Monday, May 9, 2011

Atlin–Tagish–Carcross Scenic Loop

After packing a lunch, we packed what we needed into the truck and started out on our trip for the day on what is called the Atlin – Tagish – Carcross Scenic Loop.  This is a side trip off the Alaska Highway starting at Jake’s Corner and is a 59 mile drive to Atlin.  We returned to the Alaska Highway via the Carcross Loop, a 66 mile drive via Tagish Road to Cross then back to the Alaska Highway.  As we started down the road to Atlin, we followed Little Atlin Lake with some picturesque  mountain views.




There was a side road with a sign showing binoculars that led us a few hundred feet up a road to a parking area and hiking trail that indicated there were mountain goats in the area.  The sign asked that hikers avoid the area in early May – June.  So, we continued on up the road and looked up to see these 6 mountain goats on the hillside.



We arrived at Atlin around noon and drove around a bit to see what was there.  The town was quite a bit larger than what I expected.



We saw a couple of interesting houses in town:





In the middle of town and on the lakeshore, the MV (motor vessel) Tarahne is on display.  It was built in 1916 in Atlin by the White Pass & Yukon Route and carried passengers and freight from Atlin to Scotia Bay until 1936.



After leaving Atlin, we continued back to the Carcross Loop.  We were hoping to see some of the Carcross caribou herd, but that didn’t happen.  Ken did notice something in a tree, so we turned around and found this porcupine climbing a tree branch:



After watching the porcupine for a few minutes, we continued on and crossed the Tagish River.



In our prior trip to Alaska in 2009, we had been through this same route as we drove to Skagway.  However, we had never taken the time to go into the town of Carcross.  This caribou is at the turn off the main road into town.



And this is one of the more unique houses we saw in town.



This is the historic White Pass & Yukon Route train station.





It was already a full day of touring, but there was one more thing I wanted to see and that was Caribou Crossing.  Milepost indicates that it is the premier wildlife museum and attractions center.  The displays are to include over 100 Yukon and Ice Age mammals including a life-size woolly mammoth and world’s largest bear.  As we’re finding out, we’re getting to the north country way too early, and it wasn’t open yet.



It was a good day with over 240 miles logged onto our pickup.  Wildlife sightings included:  1 coyote, 6 mountain goats, and 1 porcupine.


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