Leaving Haines, we headed for our road trip through the Yukon, Canada: “Larger than Life”. We broke the 350 mile trip up into three pieces:
Haines –> Haines Junction, Canada
Haines Juntion –> Whitehorse Canada
Whitehorse –>Skagway, Alaska
It was hard not to be blown away by the vastness of the Yukon territory. Throughout the drive we stopped at historical markers, vistas, waterfalls, and even to see wildlife. Not having a time table allowed us to meander, stop, and savor the moments. One of those momentous was watching a mama bear and her two cubs roadside, having lunch:
In driving the through the Kluane National Forest we were struck by how short the trees were. I’m used to pine and fir forests having trees that are 100s of feet high. However here, most trees were no more than 40-50 feet high. The density of the forest was also remarkable. With no natural markers like mountains or oceans, I could see how someone could quickly and easily become lost in this wilderness. One aspect of the drive that I enjoyed most was not seeing other motorists for long stretches of time. We passed many trail heads, and opportunities to explore aspects of this wonderful forest.
Before we descended into Haines Junction we dropped by Katherine Lake to let our feet soak in the cool water.
After Whitehorse, the Klondike highway went through some truly stunning landscapes.
Just before a collection of glacier blue and emerald green lakes, we stopped to peruse the Carcross Desert (the smallest desert in the world measuring one square mile). Shortly after this, it was up and over the Klondike Pass navigating some steep, narrow, and winding roads into Skagway.
This was a small town, with a few eateries and many guest houses and lodges for rent. I took a morning hike along the Dezandeash River Trail, and although I did not see a bear, I saw a steaming pile of fresh bear poop. It was a light three mile loop trail along the river. In the early morning hours it was quiet and peaceful. Birds were fishing and highly active.
It is true that things are LARGE in the Yukon. When in Whitehorse we were attacked by a giant mountain beaver:
The highlight of Whitehorse visit was visiting Muktuk Adventures (Read about it here). However, we also enjoyed the Berengia Museum. Just outside of town there is the Yukon Suspension bridge that crosses a gorge through which flows the Yukon river. This made for a fun side trip on the way.
This small coastal enclave is overrun by Alaskan cruise visitors almost daily. The historic downtown area sells all types of jewelry and trinkets that cruise goers demand. The restaurants near the harbor resemble those found in nearly every cruise ship port of call. However, when the crowds left, the town was peaceful and quiet. From here we caught the inter coastal ferry back to Juneau for our flight to Anchorage.
This amazing area was vast and beautiful. It was not a surprise to learn that it was part of the UNESCO world heritage site.