Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Drive Home: Kluane

As we left Alaska, we entered yet another nice game preserve, the Tetlin, and skirted on the edges of Kluane Park. We caught glimpses of the interior, Mt. Queen Mary was visible from the Don'Jek River.

We head southeast and stopped in Burwash landing and enjoyed the promising views offered by Kluane Lake. Kluane Lake is the largest lake in the Yukon Territories.

Destruction Bay and Sheep Mountain are some of the most scenic of the drive along the lake shore.

We were tempted to put the boats in the water, but we opted to wait and put them in at Lake Kathleen later that day.

Lake Kathleen, while very beautiful, was extremely windy and gusts were very strong. The evening paddle was not relaxing, but rather like a class II-III river expedition. We got very wet, but it was alot of fun. The new boat is better suited for white water :-)
The next morning we headed back to Whitehorse. Going through Haines Junction was spectacular. Again we were on the edge of Kluane Park. The mountains along the road act as an edge of a giant bowl, holding back the glaciers on the other side.
While beautiful, they are nothing compared to what lies just beyond them. Unfortunately access to the jewels of Kluane are not easy. There are very few trails and access points are very limited. It is best to hire a fly-in service. We agreed that another visit is mandatory.


The Drive Home : Leaving Whitehorse

We arrived in Whitehorse hoping to fix a mechanical problem we discovered when examining our tires. Apparently the 1300 plus gravel road miles we've put on our adventure vehicle has taken a toll on her. We need a front-end alignment. Unable to get it done in Whitehorse in a timely manner we left town.
Before leaving, however, we had a nice dinner with one of our new found friends, Shawn, an avid para glider and an outdoor enthusiasts -- like us. We hope to meet up again in the future.
As we left town, the Yukon gave us a final goodbye. A beautiful rainbow and the S.S. Klondike gave us a final send off.
We had tears in our eyes as we knew our time in the Yukon was over. Our visit has been more than just a passing glance. We feel connected with the country, having tasted her mighty rivers, hiked her trails and driven her roads into the heart of the territory for nearly 3 months. It was a magical time that we will never forget.

The Drive Home: The Northern Rockies

As we left the Yukon, we entered British Columbia excited about the new things promised to us in the travel guides. Among them was the chance to see wild Buffalo along the side of the road. We weren't disappointed.

This guy was a teddy bear, despite his intimidating glares.
Even further down the road we ran into a herd of his buddies. It was very exciting to see and we kept a vigil eye on the road so as not to hit one.

That evening we camped a the famous Liard Hot springs. We we were not disappointed. We had a nice evening dip and once again in the morning.
We did encounter disappointment as we entered Muncho Lake Provincial Park. It was raining. The forecast didn't look good. Unfortunately this photo was the best view we could muster of the lake. It was snowing on the higher peaks above us.
One of the bright spots was encountering a small herd of Mtn. Caribou at Summit Lake. Neither of us had ever seen Mtn. Caribou.
Snow was falling just a few hundred feet of elevation above us and we feared that we may be caught in some snow.
As we drove out of the mountains down to Fort Nelson our fears subsided as the sun peeked out for about 15 minutes and we got a nice picture of a fat black bear munching on the side of the road.
Even better was our drive beyond Fort Nelson as we encountered a mother with 3 cubs. A crowd of cars gathered and before long they approached within 10 feet of the camper. Yukon Johann had the camera ready and nabbed these pictures while Moose Lee had the foot on the gas for a quick getaway. The bears didn't seem to be bothered by our presence and we enjoyed about 15 minutes of extreme close viewing goodness. The cubs were soooo cute!!! Mom would grunt every now and then and look up at us to make sure we weren't threatening her and the family unit. They finally left when a big semi-truck came screaming by, scaring mom away from the road.

Satisfied, we were ready for bed. However, mother nature gave us another gift as we passed a Moose grazing in a roadside marsh.

Unfortunately, it is still raining. In talking to the locals, they say it has been a strange summer here in the terminus of the Rocky Mtns. as it has been raining almost non-stop since June with only a week of sunshine. With the early snows, the trucks are beginning to haul goods up north much sooner than normal. We were advised to be careful on the road.

Until next time, travel safely --Moose Lee & Yukon Johann