Thursday, June 23, 2016

Through the Yukon: Kluane Lake and Kluane National Park

Lunch with a View - Kluane Mountains
June 15-16, Whitehorse to Kluane Lake

Everywhere you go in the Yukon people will tell you that you need to go somewhere else. At Teslin, the host insisted we should drive the Top of the World Highway. In Whitehorse, a fellow camper told us Dawson City was a must see. Back on Boya Lake, a fellow traveler insisted that Atlin Lake was "The Place." At the Kluane National Park Visitor Center we talked to a couple just returning from Haines, a place they just loved. All those places do sound great. We hope to see them all someday, but in the meanwhile...You just have to go to Kluane Lake and Kluane National Park!

Driving the road north out of Whitehorse is much like driving on a rollercoaster through Tiaga. Built
Outhouse with a view - Kluane Visitor Center
over permafrost that causes the road bed to freeze and thaw, and dip and rise the road winds along for over 100 miles through Tiaga, sparse forests that live above permafrost. Named by early Russian explorers, it means "little sticks" because that is what the forest looks like. Thin 20 or 30 ft high spruce trees doted above marshy ground. The further west you go, the more glimpses you get to see of far off mountains until at last, you reach Haines Junction and you're in the Kluane Mountains.

Roll another 60 miles down the road and the eastern end of Klaune Lake comes into view. Klaune Lake is the largest lake in the Yukon covering 154 square miles. It's a long, narrow, bright blue lake, one of the biggest and the most beautiful in the Yukon. It's at the edge of the Kluane National Park, and there is a territorial campground midway along the south side. In that campground is a campsite right on the lake. We camped there, Mesmerized by the lake we finally looked up and noticed the huge, towering snow covered mountains of the Kluane Range to the south.

Campsite with a View - Kluane Lake
It was sunny, beautiful and warm. Needless to say we spent two days at the Lake. Hiking along the shore on the first day. On the second day we hiked up into the mountains, Sheep Mountain to be specific. The Rangers at the Station thought the Dall sheep that live there had already moved onto higher ground, but there had been bear sightings. We did not see any bears, even a bear paw track. We did see a sign commemorating the memory of a woman killed in a "bear encounter", lots of sheep tracks, amazing mountain scenery, and far off the blue tongue of the Kaskawulsh Glacier.

If you every go to the Yukon, you've just got to go to Kluane!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow, you are getting into some beautiful country! Luv the pics!