Storm Approaching at Miles Canyon
Miles Canyon is a cool spot just south of the capital city of Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory. It has pretty cool geologic features and is a very narrow stretch of the Yukon River that has proved quite treacherous and deadly, especially during the Klondike Gold Rush of the 1890s. On this particular day, we did not stick around the canyon for very long because we could see stormy weather on the horizon. We were able to escape the storm for a short amount of time, but it eventually caught up with us while we were driving and gave us a bit of Yukon hail.
Ben Loves Marshmallows
A nice campfire was always a pleasant way to end a day of fieldwork in the Yukon. And part of that campfire experience definitely involved marshmallows. My first time in the Yukon, I was with another student, Ben, mapping out vegetation along rivers. We both loved campfire marshmallows, and I was able to capture Ben’s elation in this photo. However, I was unable to capture our disappointment upon trying some horrible ‘flavoured’ marshmallows…I’m not even sure I could describe what they tasted like!
Have you ever woken up at 4am and had a strong desire to put on a ton of warm layers, grab a shovel and scientific equipment, and head out into the Yukon night to dig a snowpit? I’m guessing not, in which case, I present the above photo to give you an idea of what such a scene would look like. Since the research I was working on dealt with melting and refreezing snow, we had to do some snowpits in the middle of the night to capture the refreezing part. We didn’t stray too far from our cabin, but considering we were still pretty far out in the middle of nowhere, it was still pretty cool and slightly eerie at the same time.
4 Cool Yukon Pups
From left to right, this is Luka, Karma (in back), Tatra, and Tagish Charlie. The owners of the cabin in which we stayed for much of our time in the Yukon had their own cool cabin nearby along with plenty of wilderness all around, and these dogs had a good old time exploring and protecting the home. I believe I took this photo at a time that the owners were away, so that’s why they were in their fenced-in area. Luka, the big while fluffball on the left, was crazy protective and barked at us like crazy. The other three were fun and playful, and they all were just another component of an awesome Yukon experience.
The Yukon, Forest Fires, and GIS
The majority of my time during graduate school was centered around all things Yukon Territory. My research focused on snowmelt in the Yukon, but I was able to work my love for the Yukon in to other projects as well. This poster was created for my one Remote Sensing course and describes how I used a series of aerial photos from different years to track effects of forest fires in the boreal forests of southeastern Yukon Territory. This project was one of many that allowed me to play around with map-making a bit…career skills in their infancy!
Pelly Mountains in Black and White
One of my favorite mountainous views in the Yukon. Gotta love the Pelly Mountains!
Summer Skies Over the Yukon River
Miles of wilderness, light and fluffy clouds, warm summer temperatures, and the glorious Yukon River…sounds like a good day to me! This photo was taken on my first day in the Yukon, and it was a beautiful day for a long 360-mile drive in the Yukon from the capital city of Whitehorse to the tiny town of Faro.
Taking in the View Above Butte Creek
Butte Creek…that’s Butte with an ‘e’ at the end…is a small mountain tributary that feeds into the larger Wheaton River in the southern Yukon Territory. Ken and I trekked along a snowmobile trail that paralleled the creek on a higher ledge, collecting snowpit data for my graduate research while continuously climbing toward the headwaters of the creek. After finishing our last snowpit and before turning around for the hike back, we dropped our gear and climbed up the mountainside quite a bit. The view of this little valley surrounded by snow-covered peaks was just outstanding.
Ken Grows a Beard!
Today is my buddy Ken’s 30th birthday, and to celebrate, I thought I would share a photo of Ken in the Yukon with one of the best beards he has probably ever had! Plus, it is a bit Santa-like…or maybe more like Santa after a bad morning shave…
Anyway, Ken always knows how to bring a good laugh, and I hope he has a great birthday today. Happy 30th!!
The Structure of Yukon Snowpack
For my two years of graduate school research, I spent a lot of time studying snow. Specifically, I explored the ability to use information from satellites to detect when large areas of snow-covered terrain in the Yukon were melting. The study also required us to collect information about the snow on the ground so that we could basically match the ground data with the satellite data. And so I went to the Yukon two separate times to dig snowpits and analyze the snow…who knew that all those years of building snowforts as a kid would actually come in handy!?!
I took the above photo of a fellow graduate student after she had excavated a snowpit to reveal the many different layers of snow crystals. As the snow within a snowpack melts and refreezes, it forms various crystal sizes and snowpack densities, and we were basically describing all of the different layers in each snowpit to help us better understand how the snow was melting/refreezing. It might just look like snow from above, but there are all kinds of interesting things going on below the surface!
Vibrant Yukon Sunset
On one of the last nights I spent in the town of Faro in the Yukon Territory, my buddy Ken and I were able to catch a spectacular sunset that cycled through some very vibrant reds/oranges/yellows. The surrounding mountains only added to the visual treat.
Main Street, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory
When you think “capital city”, a scene like this is probably not what you think of. I’m not necessarily implying that Whitehorse, the capital city of the Yukon Territory, is not a bustling city…because it is certainly a busy place compared to much of the surrounding small towns and endless wilderness! But this stretch of Main Street is a great example of the down-to-earth character of the Yukon, and it had a number of great shops like a delicious bakery/coffee place (Baked) and cool book store (Mac’s Fireweed Books). In fact, there were a bunch of great eateries and little shops all over the city that made it a cool place for a stroll about town.
The View Inside a Snowpit
The majority of the time I spent in the Yukon Territory during graduate school was spent digging snowpits and taking measurements of things such as snow density at various levels within the snowpack. This photo shows the inside of a snowpit we dug in British Columbia one day and features a bunch of holes where one of the measuring tools we used was inserted.
I always wondered what people must have thought if they happened upon one of these snowpits…
Onset of Dusk in the Wheaton River Valley
The onset of dusk near our cabin in the Yukon was always great to take in. Our cabin (it’s not really visible in this photo, but it is located pretty much in the center of the photo back in the trees) was situated in the Wheaton River Valley with mountain ridges on all sides, which meant the sun didn’t reach us until late morning and it left us by early evening. On this evening, I was out on the edge of the frozen Wheaton River (the snow-covered surface in the foreground), watching the sun set behind Red Ridge.
Deep in Thought with Karma
While enjoying a bit of midday relaxation outside our cabin on the Wheaton River in the Yukon Territory one day, my buddy Ken and I were joined by two of the cool dogs on the property, Karma and Tatra. Ken snapped this photo of Karma and I staring off into the distance…who knows what we were looking at, or what we may have been pondering. Although I’m guessing I was just checking out the fantastic scenery all around, since I found myself doing that quite often!
Fair Weather Spring Day in the Yukon
Lots of snow, sun, blue skies, and thin clouds made for many gorgeous fair weather days in the Yukon during our early spring field season. This view from near our cabin never got old!
Bend in the Pelly River
This is a rather typical shot of the Pelly River as it winds through the Yukon Territory on its way to the Yukon River: wide bends, built up bars in the bend interior with small new growth, outer spruce-dominated forests being slowly eaten by the river, south-facing mountain slopes with very little vegetation, and everything under a bright blue sky.
Snowy Mountains of British Columbia
We didn’t spend a great amount of time in British Columbia while conducting fieldwork in the Yukon, but on the few trips we did take, we saw some beautiful B.C. scenery. This photo was taken fairly close to the Canada/Alaska border and was actually the closest I got to Alaska. I have no clue how much snow is on those mountains, but I have a feeling it is pretty deep!
Driveway with a View
After a full day of snowpit excavations and other fun fieldwork in the Wheaton River valley of the Yukon Territory, our crew made our way back to the cabin in the woods where we were staying for a couple weeks. The surroundings and view from the cabin were outstanding, but even the views from the driveway leading to the cabin were excellent…just imagine rolling down your driveway and having a mountain like this looming over you!
Yukon Walking Stick on Poet’s Ledge
My trusty walking stick that I picked up in the Yukon Territory along the banks of the Pelly River has been great to have along on many hikes. This particular hike was in the Catskills along the Long Path as it climbs toward Kaaterskill High Peak, and with the amount of elevation gain along the trail, my knees were likely appreciative of the ever-so-slight help of the walking stick. My lunch stop was at this rock outcrop called Poet’s Ledge, which offered a great view of the Kaaterskill Clove and the nearly 4,000-foot-high Black Dome and Blackhead mountain summits looming in the distance (just right of center in the photo).
Where will my Yukon walking stick travel to next?!?
First Summit Above Fish Lake
Fish Lake was a really cool location in the southern Yukon Territory that I was able to check out on a couple different trips. On this particular trip, Ken and I parked at the end of the frozen lake (around Ken’s foot in the photo above), hiked up to this first false summit, and then continued up to a higher summit with even more outstanding views of mountains everywhere we looked. Along the way, we did some snowpits and snow depth measurements, slid down a mountain, and also made sure to snap some photos of the snowy scenery. We also snapped some photos of each other taking photos…like the photo above!
Along the Klondike Highway
Roadside pulloffs in the Yukon are often a great place to soak in the scenery, and this spot along the Klondike Highway in southern Yukon Territory was no exception. These cool mountains rose up from a lake called Windy Arm (it’s not too far behind the trees near the car) and made for a nice stop on a trip into British Columbia.
65-Ton Faro Mine Truck
As soon as you reach the town of Faro in the Yukon Territory, it is immediately apparent that the town has some sort of connection with mining. This 65-ton mining truck greets visitors to the small town of less than 400 residents and makes a nice photo stop (hence the photo above of me taken by Ken). The town’s mining boom was more than 30 years ago, and the town has more recently been trying to portray itself as a great tourist location within the Yukon. We actually did some snowpits in the gigantic mine areas up in the mountains, and one of the weirdest parts was driving our SUV down this overly wide road that looked like it could easily allow a few of these huge trucks to easily pass along…in some ways, it reminded me more of an airport runway than a drivable road!
These are just a few standard spruce in the middle of a spruce forest in the Yukon, but looking straight up at them against the light blue mid-morning sky, they caught my eye…and the viewfinder of my camera. I guess they also looked neat because of how slender they were along their entire height.