This season’s final RV camping weekend at Kluane Lake

A last-minute decision took Cathy and I back out to Kluane Lake this past weekend, for our final RV camping weekend of this season. With night-time temperatures forecast to be nearing -15°C (+5°F) in Mary Lake later this week, it’s time to get my water system winterization done.

We arrived at our favourite campground, Congdon Creek, at 8:20 on Friday night. That was 5 minutes after official sunset, but in the deep shadow of the Kluane mountains, it had been quite dark for a while. We were very pleased to find that our favourite lakeshore campsite, #8, was empty, and we were soon set up there.

The first photo was shot at 07:47 on Saturday morning, 9 minutes before official sunrise. A strong cold wind unfortunately made spending time on the beach not very pleasant. Click on that photo open a new window with a much larger version.

Fall dawn at Kluane Lake, Yukon
Our view towards the mountains at 08:17. This photo was processed as an HDR image to bring out the detail in both the lighted and shadowed areas.

Congdon Creek Campground, Yukon
The actual sunrise was much more dramatic than the dawn had been.

Fall sunrise at Kluane Lake, Yukon
Tucker is a guy who loves to be cozy – wrap him up in a fleece blanket and he’ll be there all day 🙂

My little dog Tucker wrapped in a fleece blanket
To get out of the worst of the wind, we drove back to Bella’s favourite beach (she hates rocks), and the Fall colours were good there. The poor visibility was due to sand being blown up on the Slims River Flats.

Fall colours along Kluane Lake, Yukon
We continued our highway bear and sheep hunting by driving up the access road to the Slims River West Trail. There were no bears, and no Dall sheep down low, but we could see about 60 sheep scattered across the slopes of Sheep Mountain.

Fall colours at Sheep Mountain, Yukon
There’s not much left of Horseshoe Bay anymore. I thought that the water level of Kluane Lake couldn’t go any lower because the outlet – the Kluane River – would control it. As it does seem to keep dropping slightly, though, my hypothesis is that the Kluane River is cutting a deeper channel.

Horseshoe Bay on Kluane Lake, Yukon
There’s a lot of work going on at the campground, most notably enlarging the parking area at the electrified (bear-resistant) tenting area, and adding 2 more lakeshore campsites at the west end, between sites #8 and 9. The new sites are both excellent.

New camp sites at Congdon Creek Campground, Yukon
Getting ready for a special dinner to finish the season off – including a huge steak-for-two from the barbecue, a Caeser salad, and a bottle of very nice Cabernet Franc that we picked up at Synchromesh Winery in Okanagan Falls during our 5-day stay in Penticton this past May.

A special RV dinner
Bella knows how to clean off a steak bone properly! 🙂

Bella, our shelty/husky, cleaning off a steak bone
The moon rise was beautiful on Saturday night, though a bit of cloud obscured a perfect view. This was 2 days before the full moon, known as the Harvest Moon.

Moonrise over Kluane Lake, Yukon
Even though the wind had mostly died, the girls seemed to be none too anxious to get Sunday started.

My dog and cat sleeping on the RV couch
The beach just keeps getting bigger and bigger! The recent drop in the water level has uncovered a lengthy strip of sand along the water, which Bella quickly found.

Huge beach on Kluane Lake, Yukon
Bella in one of her happy places. She rarely swims, but loves splashing around in the water.

I caught a few shots of a bald eagle patrolling the beach.

Bald eagle patrolling Kluane Lake, Yukon
A classic Kluane Fall scene along our beach walk, with brilliant colours along a meadow, and snow in the high country.

A classic Kluane Fall scene
We had a campfire going all day Sunday. It felt almost like summer had returned in the afternoon, although the weather report says that it only hit 14.1°C.

Congdon Creek Campground, Yukon
One of the very few RVs still on the road passes by in the distance. Most of those RVs are rentals being driven by Germans, but they rarely look like they’re having fun, huddled around huge campfires.

RV passes Kluane Lake, Yukon
I had Bella and Tucker out on the beach a few times, going down to a large sandy area so they could play. In the next photo, Tucker is literally “flat out” running from Bella.

My little dog Tucker playing on the beach at Kluane Lake, Yukon
Doesn’t he look pleased with himself? Tucker is such a character!

My little dog Tucker playing on the beach at Kluane Lake, Yukon
Bella alerted me to a family of 6 Red-breasted mergansers (Mergus serrator), and we sat down and waited for them to get closer. The kids are so good when I ask them to be patient and quiet at times like this.

Red-breasted mergansers (Mergus serrator) on Kluane Lake, Yukon
My new 100-400mm Canon lens really makes birdwatching in particular a lot more fun.

Red-breasted mergansers (Mergus serrator) on Kluane Lake, Yukon
A telephoto look at the high country above the campground. At 5:00, we packed up and started for home. It was a short weekend, but it had been wonderful.

Fall snow in the Kluane mountains
At Sheep Mountain, there were about 20 Dall sheep close to the road. To get a better spot to park to watch them, I turned around at the interpretive centre. We had to wait for 3 semis to go by with armoured personnel carriers headed for Alaska – there have been dozens going by in the past week or so.

US armored personnel carriers on the Alaska Highway
Some idiot with plates I didn’t recognize pulled off the highway and drove up a side road right into the middle of the herd of sheep. The sheep may have been headed for the grass on the flats, but that ended that plan, and they started back up the mountain.

Dall sheep at Sheep Mountain, Yukon
The sheep with my long lens.

Dall sheep at Sheep Mountain, Yukon

Dall sheep at Sheep Mountain, Yukon
There were more sheep fairly low above the highway at the same spot.

Dall sheep at Sheep Mountain, Yukon
One young sheep had us worried that he was getting himself into a spot he couldn’t get out of. In the next photo, he’s at the upper centre.

Dall sheep at Sheep Mountain, Yukon
One final shot, looking across Slims River Flats to Fish Heart Island.

And that’s it for our RV Season 2018. I may use the motorhome for short hiking outings until snow shuts it down for certain, but my project for today is winterizing it.


This season’s final RV camping weekend at Kluane Lake — 12 Comments

  1. the sheep are near the road due to a mineral lick there. i think the gov tried to cover the mineral rich soil but it didn’t work. nice to see the sheep so close but dangerous for drivers (and sheep).

  2. I really enjoy your blog. We found it last month and did the magnificent hikes on Williscroft Canyon and Samuel Glacier. We recently moved to Haines Junction and are having a love affair with the surroundings. Please keep sharing your experiences.

  3. Hi Murray, Love the fall colors, Your photography is always beautiful, Just got home from the Kootenays, saw lots of sheep and wild turkeys, Colors were so pretty too,Keep up the great photos, maybe some winter ones in the Yukon, Happy trails, Iris,

  4. Hallo Murray,
    Ich besuchte diesen Sommer den Yukon zu einer faszinierenden Sightseeing-Tour. Ihre wunderbaren Berichte und Bilder sind eine ideale Ergänzung und absolute Bereicherung zu meinem “once-in-a-lifetime”-Erlebnis!
    Vielen Dank, dass Sie viele Yukon-Liebhaber an Ihren Abenteuern teilhaben lassen.
    Mich hat auch der Kanada-Virus – speziell der Yukon-Virus – erwischt! “Unheilbar” 😉 … und deshalb freue ich mich schon jetzt auf weitere Berichte/Fotos in der nächsten Saison!
    Ich sage DANKE und wünsche Ihnen und allen, die zu Ihrer Familie gehören und zum super Gelingen beitragen, eine gute Zeit! Viele Grüße aus D/Bayern von Heidi

  5. Nice closing trip . We finally decided on a retro mini travel trailer to get into dry camping with a plus.
    Really loved the trip up through BC and up and down ALCAN. Thanks for the years of inspiration.
    See ya on the road next year .

  6. Surprised that your temps where so much colder than what I experienced in the interior of AK on my own travels (but you were so much better prepared w big RV, furnace, etc, than I was able too be) during a similar time period.

    I had met a young couple from Austria that was traveling extensively in Alaska, then on into Canada, the states, then Mexico by spring…and I advised them to look up your blog and be aware of the rapidly approaching winter as well as having to drive their rig in snow and ice conditions if they waited around too long…