June 26, 2022
Sunday morning we headed northwest from Whitehorse, hoping to get to Beaver Creek, YK for the night. The road was rougher, with long dusty segments, and there were warning signs about the beasts. We were impressed with the many cyclists we were seeing, here and everywhere.
The Kluane Mountain Range in southern Yukon showed up with its glaciers. Soon after we went through Haynes Junction, a major intersection in the Alaska Highway.
Dee knew of the perfect spot for a late lunch, on the south shore of Kluane Lake. The interesting history here is that as the Kaskawulsh Glacier advanced between 300 and 400 hundred years ago, it closed the drainage outlet of the lake, which had gone southwest to the not too distant Gulf of Alaska. The water level rose more than 30 feet and the lake drainage reversed. The lake now drains north into the Yukon River system. Instead of traveling 140 miles south to the Pacific Ocean in the Gulf of Alaska, the water flows more than 10 times that distance north to the Bering Sea.
North – northwest we drove, with the road getting rougher. Later we learned that this was the worst stretch of road on the entire Alaska Highway, from the Donjek River to the border. The problem stems from melting of the permafrost under the highway, which is a recent phenomenon. There are many scientists studying the problem and experimenting with various mechanics to prevent the road cratering, but no luck so far.
We had left about 9 am in the morning and driven for a long day, over 300 miles, and not at 65 mph. It doesn’t get dark, so how would you know? We hoped to stay in Beaver Creek, Yukon, near the Alaska border, and cross the next day. Our hopes were dashed to find that the only campground in town was closed, in spite of substantial and recent advertising. No Buckshot Betty’s for us! I’m not sure we would have chosen to stay anyway, from the looks of the place!
So on we drove, happily seeing five moose, two cows each with a calf, and another.
We arrived at the Alaska border at 5:29pm Yukon time and 4:29 pm Alaska time.. Before you cross officially there is a photo op and international relations boost.
We were assured by the US Border Patrol that if there is no sign saying “no camping” or “no overnight parking” anywhere in Alaska, it is fine to stay. So we went down the road a bit, found a large, paved, relatively flat turnout, had a nice spaghetti dinner and stayed the night. It was at Sweetwater Creek, Alaska Highway Milepost 1234.