Our Travels: Yukon Gold
Finding true treasures in nature’s beauty
Revelling in the incredible beauty of this wild and mountainous Canadian territory.
Ihave a love of nature that comes from within and has always been a part of me. I grew up in a small community in Lakeside, N.S., and had lots of friends to play with. There were no computers at the time and we’d spend most of our days outside exploring nature.
I was very excited when, in the summer of 2016, I travelled to beautiful Yukon with my husband, Paul, to visit his brother and family. The scenery was breathtaking! Among the most spectacular views were those we saw while driving along the South Klondike Highway, near the village of Carcross. The royal couple, William and Kate, would be visiting Carcross a few months later and it was very exciting just knowing that they, too, would be seeing what I believe to be the best part of the Yukon.
Waterways, roadways and the White Pass & Yukon Route railroad all converge in historic Carcross. This picturesque village is also home to the Carcross/tagish First Nation. One site that is especially magnificent to see is the nearby Carcross Desert, created about 10,000 years
ago, as the huge sheet of ice that once covered North America began to melt. Any sand and silt that was trapped in the glacier settled into a thick layer on the bottom of the many glacial lakes that formed, but that have since dried up. The Watson River continues to carry sand and silt into Benett Lake, which helps to sustain Carcross Desert.
When we arrived at the desert, we saw a person slowly making his way up the huge slope, which inspired us to make the trek up to see the view from the top. What a sight to behold it was! We could see the village of Carcross, Bennett Lake, the desert and mountain peaks—all in one view. I'm not sure if we had inspired other people to make the long hike up, but we were soon enjoying the scenery with many tourists who also seemed excited to have made it to the top.
Another must-see if you ever travel along the South Klondike Highway is Emerald Lake. It has a unique blue-green colour from the light reflecting off a layer of white marl— which is simply clay rich in calcium that settles on the bottom of the lake. Emerald Lake is a popular place for tour buses. Although we had the luxury of taking as much time as we needed to bask in Emerald Lake’s glory, we saw many buses stop and unload their passengers, who quickly took some selfies before jumping back on the buses to their next destination.
During our visit, I longed to be able to get a shot of some wildlife, especially bears—all from a safe distance, of course. I didn’t actually see a bear, but I did get a shot of a lynx that was just strolling along the highway, possibly looking for its next meal.
Another adventure back to the Whitehorse area may be in the cards, as something that is on my wish list is to watch the northern lights, which were no where to be seen at this time of year because of the midnight sun. Maybe the next time I will also get to see those bears.
Clockwise from top left: S.s.klondike sternwheeler; a woman running in the desert; hubcap totem poles in Champagne, Yukon; a lynx spotted along the side of the highway.