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Skiing in retirement
21st Jun 2018 - 24th Jun 2018 - North American Epic 2018
Staying safe in bear country part 1

185 miles from Beaver Creek to Haines Junction

A late start from Beaver Creek takes us 34 miles on to Discovery Yukon Lodging. Run by Amanda an engaging, energetic English woman who grew up in Ireland and has been running the Lodgings for 12 years. She also cooks beautifully and we enjoy a welcome respite from normal American fare.

The weather is holding up for us, so our next day sees us easily through to the somewhat anomalous French-run Bakery and Creperie at Pine Valley. Places to eat or stay are thinly distributed on this stretch of the Alaskan Highway but after crepes and a bottle of non-alcoholic Normandy cider we are happy to be in a cabin for the night. Not that we have much choice in the matter as the advertised campground is not open. We are the only guests, but curiously madame closes the gates at 7.00pm on the dot, and later turns away a late-arriving motorbiker. A bit French, we think.

We have been advised by the sensible and well-informed Amanda to be cautious about the state run campgrounds due to reports of RVers feeding bears in camp. That puts us a bit on edge so we are pleased to be able to reach Destruction Bay on the shore of Kluane Lake where a motel meal and wifi awaits. Destruction Bay so-named because a 100mph wind storm destroyed the highway construction camp that once stood here.

The motel manager directs us to a free camping site opposite the motel on a raised, covered pavilion that has tourist info boards but, he assures us its fine to set up a tent. So we do, congratulating ourselves on our good fortune. But the best laid plans, etc….. at about 11.00pm a sudden crashing on the tent startles us awake. Immediate thought is of a bear, but it turns out that one of the info boards blown over by a sudden gust has torn a 2ft hole in the rain fly. Destruction Bay indeed. Nothing to be done except reposition the tent and deal with things tomorrow.

We buy a huge roll of duct tape and make temporary repair before pressing on with our wounded tent. Luckily the weather stays mostly dry and we enjoy the forest and mountain views on a 65 mile cycle via the shore of Kluane lake to arrive in Haines Junction at 10.00pm after 9 hours on the road. It wasn't meant to be that way but we got in a bit of a muddle over our overnight stop. Other than wildcamping there is nowhere to stay on this stretch. So we take advice from the Kluane National Park centre and look for a spot at Jarvis River.

It's 7pm when we get to the river, but it looks none too promising for pitching and cooking out in bear country: so, with good weather and decent legs we opt to do the next 25 miles to Haines Junction. But first there's a 5 mile hill and 3 miles into it a stiffening head wind persuades us to return to the river. Alas, first impressions prove correct. We try hitching. A guy parked at the river has a suitable truck, but can't be persuaded. 2 cars stop but neither is able to take us and all our stuff. With mosquitoes biting and hopes of a hitch fading we decide to carry on. It's 8.30 when we start out again on the 5 mile hill. But from the top it's all downhill into Haines Junction: the RV park is open and we buy pot noodles and a pitch in the campground.

Next: Staying safe in bear country part 2
Previous: Out of The Wild into The Yukon

Diary Photos
21st Jun 2018  A large pizza at Buckshot Betty's
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22nd Jun 2018  Yukon Discovery Lodgings has a collection of vehicles left behind when the Highway was built
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22nd Jun 2018  Yukon chainsaw massacre c.1943
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22nd Jun 2018  Yukon Discovery Lodgings. We camped left foreground
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22nd Jun 2018  Just another day on the Alaskan Highway
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22nd Jun 2018  Pickhandle Lake
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23rd Jun 2018  Pine Valley Bakery and cabins
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24th Jun 2018  Camping platform at Destruction Bay before the wind blown board at back ripped the flysheet
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