On the Klondike Trail: Whitehorse to Skagway

Pictures and panoramas can’t capture the grandeur of the Yukon landscape. It is an ambitious task.

Emerald Lake Panorama

The intense green colour of Emerald Lake

Like many first time Easterners, our trip from Whitehorse to Skagway along the Klondike Highway takes longer than the two-hour and 45-minute drive. We often break to admire the views! Today’s pace is ‘discovery and recovery’ from yesterday’s paddling the Yukon River adventure.

North of Carcross, at the world’s smallest desert, we stroll through the uniquely dry environment of the northern sandy dunes. Later, to Ginette’s command, everyone dumps the sand from their shoes before getting back in the RV.

Carcross Desert

Further on we stop in Carcross proper. The small community is buzzing with tourists and mountain bikers mingling about. The nearby Montana mountain is home to a mecca of world-class biking trails.

Note to self: Mountain biking in Carcross on our next visit!

Carcross commons

The community hub of Carcross Commons.

Rail bridge in Carcross

Rail bridge across the Nares River.

Each building in Carcross has a story to tell.

Carcross galvanized buildings

Carcross building Birdhouse building

We continue South, and soon the landscape turns white as we gain elevation. We rummage for our coats and hats before getting back out.

White Pass

Meanwhile, the finer botanical details of the region fascinate Maxine. She tries to identify the various roadside wildflowers using her new book by Yukon native Beverly Gray, The Boreal Herbal: Wild Food and Medicine Plants of the North.

White mountain heather, alpine variety, wild flowers

White Mountain Heather. Photo credit: Maxine White

The highway follows the historic Chilkoot Trail and White Pass & Yukon Route Railway. Original trade routes of the Tagish people and stampeders during the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898.

At the U.S. Customs, our entry point into Alaska, we are reminded that tomatoes are fruits and that bringing them across the border is illegal. In sound Canadian fashion, we reluctantly hand over our plump tomatoes.

“They will be incinerated”, the border guards assures us. — “In his stomach”, we joke.

Arriving in Skagway, we visit Brett’s sister and her trendsetting team at Skagway Scooters. When in town without wheels, Skagway Scooters will get you mobile to see the sights.

We’ve had a leisurely day playing tourist; it’s only four o’clock and bright outside — Let’s go for a hike!

We love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s