Yukon Territory

Kluane Lake to the Snag Junction on the Alaska Highway

20 August 2010 - Friday

Rain! Cold rain driven by the hard wind! ICK!!

Mornings like this make me appreciate the programmable thermostat in the fifth wheel. We both stayed toasty in bed until the furnace came on and warmed up the interior!

During the morning dog walk, we all got SOAKED! The plan had been to spend the day here, BUT the plan also called for clear skies and warm sun! Didn't know where we were going, but the decision was made to just go.

Apparently the wet weather didn't stop the locals from getting out and about.  Very near Nines Creek, this brown bear was hiking south on the Alaska Highway, munching on the wet roadside vegetation.  

Grizzly on Alaska Highway
Grizzly bear on the Alaska Highway near Destruction Bay

Unfortunately, I had tossed my camera in the truck without checking its settings. My shots were underexposed (almost ALL black!) The camera was set on aperture priority for yesterday's landscape shots; the resulting shutter speed was too slow and the moving bear was blurry! However, through the magic of shooting in RAW, adjusting brightness settings, and then tweaking in Photoshop, I have reasonable proof that we saw the bear heading south on the Alaska Highway!

Grizzly bear on Alaska Highway

Well, THAT woke us up. Tazz was also very excited! She had lots of experience with black bears at home, but this was her first sighting of a brown bear.

After fueling in Destruction Bay, we continued northward, exploring various side roads. We had explored the Burwash Landing area in 2009 so didn't spend too much time around there. North of Burwash the Quill Creek mining road heads west into the hills. It looked reasonable so off we went!

The road continued to narrow and get rougher. Then it disappeared and re-appeared again. At the base of the mountain range, we decided to continue exploring on foot and then have some lunch. 

Quill Creek mining road in Yukon
Lunch stop on Quill Creek mining road - N61 29.425 W139 25.898

After lunch the decision was made to return to the Alaska Highway. The clouds were still thick overhead and it was cold. We wondered if it would snow overnight, which would make it difficult to get out even with 4x4.

I enjoy driving through this area. Approaching the Donjek River the views up the valley are wonderful. The Alaska Highway is rough through here and all the way to the Alaska border.

Descending to the Donjek River on the Alaska Highway
Descending to the Donjek River on the Alaska Highway - N61 38.218 W139 42.225

Next we pulled into the Lake Creek Yukon gov't campground at km 1791. It was also very WET. Sigh. And so we carried on.

There is a small rest area at Pickhandle Lake (km 1126). This spot is not suited to RVs longer than 30'. However, we pulled in and with some to & fro-ing were able to turn around.  It is a scenic spot and moose can often be seen in the area.

Pickhandle Lake on the Alaska Highway in Yukon
Looking southwest from the Pickhandle Lake rest area - N61 55.217 W140 18.065

I also was able to enjoy my hobby and "shoot" some birds ...

Duck at Pickhandle Lake in Yukon

Duck at Pickhandle Lake in Yukon

While at the rest area, we helped an elderly couple change a flat tire on their travel trailer. She was worried about her husband because he was insisting on doing it himself -- too prideful to seek assistance. So I helped her relax while Steve strolled over and lent a hand without getting in the way.

Back on the road, the skies continued to clear.

Approaching Koidern on the Alaska Highway northbound
Approaching Koidern northbound on the Alaska Highway - N61 58.002 W140 24.969

The White River--its name comes from the volcanic & glacial silt washing down from the mountains that gives the river its unique colour.

White River on the Alaska Highway in Yukon
Looking east on the White River from the Alaska Highway - N61 59.597 W140 34.108

The highway continues to be inflicted with frost heaves! Without a doubt the highway is in much worse condition than it was our last trip through in 2008.

Frost heaves on the Alaska Highway near White River
Frost heaves through a marshy area - N62 11.699 W140 41.135

By now it was about 4 p.m. We had spent too many minutes exploring and adventuring on the back roads! As well, the road conditions are rough so the going is slow.

We decided to stop in at a favorite camp spot. A quiet spot that we have enjoyed in the past. The ground isn't level and with blocks under the tires the fifth wheel sits nose high. But we enjoy it anyway! 

Camping near Snag, Yukon Territory
Camping spot near Snag Lake on the Alaska Highway

Of course, I know the exact coordinates of our hideaway. However, if I told you it would no longer be a hideaway. There is room for only one RV; if we pulled in and you were there I would be very annoyed. That's putting it mildly. So it is just best to not tell you.

Camping near Snag, Yukon Territory
View of rainbow from the lakeshore by our camp site

The skies stayed variable. Even though we didn't have any rain, a rainbow came out to highlight my images.

The evening was quiet and enjoyable again. Steve headed out with the kayak.
Tazz picked up a bloodsucker from the lake while she played. I was able to pull it out before it embedded too deeply. This lake has always been bad for bloodsuckers!
And I took some great pictures!

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