Saturday, October 6, 2012

Kluane Wildlife Sanctuary

Friday we finally hit paydirt...well at least several bears obliged us and crossed the highway. We'd had plenty fall colors and gray jays - finally wildlife. 

Not too far out of Haines Junction we found two bear digging for roots on the roadside. They noticed us and appeared to be bothered, so they crossed the road and we left them in peace.

We drove and drove, winding around Kluane Lake and heading for Destruction bay and Burwash landing. Mr. X spotted this bear in the road side ditch. We paused to watch him cross the road.

In Destruction Bay, they take their speed limit seriously. This is the RCMP cutout they have to remind you to slow down. Made me look twice, but we were quite careful about our speed on this trip anyway.

This bear wasn't crossing the road, she was walking along it.

As she approached the car, Mom lamented, I guess we probably can't have Sarah roll down the window. Yeah, probably not! Photo quality is not that important.  

We had looked all over for a short hike, but the book Mr. X had used was old and the "2.3 km walk from the hotel" left us mystified since there was no hotel anywhere. We eventually found another trailhead for the Soldier's Summit.

Definitely worth the half hour out of the car. The weather was perfect, the view spectacular - check out that silt line on Lake Kluane - and the history interesting. Fortunately we didn't need our bear spray since we had left it at the B and B.

There had been a call to build a road from the end of the rail belt in Edmonton to Alaska for some time. After Pearl Harbor it became a priority. The idea was presented and passed in one day in March 1942. Canadian and US engineers worked tirelessly for the next eight months and met at this location, Soldier's Summit, to open the road on November 20, 1942. The original road was a haul road, not something permanent. It was also a military road and not open to civilians until 1948. The road was rerouted and improved over the years and today the new highway bears little resemblance to the original Alcan highway (much like the old highways throughout the lower 48 that were replaced by the interstate system).

 Portion of the original road bed, current highway below.

 Site of the highway opening and dedication ceremony. Based on the photos, the US soldiers wore whatever was warm - baggy, furlined parkas and pants. The Canadians wore their dress uniforms - poor saps or tough chaps?

We ate our lunch on the edge of the Kluane lake and then headed back to Haines Junction. We were looking for another hike but never found it. We did find these two bears again. There must have been some really good roots right there since 6 hours later they were back in the same spot as in the morning.

At the Green sprout we had dinner and then reclined on the third floor balcony with our books. The birch rustled in the wind and the mountains towering above us. Mom and I made berry smoothies for our late night snack.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love comments.