Kluane Lake, Yukon
June 2, 3, 4, 5 2015
The Alaska Highway follows most of Kluane Lake’s southern border. We spent four days on the shores of the lake. We were lucky enough to see the lake, and its background of the Ruby Mountains, in a constant change of mood and colors.
The lake is 82 km long and is fed by glacier melt. In the geological history of the lake, huge chunks of glacial ice had fallen into the waters and blocked the mouth of the lake forcing it to reverse direction and flow towards the Bering Sea. Native legends speak of a great flood that was caused by this reversal in flow.
The first evening was a cool, clear evening as we walked along the rocky beach. It was like looking into a silver backed mirror. The massif grey of the mountains with their white snow caps were perfectly reflected in the steel-blue waters of the lake. The shady sides of the mountains, with their pyramidal forms, seemed to rise straight up from the lake.
The next morning was bright and sunny but cool. The color of the water ranged from a bright turquoise blue to a dark almost navy blue. As we drove along the Alaska Highway we could see what we thought was mist rising from the lake.
We stopped at the Tachäl Dhäl Visitor Centre for the Kluane National Park at Sheep Creek and asked about the mist. We were shown a small vial filled with a light grey dust. This was sediment from the glacier and it was what we were seeing blowing over the lake.
By the afternoon the wind had picked up quite a bit. During the night it was gusting a good 60-70 km per hour. We were camped right on the shore of the lake and we could feel the RV swaying in the wind. But what a way to fall asleep – listening to the waves, the wind and waking up to that splendid view of the mountains and the lake!
The next day the lake was a deep turquoise with large white caps. The waves were a good metre high and just pounded the shore.
The glacial mist was even thicker along the shore of the lake and the effect, with the white caps and the wind, made the lake look impressively dangerous.
Our last day and the wind had calmed right down. The lake was a fresh, cold, blue. The mountains reached straight up to a perfect clear blue sky. It was hard to believe that it was the same angry lake as yesterday.