My trip is quickly coming to an end, but it still has some surprises in store. I have to admit, after flying to the icefields, it kind of felt like nothing else was worth doing in comparison. However, I did still have some items on my list. I wrote earlier about my hike up Kings Throne. I also had some off roading to do in the area, but I didn’t have high hopes for that because I had done such amazing off roading already.
I had forgotten about Kluane’s mountains. Oh those mountains. There is nothing quite like them anywhere else in Canada. You can’t miss their size. I could go on and on, but I feel like the picture above captures it well. It’s one of my new favorites.
The first track I drove was the Alsek Valley road. It goes into the park to a trail head…although it is recommended that you have 4×4 and high clearance.
I had seen pictures of someone driving their jeep on this road, but somehow they had missed out on the glorious mountains! This is actually an amazingly scenic road…and I wasn’t expecting that at all.
Of course there are lots of fun 4×4 moments to take pictures of too. The beginning of the road ran through a river bed. The water levels were decently low so the water crossings weren’t too bad…although there are no pictures because it’s hard to get pictures of a water crossing without getting wet.
But seriously, those mountains! I’m pretty sure you could use these mountains as the definition of majestic…and nothing would be lost.
And to think, I was off roading with this kind of scenery. The best of both worlds!
So the Alsek Valley road was amazing. There is another 4×4 road in the park: the Mush Lake road. I headed there next.
It wasn’t quite as spectacular, but it was still great. The road was in the bush for a lot of it and had more interesting 4×4 moments.
It was also a long road. 21 km. That doesn’t sound long until you realize on a rough road like this, I was going less than 20 kph a lot of the time. It took me 2 hours to get to Mush Lake. The view was pretty great though.
So by now you should know, I like writing my blog post and saying how great it is…and then bringing it up a notch.
There was a back road on my list that I hadn’t driven yet. It follows the north shore of Kluane Lake. I didn’t have a name for it when I planned, but on arrival in Kluane, one of the locals recommended it to me and called it the Cultus Bay Road. Kluane Lake is something special. It’s huge, surrounded by massive mountains, and it’s a wonderful shade of blue. It was on the shores of Kluane Lake that I fell in love with Yukon 6 years ago.
Somehow the reports I had seen of the road didn’t look that interesting…and the beginning of the road isn’t amazing.
There was a creek crossing. This was up to my axles…but I went through.
There were views like this. They were cool, but the drive wasn’t super interesting otherwise.
The colors were a bit muted. The wind was blowing the leaves off the trees. Did I forget to mention…it was crazy windy. Parts of the road were sandy and at times I was driving through a dust cloud.
I mentioned in my icefields entry that the glacier feeding Kluane Lake had been diverted. That means the water levels are quite low, and the head of the lake has become a desert of glacial silt. And on windy days like this, there are straight up dust storms down there. I didn’t drive down there, but you can see the dust from a long way away.
So the road started heading up the side of the mountain…clinging to the side of it.
The hills got steeper and the road got narrow. It became an epic drive!
Out of all the roads on the sides of mountains that I’ve driven, this was the narrowest. And it felt like the cliff was a bit more shear. But oh, so much fun. And such terrific views!
Kluane Lake is something different. Something special…even for Yukon. There are views and moments where you could wonder if you were on a tropical island…then remember that you’re surrounded by spruce and aspen…
Here’s the thing. I had a few rain days at Kluane, and I wasn’t going to have time for everything. Cultus Bay Road was the thing I was going to cut. But it just so happened that a rain day turned into a perfect sunny day and I got my chance. I’m so glad I did. I’m sure God knew I’d enjoy it and he turned the rain to sun.
I’m going to miss the off road driving. We just don’t have anything in Ontario that can compare. Even in the north. What crazy experiences I’ve been given!