And some real COOL gardening, in Yukon and Alaska style.

Yukon garden, with row covers to protect from 'anytime' frost.
Yukon garden, with row covers to protect from ‘anytime’ frost.

Yesterday we returned from an all too short trip to see my sister in the Yukon. Sadly, this was my very first trip there, and it went by soooooo fast. But, it also was an eye opening experience, and I will return before too long.

While this is a gardening blog, it seems to take side trips to travel and gardens, so I hope you enjoy that as well! Today, I will highlight some plant material, but it would be very hard to write this and not post some of the photos of glorious scenery….so that is what I will do!

Deck plantings, and a great coffee spot!
Deck plantings, and a great coffee spot!

Raised in the quite northern part of Alberta, and also lived in the furthest north community, I understand northern life, and I love it. As all people, I am now unaccustomed to the differences, because I have been a ‘southern’ dweller for a good number of years. Prior to moving to Central Alberta, we were in sunny, hot Medicine Hat, which is prairie, and a very mild climate in winter. So, after landing in Whitehorse at 11 pm, spending time touring a bit with my sister, then driving to her home in Haines Junction, and hour and 1/2 away, we were facing 2 am. Still light out…..seriously! Solstice just past, we enjoyed amazing long days, and forgot all about bed time until one of us started to nod off! That was well past midnight each night! Loved it!

Emerald Lake, between Whitehorse YK and Skagway AK
Emerald Lake, between Whitehorse YK and Skagway AK

As you can imagine, the sun hours aid northern communities in growing amazing gardens. We were privileged to visit a few in both the Yukon, and in Haines, Alaska, a 250 km drive south, with a coastal climate. Very different, but amazing non the less. Highly recommended as a travel destination, if you are at all interested. Life in northern areas is very much about the outdoor experience, the vistas, the animals, the vegetation….and sooooo worth every second.

Dogwoods
Dogwoods
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Close to Skagway
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Skagway Town site

We started out in Haines Junction, spending a bit of time seeing the sights in and around this small town. It is located right by Kluane National Park, and is a hub for many activities. My sister is a great guide having lived in the Yukon for several years, and decided to take us on the Golden Circle tour: Whitehorse, Skagway Alaska, Haines Alaska, (Juneau is part of it, but we didn’t go there) and back to Hanies Junction Yukon. We loaded ourselves into her truck and camper unit and headed out. It is a long drive, but never boring! We spotted an elk herd shortly after setting out, and had to stop to take a few pics of course! We overnighted in Skagway, with the intent to take a train up to Laughton Glacier, and hike, but we couldn’t on the day we were there. Skagway is a cruise ship port, and 2 days a week are booked solid on the train. We hit one of those days!

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Mountain lake hike

So we hiked up to a mountain lake, and enjoyed ourselves regardless. We also drove out to Dyea, an old, now abandoned, community from gold rush days. We enjoyed lunch and the wild flowers everywhere!!!

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Mountain lake at Skagway
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Blue flag iris in the meadow at Dyea
On the Ferry from Skagway to Haines
On the Ferry from Skagway to Haines

The following day we took the ferry to Haines and spent the day either hiking or stopping at amazing locations. Luckily for us, my Sister has many friends in Haines, so we were up close and personal with a few gardens, art studios, coffee shops, and even a micro brew!

Yellow flag in an artist friends garden
Yellow flag in an artist friends garden

Both Haines and Skagway are on ocean inlets, so the climate is different than inlandOcean waters at Haines

Ocean waters at Haines Alaska

Rainbow Glacier
Rainbow Glacier

Glaciers are numerous, and we were so fortunate to see a few quite close, along with the amazing mountain scenery. We also we introduced to some of the fishing practices, and saw parts of that industry.

Fish plant in an idyllic location
Fish plant in an idyllic location
Along the way, from Haines Alaska to Haines Junction Yukon
Along the way, from Haines Alaska to Haines Junction Yukon

Our drive back was a different kind of scenic. Still mountainous, but also large valleys, and rolling alpine ridges, with rivers, streams and lakes everywhere.

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Kluane Lake
Kluane Lake

We spent our final day in Kluane National Park, exploring more. We biked and hiked trails, which I am not really in the best of shape for, but we did it! And we loved it.

Dust from the silt on the Slims river, at Kluane Lake
Dust from the silt on the Slims river, at Kluane Lake
Natural vegetation creating a stunning drive!
Natural vegetation creating a stunning drive!

We stopped at Sheep Mountain, and we fortunate to see many mountain sheep

Mountain sheep high on the mountain
Mountain sheep high on the mountain

high up. The spotting scope helped with detail, but we watched for a long time as they traversed the craggy heights. The coloration of the rocks was so amazing!!

Wild chocolate lilies
Wild chocolate lilies
Wild delphinium and columbine
Wild delphinium and columbine
View from my sister's home
View from my sister’s home
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Near Haines Junction Yukon

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