Spring Breakup: A Swimming Tale

Spring Breakup: A Swimming Tale

For a while there it seemed the “spring fever vs ice” competition was over. The Yukon River broke weeks ago, and it’s hot enough in the daytime to get a slight sunburn, as I found out yesterday.

But I had to drive between Dawson City and Whitehorse twice in the past two weeks, and as we passed the larger lakes, such as Fox Lake, I was surprised to see them still carrying an unbroken layer of ice.

To top things off, on a hike yesterday, I discovered this in the shadow of Crocus Bluff:

I’ve been wrong! Ice. Lingers. On.

So I thought it would still make sense to include here a story my friend Gaby Sgaga told me recently about falling into the Yukon River during spring breakup 2009. Gaby has lived in and near Dawson for more than a decade, and alternates her seasons between working as an interpreter for Parks Canada (summers) and living the outdoor life (winters).

Gaby on the Dawson City side of the Dawson – West Dawson ice bridge, spring 09 – showing how the ice bridge remains until the Yukon River breaks apart

But before you go, here are some of Gaby’s photos demonstrating the role of canoes and spring break-up navigation across the Yukon River. From 2007 and 2009.

  • January 3, 2017
  • Ice
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