Along Kluane Lake

I am beat after a morning of hiking, an afternoon of online trivia (go team Donner Party!), and the heaviness of clouds after one sunny day. So, below are disjointed captions to my photos for this lovely area near Kluane National Park in Yukon.

Congden Creek Campground

We’re at a Yukon government campground that’s in prime bear territory, although we have yet to see one here.

The tenting section is surrounded by electric fencing; I think the same hard-core characters tenting in this weather are the people I saw from a distance swimming in the lake.

The glacial wind blows right down Kluane Lake, channeled along the St. Elias Mountains.

I watched this guy, dressed in a full wetsuit, try to get his parasail (is that the right word?) to take flight, but after about an hour, he gave up. Perhaps the wind was too changeable. It certainly seemed strong enough, but his sail would be blowing to the south and then switch around to the north in just a minute.

Thechàl Dhâl’

First Nations people lived a subsistence lifestyle here for thousands of years, until the AlCan highway was built; the Canadian and the American sections of the highway met in this spot in 1942. One consequence of the influx of people was over-trapping and over-hunting, which led to a complete ban, even for subsistence cultures. Only in 2004 were First Nations people granted legal rights to hunt and trap.

The Ä´äy Chù valley is now mostly dry because the nearby glacier that used to feed it is receding. In a short four days, its runoff changed course, flowing south instead of north. That’s the Kluane National Park visitor’s center on the far right, with a caravan of Airstreams driving out.

We hiked up to a monument for where the two parts of the AlCan joined, and then up and up. Can you see Tracy in the photo below? He’s at the lower left.

This used to be an island called Fish Heart, I think. You can see where the glacier river has become the edge of Kluane Lake.

In Denali we saw maybe two Dall sheep at a time (Denali Park was formed to protect them), but here we counted 42 in one sighting, more in others, here on what is called in English, Sheep Mountain. Watching them walk across that ledge on the mountain side was one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had. Too bad the wind was blowing so hard I was afraid I would be pushed down and fall off the mountain I was on, so I didn’t dare take a lot of photos. Still, you can see how big the range is from the last photo, and if you zoom in, you can still see the sheep.

Hiking today was a much-needed reminder of why we’re here.

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