Alaskan Adventure travel blog

Aboard the bus to the Yukon Territory, Canada

Waterfall out of the mountain

Black Spruce trees beside a glacial river

Beautiful lakes high in the mountains

Lake with Black Spruce and clouds

Welcome to the Yukon Territory

Almost above the tree line

Emerald Lake with it's glacial color

Cabins near Emerald Lake

Aboard the White Pass Narrow Gauge Railroad

Incredible mountain vista

Glacier on the mountain

Close up of the glacier

Glacier from the train window

"Milky" glacial river

Rugged, rocky land

That's us on the sharp curve

Railroad bridge

Highway "cut" on the next ridge

Headed down the mountain, our rail car lagging behind

Glacial river below the bridge

Lunch at Caribou Crossing

Caribou Crossing

Caribou Crossing

Caribou Crossing

Tourist stop down the road at Carross, Yukon Territory

Carcross , YT

What an interesting day! Skagway is a frontier town that was a coastal base for the Klondike Gold Rush about 500 miles inland and now is revived by the tourism industry. Maria and I had chosen an 8 hour excursion to the Yukon Territory in Canada which required Canadian Border check on the way and US Border check on the way back. Our excursion was via bus 65 miles inland on the way to the Yukon including a visit and lunch at Caribou Crossing and Carcross, YT and then back to Frasier, B.C. where we boarded the White Pass Narrow Gauge Railroad down the mountain and then the bus for the return to the ship. The rail cars were quaint and fun if not as comfortable as more plush bus seats! Neat experience! The road that the bus traveled leads on to Whitehorse YT connecting with the highway from British Columbia to Alaska. This road offers Skagway more possibilities than other towns on the southeastern Alaska coast that are isolated by land.

The mountains are heavily forested in places and solid rock in other places. Then we got above the tree line and there were only small, 2 - 3 foot high black spruce trees and scrubby underbrush. We passed through several climate zones - Temperate Rain Forest at lower elevations, Boreal Forests and Alpine Tundra at higher elevations. The area named Tormented Valley was all stone which was actually the bottom of an originally 1 mile thick glacier. Near the summit the tree branches only grow on one side of the trunk, called flagging, due to the canyon effect of the wind. Amazing landscape! The glacial rivers and lakes have a milky green appearance due to the silt from the glacier melt. At lower elevations the silt is deposited along the wide river beds but at these higher elevations the flow is rapid and the glacial silt remains in suspension in the water as it rushes down the steep mountains.

It was a bit cooler at the high elevation of Caribou Crossing at lunchtime and nearby at Carcross where we stopped to support the gift shops and snack bars, but not uncomfortable - I would guess temperature was 55 - 60 and luckily no rain! At Carcross I sampled the famous Canadian favorite Tiger ice cream - very good orange ice cream with a bit of black licorice to serve as the black stripe of a tiger.

The ride back down the mountain in the old railcars was fun. These mountains are extremely steep with deep valleys between the ridges and lots of waterfalls eminating from the glaciers high in the mountains. The lakes are amazing! Lake Tutshi is 30 miles long, 450" deep and has 40 pound lake trout and pike. Lake Tagish is 60+ miles long with many arms in the surrounding mountain valleys.

At Carcross which is home to mostly First Nation peoples we saw the world's smallest desert high in the mountains. The "sand" is actually glacial silt from the melted glaciers which is blowns in and settles on the top of the ridge.

As a person who doesn't care for mountains in general, I found this excursion to be incredibly beautiful and I am glad I did it once!

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