Sunday, August 8, 2010


Here are Saturday’s top three picks - 1) Haines Junction, Yukon Territory, 2) Kluane National Park in the Yukon Territory and 3) Cottonwood RV Park on Kluane Lake.

Haines Junction - Home to over 800 residents, many of whom commute to Whitehorse for work (about 100 miles one way!). They at least have eagles to soar for them along the road -

We interrupted this eagle while it was lunching off to the side of the road.
It immediately headed for the trees.

The look seems to be saying "thanks for screwing up my lunch".

Now it is just waiting for us to move on down the road.

For those coming or going to Alaska - Haines Junction is a decision point. Does one head south to Haines, Alaska or north to Fairbanks, Alaska. (Haines Junction is, however, still in the Yukon.)

Hang a right!

But, Haines Junction is much more than a decision point. It is surrounded with spectacular mountain views in every direction, borders on the Kluane NP and has the Kluane Lake (largest lake in the Yukon) nearby. The Village Monument - probably the most photographed spot in Haines Junction - is a ‘tribute’ to the incredible range of wildlife that packs the nearby National Park. It is a 24-foot-high sculpture of a mountain displaying the Dall sheep, caribou, moose, wolves and grizzly and black bears that inhabit the area.

The most shot image in Haines Junction. Perhaps that is because, like us, animal pictures are
needed to show off to family and friends. Most of the animals are still avoiding us.

Here are today's moose and dall sheep sightings.

Ahwww, look at the grizzly and elk. Aren't they handsome?

Haines Junction also houses the Visitor Centre for the Kluane National Park, a beautiful little ‘Welcome Park’, many delightful little restaurants, a bakery that will put pounds on with the smells, the proverbial General Store and scenery, scenery and more scenery!

I'm enjoying the view of the beginnings of the Kluane mountain range from the
Welcome Park.

Kluane National Park - Almost 14,000 sq. miles of protected, pristine wilderness which includes Icefield Ranges that are Canada’s highest and the world’s largest nonpolar alpine ice field. This NP is 80% ice and rock! Very little green. AND - remember those UNESCO World Heritage Sites (Jasper and Banff NP’s along with other surrounding parks and Glacier NP (US) combined with Waterton NP (Canada)) - well, Kluane NP and Reserve along with Alaska’s Glacier Bay NP and Wrangell-St. Elias NP (visiting next week) are all another joint UNESCO World Heritage Site!

The Alaska Highway parallels the Kluane Ranges (which are part of the St. Elias Mountains - and all are part of the NP) through this stretch - providing the stunning scenery.

The Kluane Mountains are beautiful and in vivid color right now. The cloud cover isn't too shabby either.

Then - the Kluane Lake (largest lake in the Yukon Territory) pops up. Just don’t know how much more of this beauty we can take. Which brings us to -

Cottonwood RV Park on the Kluane Lake - A Wilderness Paradise! Probably the first private park we have pulled into that looked as beautiful as the pictures. We are right on the lake with unbelievable views out our picture window - yet again!!!! Just the way we like to camp;-) The pictures will tell the story -

Another lake, another front row seat. I'm afraid we are spoiling Magic.

Elizabeth couldn't wait to get the S'mores - but catch the view!!

Wine, cheese and a warm fire (along with the blue anti-mosquito machines)
I saw a bumper sticker today that said
"There is not a single mosquito in the Yukon. They all are married and have very large families".

Caught in the act again. Never could get the ducks to swim close enough for a usable shot.

Are the S'mores ready yet???

Boil and bubble, toil and trouble.
The views across Kluane Lake from our campsite are stupendous.
The clouds just keep slowly roiling and morphing the shadows on the ground beneath them.

We understand that there is a grizzly bear family living on this mountain across from our campground.
And they visit the camp regularly. Still waiting for that to happen. Camera at the ready, of course.

Sunday was just a lazy day no matter how you look at it. We did manage a short (only about 1.5 miles) interpretive hike on the old Alaska Highway to Soldier’s Summit, the point where the ribbon cutting celebration took place to ‘open’ the highway on November 20, 1942. Hiking this original portion of the Highway, we were very grateful for the many improvements over the years -

The old Al-Can Highway can be seen in the foreground, with the new highway in the background.

Another view of the old highway. It is hard for me to believe that my Uncle Pete and his family of 5 drove from Cheyenne, Wyoming to Fairbanks, Alaska on this old highway.
This was in 1959 in a 1955 Chevy station wagon.

Now all we have to watch out for are limited shoulders and the ‘frost heaves’! Frost heaves result from ice forming beneath the surface of soil during freezing conditions in the atmosphere and causes the road to ‘buckle’;-( The Canadian Roads Dept. is fairly good at placing warnings where this has occurred - which is important. If one does NOT slow down before going over this abrupt roller coaster - especially in something like Magic - one winds up airborne*@$%@! One becomes VERY adept at reading the warning signs VERY quickly. Those provided by the Roads Dept. consist of 1) the diamond shaped warning sign for ‘bumps’ just before you hit the frost heave - this is the least used method and 2) the little orange flag by the side of the road at the point where the frost heave actually is - more commonly used BUT, not at every frost heave.

The dreaded bump sign and red flags mean "watch out - frost heaves/ROUGH road ahead".

Then there is the third warning sign - not left by the Roads Dept. at all - but by some unsuspecting motorist!! The skid marks -

We keep our eyes pealed. Skid marks are another warning sign that frost heaves are imminent.

The driver’s eyes are glued to the road watching for these skid marks at all times!!

One other interesting bit of history on the Highway Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and the Alaska Highway (which by now I am enamored with, in case you couldn’t tell) - at the summit there is a recorded CBC news broadcast from the day of the ceremony, which is quite interesting to listen to. There are also the flags of the US and Canada at the spot. However, all the pictures of the days festivities show the US flag and the Union Jack - of course, it was 1942!

At Soldier Summit, where Al-Can Highway ribbon cutting ceremony was held.

On our way again tomorrow - Alaska or bust!

Lots of Love to you all - and hope you are enjoying some of this -

E & G


  1. HI CUZ! Your blog is awesome, keep up the good work. John and I drove our 1 ton GMC hauling a 38' 5th wheel up and down the ALCAN in 2008. We camped just over a month in Alaska and had a wonderful time!

    I will relive 1959 and 2008 trips through your blog!

    Rhonda (Pete's #2 daughter)

  2. I love the photos, too, Gary! I am teaching 6th grade earth science and have started a folder of all the photos that fit our curriculum. They will definitely add a personal note to our lessons. Keep them coming! Who is that gray-haired man I am seeing in all the photos?

    Cheryl Dickey Roddenberry
    (your "youngest" cousin?)

  3. Greetings from Lake Geneva Guys - looks like a stupendouse trip, so far, and almost on your original schedule too! Linda and I just skyped Chris and Passage, who both are anxiously awaiting your arrival in Girdwood. Not sure if you still expect to arrive on the 23rd, but Chris works that day. He will be around in the evening though and he is off work on Tuesday, the 24th, so be sure to let him know your plans. Passage is getting really big and was attentively watching his grandparents on Skype. Can't wait to see him again in person on September 27th! Continued safe travels and have fun!