Yukon Territory

Dempster to Klondike Highway, Yukon

25 July 2011 - Monday

Woke to a drizzly damp morning, with a good wind blowing through the area. Even so, the dog walk must go on. The North Klondike River hiking trail access is on the north side of the Tombstone campground.

Tombstone campground & Klondike River hiking trail
The start of the North Klondike River hiking trail

Despite the wind and chill, and occasionally muddy ground, the trail was a nice hike.
A little further along, it is possible to get down to the North Klondike River.

Klondike River hike at Tombstone
North Klondike River in Tombstone Park

It was unfortunate to discover evidence of days gone by. Came across this oil drum.
I wondered if the "6-21-34" was a date? June 21, 1934?

Klondike River hike at Tombstone
Oil drum in a pile of old stuff near the North Klondike River in Tombstone Park

Back at the campsite, we decided to hit the road southbound back to the North Klondike Highway. For the most part the weather was WET, so few pictures were taken. However, as we neared the junction with the North Klondike Highway, the sky was again bright.

Dempster Highway
Approaching the North Klondike Highway, southbound on the Dempster Highway

We took a quick break at the pull-off by the signage for the Dempster Highway.

Dempster Highway
Dempster Highway sign, and looking northward on the highway

Dempster Highway
Looking southward at the junction of the Dempster and North Klondike Highway

At the rest area, there are numerous signs. The Dempster Highway is officially part of the TransCanada Trail although the sign is a little worn.

Dempster Highway
TransCanada Trail sign at the junction of the Dempster & North Klondike Highways

Then it was time to turn southward on the North Klondike Highway. I don't find this route to be overly scenic, compared to other routes in Yukon.

The Tintina Trench is an area of interest though.

The Tintina Trench is a linear valley, extending into Alaska and south across the Yukon. It was first recorded as a geological feature in the early 1900s by R.G. McConnel, a geologist with the Geological Survey of Canada. The GSC named it the "Tintina (meaning Chief) Trench"

Beneath the Tintina Trench is a fault line along which the bedrock has shifted a minimum of 450 km laterally. Some 65 million years ago, the rocks presently beneath Dawson City were adjacent to those of Ross River! About 8 million years ago, the earth's crust separated along the fault, creating a wide valley or trench.

Southbound on the North Klondike Highway
View of the Tintina Trench from the scenic viewpoint along the North Klondike Highway

For bird watchers, May & September are the months to visit this area!

Southbound on the North Klondike Highway
We've lunched at Moose Creek campground, but not overnighted. Too many mosquitos!

Further along, Stewart Crossing ...

Southbound on the North Klondike Highway
Approaching Stewart Crossing on the North Klondike Highway

Be sure to turn to the right, or you'll find yourself on the way to Mayo & Keno! 

Southbound on the North Klondike Highway
Sign for Mayo, Pelly Crossing & Whitehorse

We like the backroads so thought we'd head into Ethel Lake, a 24-km drive. The campground sounded intriguing and the lake is supposed to be good for fishing! We've see seen signs like this before, at the start of the Nahanni Range Road for instance. So we continued along the road.

Southbound on the North Klondike Highway
Sign at the start of the road into Ethel Lake Yukon Gov't Campground

 The road was in good driving condition but it had numerous steep ascents and descents. About half way in the truck was starting to overheat with the slow driving, warm temperatures and steep climbs. On the descents, the brakes would overheat.

At a slight widening in the road we took a break. While walking the dogs, the executive decision was made; it was time to turn around. We were only half way in and didn't know what was ahead other than more hills!

Back on the Klondike Highway, it was getting late. So found a nice spot to park for the night.  

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