Friday, July 29, 2016

Lake Kluane, YT - Stop 31 on our Trek North to Alaska

Roadwork on the ALCAN made a 120-mile trip take about 5 hours!  But we landed in paradise--at the Cottonwood RV Park, that is!   Located about 50 miles north of Haines Junction at Milepost 1067 on the ALCAN, the campground is a bit pricy, but well worth it!   It is situated right on Kluane Lake, Canada’s largest lake.  “Hookup” sites are $40 Canadian and offer only 15 amp electric and freshwater; there is a dump station for eliminating waste water.   We decided to forego hookups and boondock ($35 Canadian) so we could get a site right along the waterfront that would be big enough for our setup.  Site “Y” fit the bill perfectly!  It was a HUGE, secluded site with a lovely lakeside view.

The campground offers terrific views of the St. Elias Mountain Range as well, and we are only 7 miles from hiking trails.

The property is very attractive, a combination of natural, wooded areas and fragrant annual and perennial flower gardens.  And I was excited to learn there is a mama grizzly and her cubs roaming the area.  However, try as I might to spot them, all I found was one giant pile of berry-filled poop!  There is Wi-Fi available on the comfortable deck outside the office, but again, very poor quality.  The deck provides a relaxed setting for the fun musical entertainment provided to guests each evening by workampers Keith and Marilyn.  The campground owners, Glenn and Mary Anne are simply wonderful—friendly, accommodating, and very customer service oriented.  Another Yukon campground that comes highly recommended by this Rambling RV Rat!

Dad obtained his Yukon fishing license (a bargain at $21 Canadian for 6 days) and immediately set his pole in the water.  Within 15 minutes he caught a 2-lb trout!  I DO believe in miracles, I DO!  Of course, that was the only one he caught over the 5 days we stayed here!

Miracles do happen!

We pulled the motorcycles out of the “garage” once we got here.  The area between here and Haines Junction offers panoramas and fun riding (especially since there is not much construction), though the crosswinds can be quite strong! 

We walked around Haines Junction, taking in the tourist sites like “The Muffin”, Antler Street Sign, Kluane National Park Visitor Centre and the cute churches, like the 62-year old Our Lady of the Way Catholic Church.   A missionary priest converted an old hut used during the construction of the Alaska Highway into this simple yet elegant spiritual haven.

Our Lady of the Way, a 62-year old Catholic Missionary Church 

I like the prayer on this garden plaque:  "Thank you God for the beauty and wonder in this world."

"The Muffin", a 3-D art piece depicting Haines Junction's wildlife residents

We stopped at Frosty’s for a quick lunch, having worked up an appetite after completing the 5 km Dezadeash River Trail.   And no visit to Haines Junction is complete without purchasing some fresh-from-the-oven bread at the Village Bakery.  Our bread of choice was sourdough.  Yum, pass the Havarti cheese, please!

Yesterday we spent the day hiking, starting at the Tachal Dhal Visitor Centre to see the herd of sheep up on the mountain.  No need to bring your own binoculars since the rangers have a sighting scope all set up on the deck outside.  We hiked 4 of the 6 mile round trip of the Sheep Creek Trail, taking in the magnificent views of the Ice Field Ranges, the largest non-polar ice fields in North America.  These St. Elias Mountains contain Canada’s youngest, yet tallest peaks.  We would have ventured the entire trail, but it was very steep with a 1,400 foot elevation change over 3 miles, and we had already completed 2 miles of hiking along other trails earlier in the day.

The days are getting shorter, so we are now experiencing sunrises and sunsets again.  Absolutely breathtaking!



Swiftly fly the years

All the one-nighters, who comprise 85% of this campground’s business, have not arrived yet today.  Claudia/Mike need to get their windshield repaired, so they left today instead of tomorrow to head to Whitehorse.  We opted to stay as planned and lavished in today’s seasonable temperatures, radiant sunshine, the unusual calm waters due to lack of wind, and the peace and serenity of nature.

We saw our first canoe on the water during the past 5 days--a father, son, and their dog fishing.  Sure hope Dad doesn’t see them catch something!

And look at this!  A float plane landed on the lake right in front of us!  How cool!   Seems there is a group of tenters who are taking a glacier sightseeing tour from the campground.  Now I know what our water landing looked like when we did the float plane to the “Alone in the Wilderness” Cabin in Lake Clark National Park!

We went up to the deck to say thanks to Glenn and Mary Anne for their hospitality and to enjoy the musical talents of Keith and Marilyn one final evening.  We got a bonus tonight:  visitors from Switzerland who entertained us with yodeling and accordion playing!  And great folks from the Netherlands and Belgium just stopped by our site to chat and get a tour of our setup.  So much fun and great camaraderie—I hate to leave.  But all good things must come to an end, and tomorrow we hit the road again.

Talk to you soon!


  1. Just catching up with you guys! Happy to hear you are still having such a great time! Sunset pics are great! Hope our paths cross again in the lower 48!

  2. That's a funky looking church. Kluane Lake is a beautiful area. Safe travels as you continue south.