Scenic mountains and the drunken forest

During my recent whirlwind tour to the Yukon, my friend and I drove down Hwy 2, from Carcross in the Yukon, into British Columbia and nearly to Skagway, Alaska. Because I didn’t have my passport on me, we couldn’t cross the border, but we were allowed to drive along Hwy 2 just up to the border. What an absolutely spectacular bit of scenery along that road. If there’s one place to put on your Bucket List, that’s it. Well actually, all of the Yukon (and probably Alaska) should go on that Bucket List. But certainly that stretch of road between Carcross and Skagway should be near the top of the list. Truly spectacular.

Here’s a portion of a map showing Hwy 2. It’s not all that far from Whitehorse.

A map showing Hwy 2 between Carcross in the Yukon and Skagway, Alaska.

The scenery along this road is truly nothing short of stunning. It helped that the sun was out (the only sun we saw in 2 days), but there were hazy clouds in the background, adding a bit of mood to the landscape. It was definitely one of those landscapes that makes you stand there with your mouth gaping open, thinking nothing but, “Wow…..”.

The view from the roadside near Skagway, Alaska.

The forest cover at this altitude is spotty. It’s a harsh environment with high winds, snow, blowing ice crystals that damage young buds. And I imagine that avalanches, small and large, are frequent here. I use my 600mm lens quite a lot for landscape photography. The image below, which I call the Drunken Forest, was taken with the 600mm. It looks like this sparse tract of forest has been the recipient of high winds and avalanches, which have pushed trees, causing them to grow at odd angles. To me, it looks like some of these trees have had a bit too much to drink! 🙂

The Drunken Forest

The rounded foothills were covered with many snowmobile tracks. I imagine this is snowmobilers heaven! I was actually amazed by the steepness of some of the slopes that these snowmobilers had been up. I guess they make it an extreme sport here. I can see why people are attracted to this area to play. The slopes, the scenery… There’s even a pull-off at the side of the road where you are allowed to camp. One group had a few campers set up and clearly had settled in for a few days of camping and snowmobiling.

The foothills - snowmobilers paradise!

Every time I see majestic mountains like this, I get the urge to climb them. I’m not a mountaineer, so it’s not going to happen anytime soon. But it’s a bit of a throwback from the months I worked high atop the Colorado Rocky Mountains, studying the biology of and radio-tracking White-tailed Ptarmigan at the top of Mount Evans. We hiked the mountain tops around 14,000 feet altitude and due to the more rounded tops of the Colorado Rockies, we could hike to the top of many of the peaks. And so now, every time I see a majestic mountain peak, I get the urge to want to hike to the top of it. These peaks are just so enticing.

Enticing mountain peaks. Don't you just want to climb these?

My trip to the Yukon and surrounding area was very brief. But it was long enough for me to fall in love with the area. I want to go back. In fact, I want to spend several months up there, with my hiking boots on and my camera in hand. The five months I worked in the Colorado Rockies studying birds, I completely wore out one pair of brand new Italian hiking boots. I would just love to wear out a pair of boots in the Yukon. It’s on my Bucket List….

Be sure to tune back in here for more Yukon photos and adventures….

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2 Comments

Filed under Dreams, Landscape, Life's short....

2 responses to “Scenic mountains and the drunken forest

  1. Hey Shelley, so glad you enjoyed your visit to the Yukon. Time to return for a river trip followed by a drive up the Dempster. Hey, for our 50th let’s run the Yukon Quest – Hero will be our lead dog. 🙂

    • Hi Claus,

      Running a river for our 50ths sounds like a plan! But before then, I need to get back up to the Yukon for a good chunk of time, with camera in hand. The scenery and wildlife are spectacular! :o)

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