Road Trip 2013: Day 21. Kluane National Park

Out of the 5 days I spent in Yukon, I only had one sunny day.  Here is the journal entry.

Day 21: Kluane – 261 km driven
Today was great! The weather was terrific, sunny and still decently cool. It was nice to wake up in a bed this morning too.

My first order of business was to drive into Haines Junction to get trail information and gas. Along the way I stopped and took tons of pictures. The mountains seem so accessible from the road here when compared with Jasper and Banff, where often times you only got glimpses of the peaks. Here you can see the whole mountain rising up from the ground!

I got to the info center and got a trail map and asked about good trails. I also asked about the weather, and they said that this cold weather is quite normal for Yukon, and that they only really ever see highs of 21 degrees. At the ranger’s suggestion, I headed to the King’s Throne trail. The trail climbs to a “throne”, which is kind of a hollow in the top of a mountain that looks like a seat. The beginning of the trail was normal, then it started switchbacking through the trees. It didn’t take long to get above the treeline. The treeline seems to be lower here…I think probably because of the colder weather. Anyways, once it got above the treeline, the trail began switchbacking through the rock. It got quite steep, and the rocks would easily slide. I began to see why they call this type of trail a scramble, because I was scrambling up rocks while they were sliding down as I climbed. Plus, I was practically crawling upwards in some places because of how steep it was. That got me worrying, because I knew that the way down was usually worse because the height became more apparent, and it was more slippery on the way down. As I climbed it just seemed to get worse, and my worries increased. I was getting near the top, and wondering if there was any point in going on, since the view was already amazing. From where I was, I could see Kathleen Lake, and the mountains rimming it on one side, and a large valley on the other, with mountains in the distance rimming that. Lakes out here are quite a bit bigger than in BC. I found BC mountain lakes were generally quite small, while Yukon lakes seem to be quite big. Big enough for whitecaps and waves when its windy.

On the Kings Throne Trail
On the Kings Throne Trail.  The trail started down below at the lake shore.

As I was sitting at one spot, some people passed me on the way down. I asked what the top was like and they said it was pretty much the same, just flatter. So I decided I’d gone far enough. I met someone from Austria on the way down. She had flown into Vancouver, and was doing a very similar trip to what I was. So we talked about that for a bit.

Then it was time to go down. I prayed that God would give me strength and peace on my way down. At first I was practically crab walking down, because I was afraid of the slippery slope. But then I gained some confidence, and began to realize that even when I do slide, as long as I kept my balance, I would only slide a foot at most, since the rocks would bunch up and stop me. After that, it became more fun as I was sliding down the mountain. I even took some of the steeper routes just to enjoy that. There was once or twice where I slid too quick and landed on my butt, but it wasn’t that bad. I guess God answered my prayer. 🙂

The view from Kings Throne
The view from Kings Throne

Once I was back at my car, I drove to Haines Junction, got some ice, then made my way back to the cabin. I was going to film some of the driving, but then realized that I had forgotton my tripod at the cabin. So hopefully I can do it tomorrow.

The weather is supposed to be rainy for the next few days. I’m hoping it turns out to be more like the “rainy” days were like in Banff and Jasper, because I would still like to spend a day or two exploring here before I have to leave.

Haines Junction
Haines Junction

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