Oh boy! There is so much to write about. It is overwhelming! I have not yet told & shown you one tenth of what I discovered in Dawson and I’m already back in Whitehorse with even more stories and photos to share. I guess the best is to simply take it a little bite at a time and from now on, there is no guarantee that the posts will be in chronological order. And, guess what?? I have just postponed my flight back to Ottawa. I’m staying in the Yukon for an extra week!! WOO HOO!!!
Let’s start with the story I am most anxious to share : my encounters with wildlife. I have seen more moose in the last two days than I have in the last 40+ years!!
After spending 3 days in Dawson, early Friday morning, I headed back south on the Klondike highway. Whitehorse had received a few centimeters of snow the day before but in Dawson, the sun shined during my whole stay. Snow caught up to us on Friday morning. Nothing major. The roads were clear but the trees along the Klondike highway were covered in a white blanket. What a marvelous sight!
As I was driving, I tried to pay attention to any sign of wildlife. As I was passing a small pond, a big black spot in the water reflections caught my attention. I looked up. Cool!! A moose! I pulled over being careful to not go too far on the shoulder which can be soft. I managed to get a picture of the moose who was well aware of my presence. The falling snow gives a nice atmosphere to the photo. The moose allowed me to take a couple of photos before it decided it was best to hide deeper into the forest.
About 45 minutes later, along a small marsh I spotted my second moose. He was less than 25 feet from the road. Once again, I pulled over. The moose was close enough that I could use my 70-300mm lens.
I was taking photos and trying different compositions, I zoomed out to get a better idea of the surrounding environment. A big black spot caught my attention. Oh boy!! There was another moose in the background and it was starring at me. Must have been mom and her cub.
Neither seemed disturbed by my presence. They both kept on eating but the mother was keeping an eye on me while slowly getting closer. I observed the two of them for about 4 minutes and took a total of 30 pictures. I thought they had been very generous and that I should leave them alone.
About 10 minutes before arriving in Pelly Crossing, I spotted my 4th moose of the day. It was walking along the edge of the forest and quickly disappeared when it heard my car coming. It didn’t give me any chance to take a photo but that’s okay! I was thrilled enough with the previous 3 encounters not to mention the 6 grouse, 3 gophers, 1 porcupine, 1 mule deer I also encountered along the way but could not photograph.
In Pelly Crossing, I picked up my friend Claus and we headed off to Whitehorse. Before really getting on the road, we stopped at the 6-mile meadow just outside Pelly to see if any waterfowl was in the neighbourhood. Lucky us, two types of sandpipers were close enough for us to photograph them. We would have stayed longer had the rain not started to fall. It also reminded us that it was best to get going since we had a few hours drive to get to Whitehorse, about 300 km away.
Our next stop was at the Five Finger Rapids. The prairie crocuses were still blooming on the slopes but what really caught our attention were three black spots on the cliff facing us on the other side of the Yukon River. Let’s take the binoculars out. WOW!! A mother black bear with her two cubs, one of them being a cinnamon bear. Cool!!
As we arrived at Braeburn Lodge, we noticed a car in front of us stopped in the middle of the road with his hazards on. What is going on? Look!!! A herd of more than 20 elks grazing just a few feet from the road.
The last encounter of the day was a bald eagle perched on a dead tree overlooking a marsh.
A perfect encounter to end a day where we simply went from from one surprise to another!! And that was just day #1. Saturday was just as exciting and filled with surprise wildlife encounters. Tune in again soon for the next chapter.