Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Whitehorse to Haines Junction Yukon

Whitehorse Yukon

Our next port of call has been Whitehorse, the Capital and largest city in the Yukon.

Full of rich history, there is so much to see and do here.   
Our last time thru we spent 4 days and this time did the same.
Our base of operations while here was the Hi-Country RV Park which is conveniently 
situated right on the edge of town.

Our Pull-thru at Hi-Country RV Park Whitehorse
We did not go to any of the places that we visited last time so
you can click here to see the sights from our last visit.

On Saturday we went out to Miles Canyon which is just east of town.
A city recreation area - the canyon, thru which the Yukon River flows,  was once filled 
with rapids and was a hazard to be negotiated by gold prospectors headed to the Klondike.

Many prospectors lost their life before the Mounties took control and established
safety precautions and licensed boat guides to ferry them thru the rapids.

These rapids were known as the White Horse Rapids due to the way they looked like
a wild horses mane.   It was from the name of the rapids that the city took its name.

Suspension bridge over Miles Canyon
Today a dam and Hydro Power Plant just a few miles downstream  has tamed the torrent
and provides power to the city and the Miles Canyon is spanned by a suspension bridge and
ringed with walking trails for the local population to hike, or cross country ski.

A kayaker negotiates Miles Canyon below the suspension bridge
The canyon walls are the remnants of an ancient volcanic flow and are Basalt.
The river has slowly cut thru the flow but due to the hardness of the rock the Yukon River is
still constrained here compared to up and down stream.

In Whitehorse lies the Old River Steamer the SS Klondike.
Back in the day it ferried passengers the 300miles north to Dawson and back.
It is now a Parks Canada Historic Site and location for a Doodle PhotoShoot.

Notice the Red Chairs.
These are found at all Parks Canada sites.
Look for the Red Chairs and you will find a great spot to take a photo.
We seek them out and have a small, but growing collection.
Perhaps the subject of a future blog post.

Leaving Whitehorse, our next port of call will be Kathleen Lake in Kluane National Park.
Just south of the small town of Haines Junction it was only a 115 mile drive, but took longer due
to the constant companion in the north country summer....

Road Construction!

Waiting for the pilot vehicle on the Alaska Highway.

Winters and the underlying permafrost is tough on the roads up here but they do a good
job of keeping them mostly in decent shape.
There are some places where it is a harder battle.   
We will be on that stretch next week.

We followed the pilot vehicle thru the construction and at least it had been watered down
so there was no dust.    The other day it was not and the bus got filled with dust!
We spent a couple hours dusting, vacuuming, and shaking everything out.

Road Construction in the Yukon

The Alaska Highway follows a long valley as it meanders west from Whitehorse.
Far in the distance looms the St. Elias Mountains.
Our destination lies at their base.

Heading west on the Alcan between Whitehorse and Haines Jct.

We arrived at our campground a few hours after leaving Whitehorse.
The Lake Katherine Campground in Kluane National Park.
Kluane NP is a vast roadless region and our campground is one little road accessible nook.

The campground is First Come First Serve.
Its boondocking - no hookups and self service registration.
The sites are large and very well separated.   There were only a few other people here
and again we managed to get the best campsite in the loop.

Site 27 Kathleen Lake Kluane National Park

The road is large and easy to navigate.
Of the 40 or so sites in here - more than half are large enough to handle any size RV.
Situated in a mixed Spruce Aspen & Birch Forest,  this is Bear Country so a 
clean campsite is important.

Our campfire is far away from the bus...  Like I prefer.

We have a view thru the trees of the lake and snowcapped peaks.
Laying in bed in the morning I watched the mountains turn orange as the sun cast the
early morning rays on the peaks.

Taking the Doodles for a stroll around the loop.

We took a trail around the lake to view the wider lake and mountains beyond.

Kathleen Lake Kluane National Park

Somewhere out here was the Red Chairs but I didn't have a map and couldn't find them.

Kathleen Lake Kluane National Park

I have a decent 3G signal here so today and taking care of some work we took
a drive down the Haines Highway towards Haines, Alaska.

We drove as far as the border but turned around as we did not have our passports.
Along the way we stopped at the Dezadeash Lake Yukon Govt Campground.
This was one of the places on my list to check out as a potential place to stay.

Dezadeash Lake Yukon

Its a very pretty lake and the campground has a number of spaces that we could fit into.
The road is a loop so you could drive in - check it out - and leave without problem.

There was only one small trailer in the place and again....   we could have had the
best site in the place with our windshield overlooking the lake.

We took this photo on the shore right at that campsite.

While there a flock of Trumpeter Swan flew overhead.   Nice!

Further down the Haines Highway we stopped at another Yukon Govt CG
Million Dollar Falls.

Its about 1km up a dirt road and another loop road where you could drive in and look it over
and leave without any worries about unhooking.

There is a walking trail to the falls which we took.

Million Dollar Falls Yukon

Here is a representative campsite in Million Dollar Falls.

Million Dollar Falls Yukon Govt Campground

Another view of the campground road.

There was no one staying at this campground so I guess its safe to say that we could have had
the best site in there too!

It was super large private sites and like all the other Yukon Govt Campgrounds...
Your $12 cdn fee includes free DRY firewood.

Further south..  another view on the Haines Highway.
As you head south you get closer to the coast and the clouds with their load of 
Pacific moisture thicken as they strain to crest to mountains.  

To get to the coast you must climb a pass and then descend down to the sea.

A busy Beaver lives in the area!

A beaver lodge along the Haines Highway
Heading back north towards home we descend into the interior and ahead the blue
skies beckon.   Ahead is Dezadeash Lake

Dezadeash Lake Yukon

We stopped at the shore of Dezadeash Lake again to watch some
Trumpeter Swans feeding.

Dezadeash Lake is an important Migratory Fowl stopover along their annual route.

Trumpeter Swans Dezadeash Lake Yukon

We are now back at the campground.
Our Solar has been feeding all our our needs and the generator has not had to run
once yet on this trip.   The long days allow us to make power earlier in the day and it
last later into the evening.

Its nice to know that we are doing a small part to help keep this place clean.

Tomorrow we head to Kluane Lake.
Its a beautiful lake and the Yukons Largest.

We are going to stay in a boondocking site at an RV Park that was highly recommended
as one of the prettiest anywhere.   (Cottonwood RV Park in Destruction Bay YT)

Our windshield should again be looking over quite a view.
The owner promised me "a million dollar view"

After that we will probably move 6 miles down the lake and spend a few more days
boondocking at Congdon Creek Yukon Govt Campground.

It too is on Kluane Lake and we spent some time there last trip.
Its another beautiful campground in a beautiful spot.

Its also noted for its soapberries which Grizzly Bears love to eat so we
might have some furry neighbors.

See you down the road.

PS   Dont forget to click the link (above right) "where are we today?"

It will bring up a real-time map that shows where we are and where we've been.
If the phone is in my pocket it will even show where we've hiked.

It updates every 5 minutes.

You can locate any of the points mentioned in the blog by using the map.

Once on the map you can click on "Tales from the Highway" on the top right..
There is a drop down with "adjustments"
You can select a longer time period to see our travels over a longer period of time
and go back to look at places previously visited.

Its a useful planning tool.   Enjoy!


  1. Gorgeous pics as usual. Looks like some quiet relaxing places you've got to visit. We might need some of that dry firewood, it's a cool 68 this morning! Looking forward to some wildlife pics! Safe travels! Hug Kate for me!!

    1. Wildlife? I had Trumpeter Swans, a Katie Beaver, and a pair of wild Doodles.

  2. Beautiful. Watch out for bears. I hear they like doodlesnacks...

    1. doodlesnacks... katiesnacks... as long as they don't like Papasnacks!

  3. I'm not so good at geography so you are helping me learn about territories in Canada! Just beautiful up there. Love your posts.

    1. When I look at a map and see where we actually are its hard to conceive. We are 2,000 miles further away from you than you are from Paris.

  4. Great info. Thanks for sharing. We are planning Alaska in 2018. Do you find you need reservations in any areas? It seems as though boondocking is readily available but how about campgrounds with hookups? Are holiday weekends a problem? We travel in a 40' MH and I really don't like making reservations.


  5. Most places reservations are not necessary. Places closer to the Border like Banff & Jasper - it depends. Early season weekday NO. Holiday weekend YES. Yes for Denali as well. I only make reservations in limited circumstances (like in Whitehorse) and then only a day or two ahead. Just make sure that if you plan on making a reservation - that you plan to do it somewhere that will have cell service. I try to plan to be at the more popular FCFS areas on a weekday so that I can get in no problem. Then I try to stay put over the weekend if its in a busier area. There are campgrounds with hookups all along the way. Most places will be 30amp or less but considering that you wont usually need air conditioning - its not a problem.


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