Kluane – the journey along the highest summits of Canada

Kluane – the journey along the highest summits of Canada

As the weather on the coast was very moody at that time of the year, which wasn’t really common people told us, there was not that much more to explore in Haines for us. I wish I could’ve gotten a longer, more interesting stay out of this but in this case, it was best for the two of us to move on. We left Haines on the Haines Highway leading us back to the Canadian Border. Through vast valleys the streams running from the surrounding glaciers found their way down to the coast, the highway always following the meandering currents. Finally reaching the customs we got shocked a little bit, as the officers first didn’t really know how to issue Mira‘s work permit and wanted to send us back to Whitehorse, which would’ve been quite a big detour. After a few calls, finally, they figured it out that we would not have to go there but still couldn’t give out the papers, as their printer was out of order. Seriously? Anyhow, this meant that we could just get the visa at the next border on our way. From the customs, the highway led up higher into the mountains reaching the Haines Pass, an area that I haven’t been to before and which left me speechless.

The road leading over the Haines Pass. So much good terrain can be found up there in the winter.

The sun occasionally broke through the clouds and shone on the arctic tundra landscape on what felt like a high plateau, featuring some great touring terrain. If the snow would have been good, of course. But it was as miserable as on the White Pass and so photography and gazing from the highway were the only things we did up there.

The highway going through the tundra.

The drive stayed spectacular with moody light along the way down again towards Haines Junction. The further we drove the more the weather cleared up.

Spectacular cloud-patterns over the highway to Haines Junction.

After a while, we could almost undisturbed by clouds see the majestic mountain range of the Kluane National Park leading up north towards the horizon.

The sky was almost free of clouds now, unveiling the impressive mountains.

It already got late, even though the daylight wasn’t failing yet. We were significantly further north already than we started two weeks ago! We still kept driving a little longer until we reached Silver City, a mostly unknown little ghost town close to the shore or the Kluane Lake. There we decided to set up our camp and cook dinner on a clearing between the old, destroyed buildings. Spooky, but also somehow exciting!

Camping in a ghost town in the Yukon.

The next day the sun shone bright and we took our time to set off again.

Good weather, good mood, good … coffee?

Shortly down the road from where we camped, we crossed the Slim‘s River, which Moritz and I followed up to the Kaskawulsh Glacier on a very strenuous hike two years ago. The bright sky once more showed the big dimensions of this valley.

Two years ago Moritz and I hiked along the foot of these mountains. We didn’t see the impressive summits once.

Also, the locals of this place were enjoying the sun at the slopes of sheep mountain. A great day to travel!

All the locals enjoyed the sun today as well.

Once we had some cell service in Destruction Bay again we got a bit bummed about the weather at Thompson Pass, where we were heading to for some more skiing. It didn’t look bright… At least four or five more days of bad weather until it would clear again. We were only two days away from it, so we had to find some other plans. At least we thought so.

After leaving Destruction Bay, we could gaze at some of the highest summits of North America, including Mt. Steele, an exactly 5000-meter high mountain. 

Traveling further we had a coffee break at the Pickhandle Lake and soaked up all the sun we could get.

Another spot I already knew. So beautiful, that we obviously had to stop there again!

Following that we reached the border to Central Alaska, which would be our travel destination for the next weeks. We had to do a flagpole there to activate Mira‘s work permit, which resulted in driving a 30-kilometer loop from customs to customs to customs again. All of that, because the printer at the border from Haines back to Canada didn’t work. 

Whatever, we got everything we needed done and moved on a little further. The day was already getting late so we pulled over on a campground in the Tetlin Wildlife Refugee. We were in Alaska, the real Alaska up North! What a great feeling.

The view from the campground at Deadman Lake. The mountains in the back are the Wrangell-St. Elias Mountains.

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