A Sidetrip to Kluane Lake on the Alaska Highway

Day 1 – Whitehorse to Congdon Creek Campground

It should have been an easy day, but it wasn’t.  I slept in until Al woke me close to 10:00, so it was noon before we left Pioneer RV Park in Whitehorse.  On the plus side, they offer propane and fuel at slightly better rates than the gas stations in town, so we didn’t have to make an extra stop.

We weren’t out of Whitehorse, and one of the tire sensors showed we had a flat.  It turned out to be the same tire we had problems with in Dawson City.  Luckily, Kal Tire was able to take us almost immediately.  It turned out to be the valve that needed replacing, so a relatively quick and inexpensive fix.  We were back on the road by 2:00.

We headed northwest out of Whitehorse on Highway 1.  The scenery along the way is mountainous, but it really turned spectacular once we were in sight of the Kluane (pronounced ‘Kloo-wah-nee’) Range.  Because we were late leaving, we didn’t stop at any of the viewpoints.    At Haines Junction, the highway makes a right turn, and we were soon driving along the shores of Kluane Lake.  Kluane Lake is the largest lake in the Yukon and is approximately 400 square km.

We arrived at Congdon Creek Campground around 5:00.  Luckily, a few waterfront sites were available; these Yukon government campgrounds are first-come, first-serve. We were able to get a large site that gave us views of the lake and the mountains.  The Yukon government campgrounds have no electricity, water or sewer at the sites, but the price is $12 for non-Yukoners, and that includes your firewood.  This campground has an area enclosed by an electric fence for people camping in tents – to keep the bears away.

Day 2 – Touring the South Shore of Kluane Lake

After a hearty brunch of peameal bacon, fried eggs and toast, we headed back onto the Alaska Highway with the truck.

We retraced our route from the day before to make the Thechàl Dhâl’ Visitor Centre for Kluane National Park and Reserve our first stop.  The visitor centre was quite busy, and one of the park staff was outside talking to several visitors.  They were viewing the Dall’s Sheep, which were partway up the mountain.  A viewing telescope is available to get a better look.  Inside the building, they keep a tally of the wildlife they see that day.  From there, we took a short drive to the parking lot for the nearby hiking trails and then to a nearby old building.  Al likes to take pictures of old buildings.

We left the visitor centre and headed back toward our campground and past it.  We stopped at the shore at Destruction Bay to snap a few pictures.  Destruction Bay was named during the building of the Alaska Highway when a storm destroyed the buildings and construction materials that were stored here.

Further up the highway is Burwash Landing.  The Lady of the Holy Rosary Church is located here. It’s a unique building and has a large sign outside explaining its history.

From there, we went back to the RV.  Although Al started a campfire, the chilly wind made it too cold to sit outside.  We decided that although we loved this campground, our current site (site #12) was very windy, and we would move to a different spot in the morning.

Day 3 – Congdon Creek Park

After breakfast, we took a walk through the more sheltered loop of the park, looking for a less windy site.  Our 45-foot motorhome would fit into almost all the sites, so we had lots to choose from.  When I went to self-register us at our new site (#31), a “bears in the area” sign was posted on the registration board.  Other than that, it was a lounge day.

Day 4 – Congdon Creek Park

Another lounge day, but Al did clean the outside and inside of the windshield of the RV.

Day 5 – Return to Whitehorse

Carmacks bills itself as the hub of the Yukon but, for us, it’s been Whitehorse.  My earlier blog provides some details about Whitehorse.  We decided to return to Pioneer RV Park as they are reasonably priced and have reliable internet.  We needed to make some plans for the next part of our travels.  COVID travel restrictions and forest fires are significant considerations.

Our first stop was in Haines Junction.  The Village Bakery was my destination while Al gave Ozzy a walk at the parkette at the main intersection.  The bakery had some great offerings, and we were very pleased with the jalapeno cheese bread that I picked up.  We used it to make some tasty sandwiches for our lunch.

Our only other stop on the way was at Canyon Creek Bridge.  The “old” bridge beside the highway has been rebuilt several times and is now considered a replica of the bridge originally built in 1903.

Back in Whitehorse, after checking the weather forecast, we decided another weekend in Whitehorse was necessary, so we weren’t travelling in rainy weather.  It seems we’ve had a lot of cool and rainy weather lately.

Check back to read the next blog about travels as we head south from Whitehorse.

Safe and happy travels!

Vanessa

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