Our stay at the Yukon Motel/RV was very nice. The site was level so we did not have to place blocks under the wheels and the place was in great repair and very clean. The rising lake waters did not impact us as we were able to flee the scene before any issues arose. We broke camp and continued our trek north. Our destination for the day was Lake Kluane where we would stay for one night before making the long final run into Fairbanks, AK.
The photos below are what we saw.
From Teslin, one of our first stopping points was Whitehorse, YT. On the outskirts of Whitehorse, we decided to visit the dam and powerhouse on the Yukon River. On the shore we found a bunch of amphibious planes that are used to commute into the back country areas. Water take-offs and landings are the norm as there is rarely any cleared ground or runways but lakes and rivers are plentiful.
The control gates for the dam are visible in the distance. The boat dock is used for loading and unloading planes. When we finished our sight seeing, we went into Whitehorse for diesel, supplies and lunch. Kathleen chose the local Mexican restaurant (??) so that was where we went. Considering our location, the food was OK, but would have been much better when chased with several margaritas. But, since we were driving we had lemonade instead.
As we passed the "real" airport at Whitehorse, we saw this nice DC-3 on display. These planes were left over from WW-II and saw plenty of service in the northwest.
The road north of Whitehorse was in pretty good condition despite the failed roadbed. The ride was not jarring, but more like being in a boat rocking back and forth. Still, 50 mph was the top speed possible. There were a number of flowers in bloom alongside the road.
We went past the Haines Junction got fuel and bought some awesome smoked salmon.It was "cold smoked" moist and tasty. My only regret was not buying more. Upon leaving Haines Junction, we got our first view of the mountains in the Kluane National Park.
Our destination for the night was the Cottonwood Camp right on Lake Kluane. This is a view of to the south from our camp site toward the 15,000 foot Mt. Hubbard in the St. Elias Range.
From the lake looking back at the truck, you can see the snow capped peaks to the west of our position. We were advised by the locals that "the mayflies have just hatched and they are driving us crazy". Indeed. At some times we were completely engulfed with bugs. The good news is that they don't bite. The bad news is that the mayflies were just part of the swarm, the mosquitoes were the other part. Above, Kathleen looks "anxious" as she waits to raise the top on the camper and get away from the bugs.
The shore of the lake still had some ice left over from the winter. Needless to say, the lake water was frigid.
Next morning was bright and clear, but the winds were strong. Camped next to us were two young fellows from Seattle that were biking their way to Alaska. They still had a long way to go and the winds were not going to make for an easy journey. But, the wind made little difference to us except it generally kept the bugs at bay.
To the north of our camp, the mineralization in the rocks was clearly visible as evidenced by the red colors in the rock.
Along the road way there were many flowers in bloom. This purple bush is the state flower for the Yukon, or so the guide book stated.
We crossed over the Gerstle River and there was access to the river bank so we decided to check it out. Above, you can see that the river is milk-white with "rock flour" that is the result of glacial action on rocks. The rock flour is carried downstream during the spring runoff, thus the color.
The bridge over the Gerstle River was quite substantial. While the river was not particularly high when we saw it, the size of the bridge attests to large, periodic flows. From the Gerstle, we made a bonzai run into Fairbanks. This was our longest drive to date, but given the long daylight hours, we still arrived when it was sunny. Of course, sunset was at midnight.
Our destination was Dan Johnson's place on the north side of Fairbanks. When we arrived, he was just getting back from a boat trip with friends on the Tenana River. Above is his U500 "tow vehicle".
Since the last time I had seen his truck he has added a large Ramsey hydraulic winch on the front. This is a BIG winch.
We stayed with Dan and Janet for several days while we attended to truck maintenance actions like rotating tires, changing the oil and cleaning the air filter. While in Fairbanks, we did some shopping, resupplied and planned for our trip north to the Arctic Circle.
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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2009, all rights reserved.
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.