Sunday, May 29, 2016

Road to Skagway – It Doesn't Get Much Better Than This

Summit Lake, B.C., Klondike Highway

I had heard that the drive to Skagway is one of the prettiest drives you can have.  I’ll second that!  It is very nice, and then you get up to Summit Lake, and there are clouds in the sky, but not even a hint of a breeze, the water is like glass…WOW, the most amazing experience.

Summit Lake, B.C., Klondike Highway

The lake has a north to south layout, with a slight tilt to the east.  This shot is to the north, running the length of the lake, while the first was a straight eastward shot.

Summit Lake, B.C., Klondike Highway

This is a panoramic shot, and really gives you a good feel for the lake.  Sometimes panoramic shots are distorted…but as soon as I took this shot and gave it a look  knew I had captured the view. 

Lake near Tagish, Tagish Road, Yukon

But let’s start from the beginning…  We left Six Mile River Resort in Tagish around 9:30 am.  The sun went down around 11 pm, and by midnight it was getting to be dark.  At 4 am it was just starting to be light outside, and by 4:30 the sun was out.  The sunsets and the sunrises are way different up here…they take a long time.  By the way, Six Mile River Resort is a Passport America park…$21 Canadian cash.  There is a restaurant/bar/trading post all-in-one as part of the park, and they can get about a dozen RVs in…we were the only ones there.  Only downside…mosquitoes large enough to carry one away, but no sight of the little no-see-ums.  Neither of us got bit, and when I hooked up the car this morning, it was too cold and there was no sight of them.   The Tagish Road connects Jake’s Corner and Carcross, and was built in 1942 due to the war as support of the oil pipeline running to Skagway.  As we headed to Carcross, we passed by a few lakes, and we could see the white tops of the mountains in the far distance.

 Tagish Road, Yukon

At Carcross we connect with Yukon Highway 2, the Klondike Highway, which leads us to Skagway.  Once in the U.S. the highway becomes Alaska Highway 98, as in 1898 (Klondike Gold Rush started in 1898), and the highway’s nickname is the Klondike Highway from Skagway to Whitehorse.

Carcross Wooden Bridge, Yukon, Klondike Highway

In Carcross we cross over this wooden bridge…not the first wooden bridge we have crossed over…always fun in a heavy motorhome.

Bove Island, Windy Arm of Tagish Lake, Klondike Highway, Yukon

Soon we come to the Bove Island lookout for the large Tagish Lake.   The lake is over 60 miles in length, and has two major arms, the Taku Arm in the east which is very long, and Windy Arm in the west.  We saw the western portion.

Bove Island, Windy Arm of Tagish Lake, Klondike Highway, Yukon

A panoramic of Lake Tagish’s “Windy Arm”.

Klondike Highway, Yukon

Marcia loves the looks of these twisted tree trunks…

 North American Porcupine along Klondike Highway, Yukon

…I like the looks of our first North American Porcupine which, for some reason, decided to cross the road.  No bears today…but I had never seen a Porcupine in the wild that I can remember.

Abandoned Mine along Klondike Highway, Yukon

And this reminder that over a hundred of years ago, this area was ripe in gold mines.  It is estimated that 100,000 people came to the Klondike region of the Yukon…many through the port of Skagway.  Four years later gold was discovered in Nome, and the Klondike rush was over.

Tutshi Lake, Klondike Highway, Yukon

Above Tagish Lake is another large lake that the road follows along, Tutshi Lake.  There are lots and lots of small bodies of water, some might be considered “ponds”, others are small lakes. 

Klondike Highway, Yukon

The region is fed by many melting snow capped mountains, and what seems to be an endless number of glaciers. 

Construction Zone, Klondike Highway, BC

Then the reality of where we were sets in…another construction sign, dusty area ahead sign.  As I am still in awe looking all around, Marcia warns me as the break in the asphalt is upon us…I slow down even more.  This oncoming tour bus shows you how dusty it can be…I don’t dare show pictures of the car or motorhome as they are so dusty and dirty.

Summit Lake, B.C., Klondike Highway

And then we come to the Summit Lake area, where we started this story today.  It is well worth another look…to stand there looking out at the lake, it is hard for the mind to tell where the water ends, and the land begins.  I stood there soaking it in…and darn, we have to pass by it again on our way out of Skagway.  Let’s just hope it is as nice of a morning as this one was.

White Pass, Fraser B.C., Klondike Highway

This is the train stop at White Pass, B.C..  Many of its riders are Cruise Ship passengers…and this is their only opportunity to see the area.

Looking into Alaska, Klondike Highway, near boarder

But Skagway Alaska is that a ways…on the other side of those mountains.  We have already passed back into British Columbia, which surprised me…our trip has really followed the borders of B.C. and the Yukon these past two days.

Looking back to B.C. and Yukon, Klondike Highway, near boarder

And here is a look back from where we came.

Willow Ptarmigan, Klondike Highway, near boarder

And as we reach the top of the summit, I see some Willow Ptarmigan playing out on the rocks…this is the State Bird of Alaska…has to be a good sign.

Welcome to Alaska, Klondike Highway

But this is the sign we have been looking for.  Alaska…we made it!  After to facing the loss of our motorhome to a storage fire back in 2014, just weeks before we were to take off on a trip to Alaska.  And last year when mechanical issues and the “still getting to know” our current motorhome kept us from getting here.  Yes, we have now made it…but we also know that even at this stage, we have a long ways to go, lots of things to see, many miles to cover still.  But thank you Lord, we made it to Alaska…and we have loved the journey!

William Moore Bridge, Klondike Highway

The William Moore Bridge, an asymmetrical cable-stayed suspension bridge, crosses a very active earthquake fault, and is only firmly anchored on the downhill side so that it can move freely with the earth!  Thank goodness we did not know this before we crossed over the bridge, Marcia might have made me turn back.  She is now looking for airplane travel out of Skagway, but has found that a 12 seat plane is not to her liking either.  Winking smile  

Klondike Highway, near U.S. Customs

This might just become our new blog header image!  From here we continued downhill, zipped through customs without a problem, found our way into Skagway and right to the Garden City RV Park.  Good Sam, $38 per night for full hookups, except there in no cable or Internet…but we are getting a strong aircard signal, and we have the use of our phones again after two full weeks without them.  Went to dinner after resting up from the drive…not today's drive, the entire drive from Dawson Creek. nearly 1,500 miles long. 

8 comments:

  1. You just completed the best part of the entire trip. Skagway was my all time favorite!! If you have time, you can take the steam train up to Carcross and back ... an amazing trip with magnificent views!! Enjoy!!!!!

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    1. Don't think we want to leave the dogs that long...but a good thought.

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  2. AH, fond memories. You are having the time of your life! Neat!

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    1. Yes we are...as long as we get over that bridge that is only anchored down on one side safely...lol

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  3. And we were two of the cruise ship passengers who took the bus up and the train down. The bus ride was great, but it was so foggy for the train that we could hardly see anything.

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    1. Yes, that is one of the risks of seeing Alaska on Cruise. On the other hand, you saw glaciers falling into the ocean that the RVer can't see without getting on a ship and going out there too.

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  4. I'm truly happy for you! Blessings...

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    Replies
    1. We are so happy Lynn, and so very blessed. Thanks

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