Kathleen Lake Kluane National Park
June 5th, 2015
Tomorrow we head to Haines so we wanted to spend tonight along the Haines Highway to make the 235 km drive a little shorter. Today we decide to check out two campgrounds one at Dezadeash Lake and the other at Kathleen Lake.
The day started out quite windy. Past Haines Junction the highway is paved but seems higher in the centre and lower towards the shoulder. With the wind gusts I drove continuously straddling the centre line because it felt like the wind was pushing the RV off the road. I was driving no more than 75 km per hour but with the stunning scenery and the need for frequent picture-taking stops it was just the right speed!
We stopped along Quill Creek that meanders down from the ice streaked mountains. The ice blue water is very shallow and the creek bed is quite wide. The water just bounces off the gravelly creek bed.
Another creek and this one with a backdrop of mountains and dark green spruce trees reflected in the water.
We stopped at Kathleen Lake. The mountains seem to drop right down into the vivid turquoise waters of the lake. The sky is a perfect blue color and the small puffy clouds move lazily above the mountain tops. Lakeside there is a strong wind that seems to funnel in from the narrows at the far end. White capped waves hit the shore at a good speed. There is nice size parking area and an interpretive trail along the lakeshore. We walk as far as we can along both sides of the lake enjoying the gorgeous sunny day.
We then took a look at the campsites which are a ways down the road. There are no views of the lake but each campsite is nicely surrounded by spruce trees. There were a couple of other campers there and some people with small tents all set up.
Then we headed out to Dezedeash Lake. We spotted a camper stopped on the road ahead of us. We slowed down and sure enough there was a bear tearing up flowers eating them. It was probably a Brown bear. Its coat was a lustrous chestnut color and the bear had a long sinuous body shape. We stopped for a while of course to watch and to take pictures and then headed back down the highway.
The highway curved and we could see Dezadeash Lake. Dezedeash means “Lake of the Great Winds”. We drove down the gravel road to the camp grounds. Some of the campsites are right along the lake with great views of the water. We got out to walk around. It was quite blustery and with only one camper parked it felt a bit desolate. So we decided to head back to Kathleen Lake for the night.
We wonder if we will see the bear again. We passed the spot where we had seen it and the bear was gone. Not more than a few minutes later, we spotted a black bear on the other side of the road. It took me a bit too long to stop the car and so we did not have a good view of the bear. I backed up a bit and the capogita got out of the van for some pictures. This is a no-no. We should not disturb the animals but we wanted a good picture. I leaned over the steering wheel to get a better view of the bear and inadvertently hit the car horn. Talk about scaring the living daylights out of myself, the other people that had stopped, and of course the capogita who was right in infront of the RV. There were many interesting words that came out of his mouth to describe how unhappy he was with my little blunder! The bear just looked up for a second and kept eating!
Back at the Kathleen Lake Campground a couple of more RVs had arrived. We selected our perfect spot, went to the self pay kiosk and placed our receipt on the numbered post at our spot. We enjoyed our salmon quiche and veggies for dinner.
It was a Friday evening and interestingly enough the campsites were filling up quickly. Across from us was a family with a pick-up and long cab trailer. They were busy setting up a tent presumably for the two young boys and a dog. Very soon another huge pick-up and trailer arrived – friends of this family. Their dog rushed out of the pick-up and joyously united with the other dog. There were another couple of boys to join the others in running around and driving up and down the gravel road with their bikes while the Dads came back and forth with arms full of firewood. When we checked out the campground in the afternoon and I saw two campers already there, I felt we would be OK from the safety perspective. Now we felt like we were watching TV from the two captains seats at the front of the RV, as camper after camper came in searching for the perfect campsite. There are only 39 campsites at Kathleen Lake and probably most of them were taken this beautiful June day. People walked by with their dogs. This was the most traffic we had seen all week!
At 12:30 the sky was still full of light – a blue with a golden yellow-orange glow. At 1:30 the sky was a bit grayer but still with that golden glow so it was never actually dark outside. Even with the campsites almost all filled it was perfectly peaceful and quiet all night.