things, I’ve sent them an email to see if they’re thinking about running tours here.
I had lunch at Glacier Smoothies, and when I pulled away, I was behind this very interesting car. I snapped this shot with the idea that I’d check his blog when I got home (the URL, http://elsiefrombottomtotop.blogspot.com is written on the back of the car). He turned left, I turned right…. and then a block up the road, I made a U-turn and followed him.
I introduced myself to Giles Cooper, and after he fueled up, we went for coffee and I got a brief rundown on this adventure (I’ll let you get the details from his blog). The weather has definitely not been his friend (rain, snow, low clouds and now wind as well), but he has a whole lot of miles to cover yet, so I hope it changes very soon. One of the questions I asked him was “why the Lotus?”. He asked if I would have followed him if he was driving a Subaru – no, I probably wouldn’t have. He simply meets far more people this way. And it is bloody cool! 🙂
Another tour I need to check out – there are two of these trucks. I was on a similar tour, though in a a huge “monster truck”, at Denali a few years ago, and it was great fun.
With the high country frozen, none of the waterfalls are very impressive. In another month Pitchfork Falls (or Goat Lake Falls) is definitely a photo op.
Back into the snow and wind at the railway’s loop track at Fraser.
Looking north along Windy Arm. The delta on the left, where Dail Creek flows into the lake, was the site of the small town of Wynton during the silver rush.
I stopped at Pooley Canyon, where mountain goats can sometimes be seen, and there were 3 visible at the top of the canyon.
This is a broader view of the same scene above. This is an exceptionally rugged canyon with access that’s tough to locate. I’ve only been to the bottom of the upper canyon twice (there’s another Conrad silver mine, the Vault, there), but I’ll be leading some friends in later in the summer, probably in July.
One more stop, at Carcross to check on the progress of the rebuilding of the railway bridge.
All in all, despite the weather, it had been an excellent day! Now back to work – no, really! 🙂