Two days on the beach with the dogs at Kluane Lake, Yukon

My life is rather in chaos this summer for a variety of reasons, and two of my major trips have been cancelled so far. On Thursday, July 4th, though, I finally got away with the motorhome in the early afternoon. I headed west on the Alaska Highway, but with no firm plan as to where I was going or for how long. My first stop turned out to be Kluane Lake, where we stayed for 3 nights and 2 days. I had told a friend that “the healing waters of Kluane” might be what I needed, and that turned out to be exactly the case – it was a wonderful couple of days for all of us.

While we usually go to Congdon Creek Campground, just before 5:00 pm I stopped at the large pullout at Km 1642.1 of the Alaska Highway – because that is Bella and Tucker’s favourite beach. The pullout has no facilities, but lots of almost-level parking and the great but little-used beach goes on for miles.

Kluane Lake, Yukon
Even with heavy cloud, conditions were very good, with the lake pretty much calm and the temperature at 22°C (72°F).

Kluane Lake, Yukon
Within a few minutes, Bella and Tucker and I were all walking in the shallow water along the shore, which in this area is sand and fine gravel.

Walking along the shore of Kluane Lake, Yukon
Tucker loves playing ball on this beach. While playing with him I also played with my camera, and got some shots I liked by setting it to ISO 1250, f20 and 1/400th of a second, and throwing the ball with my left hand while my right did the camera work πŸ™‚

Playing ball with my dog at Kluane Lake, Yukon
Bella plays ball mostly to get Tucker going, and they were soon play-fighting, in and out of the water.

Dogs playing on the beach of Kluane Lake, Yukon
We walked and walked and walked, from the sandy beach out onto the glacial silt of the Slim’s River flats, which varies from hard and dry to very mucky. The flats are still growing a bit, and the beaches along Kluane Lake getting larger, due to the re-routing of the Slim’s River because of the retreat of the Kaskawulsh Glacier.

Walking in the glacial silt mud on Slim's River flats, Kluane Lake, Yukon
By the time I shot the next photo at 7:50 pm, the kids were both filthy and Bella was pooped.

Bella, my shelty/husky cross, tired and filthy at Kluane Lake, Yukon
We stopped for a rest, I enjoyed a beer in the spectacular silence of this vast plain, and just after 8:00 pm, started walking back towards the RV.

Walking on Slim's River flats, Kluane Lake, Yukon
I shot many photos of patterns in the silt.

Slim's River flats, Kluane Lake, Yukon
During our walk we came across tracks of a wolf and 2 caribou. I had my bear spray with me, as this is serious grizzly country.

Caribou tracks on Slim's River flats, Kluane Lake, Yukon
In a sheltered corner where Slims River flats joined the main beach, a bit of vegetation added some interest.

Slims River flats, Kluane Lake, Yukon
This tiny creek washed off a bit of the mud, but when we got back to the sandy beach, I took both dogs into the lake for a bath of sorts. We were back in the motorhome by about 9:00 pm. Days like this are the main reason I removed all the carpeting from the RV and replaced it with vinyl planks – everything is easy to clean now.

Mud and water, Kluane Lake, Yukon
The sky started getting quite interesting, and at 9:45, I went out and took a few photos. Sunset was at 11:31 pm. Not quite “The Midnight Sun”, but pretty close.

Sky at 9:45 pm, Kluane Lake, Yukon
The sky got me out for more photos at 02:45 – this super-wide-angle photo was shot at 10mm.

The sky at 02:45 - Kluane Lake, Yukon
After giving the kids breakfast at 07:00, the dogs and I went for a short walk along the beach…

Kluane Lake, Yukon
…and then I returned to reading for a while. John Steinbeck (1902-1968) would have been an interesting guy to spend an evening with.

Reading Travels With Charlie by John Steinbeck
The weather went sour for a while but by 11:30 it was beautiful again and heating up rapidly. I started by getting a portrait of the RV.

RV parked at Kluane Lake, Yukon
By the early afternoon the temperature had climbed into the high 20s and it was time to get wet. Tucker doesn’t swim, and if I throw the ball too far, I have to retrieve it for him (Bella sometimes does it for me).

Playing ball with my dog at Kluane Lake, Yukon
Bella doesn’t really swim, either, but if I do she will often follow me – just out and back. With her extremely thick coat, she’s then cool for hours.

Swimming with my dogs at Kluane Lake, Yukon
After a good long play, I put Bella and Tucker back in the motorhome and took the kayak out. What a perfect day for it! We don’t see Kluane Lake this calm very often.

Kayaking on Kluane Lake, Yukon
I paddled across to Slim’s River flat and went for a walk there.

Kluane Lake, Yukon
A storm suddenly started moving in from the head of the Slim’s River, and I headed back to the RV.

A storm moving in from the head of the Slim's River, Yukon
With the dogs back on the beach, I was messing with Tucker, throwing his ball into the waves.

Playing ball with my dog at Kluane Lake, Yukon

Playing ball with my dog at Kluane Lake, Yukon

Waves are so amazing – calming, mesmerizing, photographically fascinating.

Waves on Kluane Lake, Yukon
“Hmmm, I wonder who lives in there…” πŸ™‚

My dog Bella fascinated by a culvert along the Alaska HIghway

Friday afternoon wasn’t very pleasant – the temperature hit 31.3°C (88.3°F) in the RV but bugs were making Tucker crazy outside (black dogs often have that problem – they didn’t bother Bella or I).

The light Friday night was wonderful – the next photo of God beams (crepuscular rays is the scientific term) coming over the Kluane Range was shot at 9:58 pm.

God beams coming over the Kluane Range in the Yukon at 10:00 pm
I was on the beach shooting a few times that night as the sky changed – the next photo was shot at 01:13 am.

Sky at at 01:13 am, Kluane Lake, Yukon
Official sunrise was at 4:41, but when I shot the next photo 12 minutes later the sun was still well below the mountains of the Ruby Range.

A colourful dawn at Kluane Lake, Yukon
A broader look at the sky over the Ruby Range, also at 04:53.

A colourful dawn at Kluane Lake, Yukon
What a place to start the day.

RVs parked along the beach at Kluane Lake, Yukon
At 05:35 the sun finally came over the ridge.

A colourful sunrise at Kluane Lake, Yukon
Smoke from over 120 wildfires in Alaska and over 30 in the Yukon was causing an increasing loss of visibility, but is rather interesting photographically even beyond the colourful sunrises and sunsets.

Smokey sky at Kluane Lake, Yukon
I heard some odd noises after breakfast so I opened some drawers and sent out Inspector Molly. She soon gave us the “all clear” – no mice here πŸ™‚

Cat inspecting my RV for mice
With another hot day coming, I decided just after 09:00 to continue west, perhaps right to the Alaska border, 260 km away. I’d just see what caught my interest.

The Alaska Highway along Kluane Lake, Yukon


Two days on the beach with the dogs at Kluane Lake, Yukon — 15 Comments

  1. What a great trip thank you Murray , breathtaking and heartwarming photos ❀️

    • Thanks, Richard. I’m actually surprised that more people don’t want to overnight there, through there’s really only room for about 4 RVs.

  2. Very nice Murray. Wishing that i could come out there. but i am stuck in Ont. Wishing You and Cathy all the best.

  3. Murray, hope taking the photos and sharing them with us was as calming and enjoying for you as it was for us (hoping the waves of life’s chaos end up like your kayak day on the beautiful lake)

    • It was, Leo. Many people say they never look at their photos after they shoot them, but I go through mine over and over again year after year, reliving some of these wonderful experiences. And of course I love sharing this world in any and every way I can πŸ™‚

  4. I always enjoy your great pictures and write ups. That John Steinbeck book is appropriate to read on a road trip :).

  5. Murray thank God you are back in your RV. Summer is half over & those of us in the US are craving your adventures in the last frontier. You are such a good story teller & photographer. You have a gift and we miss your stories & photos of the North.

  6. The investigations of you and your pets make for an enjoyable read. Bella staring at the water drain and Molly giving the “all clear” cracked me up.