Whitehorse to Destruction Bay, YT ~ 205 miles
Jul 13, 2007
|FRIDAY, JULY 13 - DAY 11 - TRAVEL DAY
WHITEHORSE TO KLUANE LAKE - 205 miles
CAMPGROUND DESTINATION TONIGHT: KLUANE WILDERNESS VILLAGE
Directions -- Northbound, Alaska Highway. Milepost 1084.6, NW 200 miles from Whitehorse on the left side.
Milepost guide page 191
As you make plans for today, be sure to include a stop at Haines Junction to visit the Kluane National Park and Yukon Government Visitor Center just off the highway.
Know what a "burl" is? Along the route today you are going to pass through Burwash Landing where you'll learn about "burl bowls" and "diamond willow canes." And by the time you get to Kluane Wilderness Village you will be ready to visit Skully's Saloon and see the famous "Burl Bar." There is also another excellent wildlife museum at Burlwash.
Kluane National Park and Reserve of Canada
Kluane National Park and Reserve of Canada covers an area of 21,980 square kilometers. It is a land of precipitous, high mountains, immense ice fields and lush valleys that yield a diverse array of plant and wildlife species and provides for a host of outdoor activities. It is also home to Mount Logan, Canada's highest peak at 19,545 feet.
We drug our feet leaving this morning as it was to be a short day's drive to our next stop, approximately 170 miles. It wasn't raining, just overcast with a few sprinkles.
The folks at the RV Park had fabricated a new tire mount and put it in place yesterday afternoon. I stopped by the office on the way out to pay them for it. We then headed out.
The road near Whitehorse was in great shape. As soon as we reached the city limits, it turned bad. I took some unexpected frost heaves at 60 MPH and thought that I was going to loose the trailer. These heaves went on for about 20 miles.
We then came to Haines Junction. Here, we turned onto the Alcan Hwy to head toward Tok, AK, tomorrow's destination. If we stayed on the highway, we would have gone to Haines, AK. We passed Haines to the west, as we headed south on the boat to Juneau. About 30 miles down the highway, we had to stop and wait for a pilot car to lead us along 10 miles of road construction. I was, unfortunately, behind a semi. I had to increase my separation distance to ¼ mile because I couldn't see the gravel roadbed for the dust the semi created. I had to turn off all fresh air vents until we left this area. We continued on for about another 5 miles and then had to stop again. Here, they had completely removed the existing highway and replaced it with an unpaved detour. Fortunately, it was only about 2 miles long.
We finally arrived at today's destination. We are near the Kluane Lake, which is surrounded by snow capped mountains and the wind is howling through here at high speed.
The coach, trailer and SUV are disgustingly filthy. I'd love to wash some of the filth off but our tour director told us we have more road construction in front of us tomorrow. So I won't bother.
The group gets together tonight for a pot luck dinner and an evening of conversation (we are in the middle of the wilderness - not near any city). We are told that we want to leave early tomorrow, as it will be a long driving day. We also have to clear US Customs again when we leave YT.
Our campground host joined the group at dinner and gave us the following fact about where we are: averages -35F in the winter; the Kluane (Shoshone for "big fish") Lake freezes over and down to 6 ft thick; you can catch 40 # trout routinely; the RV Park is on permafrost 2-6 feet below our rigs; June is spring, July is summer, August is fall, the other 9 months are winter; winds sail through at up to 120 MPH; but other than that, it is the most beautiful place in the Yukon. The place was named by the military when the Alcan highway was being built in the '40s. It was a staging area for supplies and materials for building the original road. Apparently, a lot of material was lost when the lake thawed in the "spring." Thus the name.
He also advised that the next 200 miles is under construction to deal with this "spring's" frost heaves. So a normal 4 hour drive to Tok, AK, will take 8. I will definitely go to bed early. Also, to get us off to a good start, he has his cook coming in at 7 AM to fix us a great breakfast of eggs, bacon/sausage and pancakes. He also promised some bakery goods.