Road Trip 2013: Day 19. Arrival in Yukon

This is the first entry I wrote after seeing Yukon for the first time.  Reading these entries evokes so many memories.  I can’t wait until the someday that I will return…

Day 19: Dease Lake to Yukon – 541 km driven
So this morning it was spitting rain a bit when I woke up. It had again rained during the night, and as usual, it was freezing cold. I took my time packing up in hopes that the clouds would clear before I left, but they didn’t. It seems to be a bit of a trend out here for the weather to be cloudy and rainy in the evenings and mornings and then it might clear up in the afternoon. Although that could just be the time of year that I’m here.

I set off driving northward on the Cassiar Highway. The road was a bit rougher than the south part had been, but it still wasn’t absolutely terrible. There were some nice mountain ranges that came into view after the first hour. Then I spotted fresh snow on some of the peaks around Jade City. That was cool, as previously the only snow I saw on mountains was either glaciers or stuff that was in the process of melting from snowfall that happened a long time ago. It looked great too. I drove through an area where there had been a forest fire. It went on and on for many miles. I wonder if it was an on-purpose fire or an accidental one. And this far north, I wonder if they just let it burn.

Fresh snow on the mountains in August!
Fresh snow on the mountains in August!

Then I got to the junction with the Alaska Highway, after passing into Yukon of course. Being in Yukon is kind of cool, because its not a place that people really visit. A lot of people go to BC, and all the other provinces, but to go to one of the territories is something rare. It’s also neat how people are a lot more talkative up here. I think its because everyone you meet at a campground or tourist site up here is also on their own amazing journey that is out of the ordinary and they want to know what experiences other people are having….unlike down south where people could just be on their usual 3 hours away from home camping trip.

At first there was nothing different about Yukon, although I had made the turn west to Whitehorse. Then it opened up. Its hard to describe what it looked like. It was kind of as though the big skies of the Prairies and the foothills of Alberta and the BC Rockies, all mixed together with the Cassiar’s miles and miles of unspoiled wilderness. It was awesome! I again drove by a huge area that had been burned by a fire, and wondered if it could be connected to the one I had seen earlier on the Cassiar, since I was still near the northern border of BC.

First views of Yukon on the Alaska Highway!
First views of Yukon on the Alaska Highway!

Driving through Yukon, you really feel the wilderness. There would be long hundred km stretches of road where there would absolutely nothing except the wilderness. Not even another road or house. In general everything seems to be a bit flatter, and I think its because the mountains continue further west at Kluane, which is where I’m headed tomorrow.

Near the village of Teslin
Near the village of Teslin

As I got closer to Whitehorse I started looking for a campground. I pulled in at Squanga Lake because it happened to be there. This is one of the first nights that I’ve had absolutely no plan where to stop…it was just something that happened when it happened. Camping in Yukon is a bit more primitive than elseware. This is a self-registration site, there are no rangers on duty, and no showers, and the running water comes from a hand pump over a well. On the other side of things, its incredibly cheap($12), and includes free firewood! I took a nice walk-in site that is right on a point and overlooks the lake. And as usual for up here, it is windy and cold. Somehow I didn’t picture it being cold up here, even though I probably should have.

I’m hoping to stay up tonight until its actually dark in hopes of seeing the northern lights. My viewpoint onto the lake is pointed north, and I believe I’m actually far enough north now to see them. The only issue of course is that the days last longer here, so I may be up for a while.

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