Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Traveling from Valdez, AK to Kluane Lake, Yukon

We left Valdez as we arrived, in chilly rain and heavy cloud cover. So we drove right by those beautiful waterfalls and Worthington Glacier....again.
We did stop in Copper Center. It was sad to learn that the historic roadhouse, a centerpiece of Copper Center's historic downtown, burned to the ground last May, just at the start of the tourist season.
This is a picture of the roadhouse as it looked when I was here in 2009.
 They will rebuild, but Copper Center will never be quite the same.
Traveling on, we stopped at a scenic pull-out on the Tok Cutoff. Can you see the dot in the middle of the lake on the left side?
It was a moose.
 Moose have very long legs, but the lake had to be pretty shallow too.
After a stop in Tok, we continued onto the Alaska Highway. This was another scenic lake with ducks and grebes to watch.
The aspens are turning gold along the highway here.
Golden aspens.
Remember all those wild roses blooming in June? Now there are bright red rosehips.
 This free campground on Deadman Lake was a great find, operated by the US Fish and Wildlife Dept. It is in Alaska, not far from the Canadian border.
Deadman Lake got its name during the building of the Alcan Highway when one of the workers died there in an accident. Yes, those are people swimming....a couple from Canada. I noticed they didn't stay in long.
 There was a nice Interpretive trail in the campground.
On it we learned about the local ecology. 
 Raised beds.
 Fire is necessary for these trees to reproduce.
I have also heard the Taiga referred to as a "drunken" forest.
 I was glad to learn what the bright red leaves carpeting the ground were called.
 We saw several Gray Jays, also known as Canadian Jays.
 On the lake there were Trumpeter Swans. They are migrating right now.
 Trumpeter Swan
 In the evening a ranger came and gave a program about ravens. At the end this couple (the same couple that were swimming earlier) volunteered to entertain us with some songs that he had written. 
 As we walked back to our campsites we saw this moose across the lake.
 Back on the road with more fall colors popping out.
We stopped for lunch at Pickaxe Lake.
This is a juvenile Red-necked Grebe. We also saw swans, loons, and Mallard ducks here.
We stopped for the night at a private campground on the shores of Kluane Lake in Yukon Territory. The Government campground we planned to stay was closed due to recent bear activity. Soapberries are ripe.
My next post will be from Kluane National Park of Canada on the Haines Highway. Stretch your legs....there are some great hiking trails to come.

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