Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Kluane National Park of Canada

Kluane Lake (pronounced 'Kloo-wah-nee') is named after a composite of two names given the lake by native peoples. The names meant "big fish lake" and "whitefish country."
 At the southern end of Kluane Lake is the Sheep Mountain Visitor Center. 
 Dall Sheep live on the mountain.
 They have spotting scopes set up at the Visitor's Center and rangers to help you locate the sheep.
There were quite a few up there. Check out Birdie's blog for the great shot she got of sheep standing on the ridge on a backdrop of blue sky.
As we drive toward Haines Junction, the Kluane Ranges of the St. Elias Mountains come into view to the south.
At Haines Junction we turn off the Alcan Highway and will be taking the Haines Highway which skirts the boundary of Kluane National Park to our right.
 Over look of Haines Junction from the start of the Haines Highway.
Similar to Canada's Waterton and U.S. Glacier National Parks, Kluane National Park borders the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in Alaska. Together they form the largest protected landmass on earth.
Birdie points to our location on the map.
In the background on the left you can just see a portion of Kathleen Lake. That is where we are headed for a couple of days. We will stay in the National Park campground and explore the area.
Kathleen Lake Day-Use area has a kitchen shelter, picnic area, and a wheelchair accessible trail along the shore.
The lake is large and goes far beyond what you can see from here. It is also cold and deep.
 In the 1700's a glacial dam blocked the Alsek river, trapping salmon in Kathleen Lake. The young salmon were not able to return to the sea and were forced to adapt to fresh water. About 150 years ago, the dam broke opening the pathway to the sea once more, but the link to their ancestral home had been broken, so even though they can, they continue to spend their entire lives in fresh water.
This mountain seen from the campground is called the King's Throne. Can you see the seat about half-way up? There's a trail to the seat that we will attempt tomorrow as it is about 6 miles round-trip and will take at least 4 hours.
We walked the short trail along the shore.
 A belted kingfisher greeted us.
After getting settled in the campground we took a ride in Birdie's car. This is the Kathleen River, which flows into the lake.
Farther south we came to Dezadeash Lake. We drove through the campground there. It has some nice sites right on the water.
Beside Lake Dezadeash is a trailhead to Rock Glacier. The trail is only two miles, so we have time to do it today.
Put on your sturdy footwear, bring water, and a hiking stick would be good too. Wish we had brought one. Look for the next post about this trail....coming soon.


  1. Hiking with your blog is so much more relaxing. You two are going to have muscles of steel. lol