A day trip to the Takhini River and Kusawa Lake, Yukon

On Monday, I got a call from a friend asking if I’d like to go to Kusawa Lake. Yes, I certainly would! We usually take our dogs but decided not to today.

We didn’t get away until 1:00, but I wasn’t feeling up to a long day anyway. It was wonderful to see lots of leaves coming out on the trees out Mendenhall way, half an hour west of Whitehorse.

The green of Spring along the Alaska Highway west of Whitehorse.
It’s always wonderful to see the wild horses along the highway. However, Karla and I had seen photos of a new foal with a mare who has markings just like this one. Where was her baby?? It wasn’t until I got home that I could check the photos of the mare and foal and saw that it was a mare with very similar markings. What a relief that was! There are a few stories about where these horses came from but nobody knows for sure.

Wild horses along the Alaska Highway west of Whitehorse
Ahead on the left in the next photo is the Takhini Valley Rest Area at Km 1487 – 2 km past that, we turned onto the gravel Kusawa Lake Road and headed south.

Approaching the Takhini Valley Rest Area at Km 1487 of the Alaska Highway
At 2:10, we stopped across the road from the Takhini River Campground to photograph some Prairie crocuses. All Yukon campgrounds are still closed as a COVID-19 precaution.

Prairie crocuses along the Takhini River
Fun with crocuses and my lensball 🙂 I’m back to needing a cane to walk, complicating photography somewhat.

This was a 10/10 day, and there were a few people out enjoying it, most just on day trips, but some campers as well.

Spring along the Takhini River, Yukon
At 2:30 we found a good spot for a picnic, above the foot of still-frozen Kusawa Lake and the head of the Takhini River.

The foot of still-frozen Kusawa Lake and the head of the Takhini River
The water was so clear! It looked shallow enough to be able to walk across to the beautiful big beach on the far side.

The Takhini River
This was an absolutely superb spot to spend some mental-health time.

Reflections in Kusawa Lake, Yukon
There is clearly some awesome hiking on top of one of the mountains to the east, and we figured out a way to get there, for some future very long day.

Awesome hiking on top of a mountain to the east of the Takhini River
This was precisely what the doctor ordered. Nature is medicine.

Murray chilling along the Takhini River, Yukon
By 3:30 I couldn’t stand it any more – that water just looked too inviting. Karla wasn’t as convinced as I was that I could get back up once we got down to the river but agreed to go with me.

A sandy trail down to the Takhini River, Yukon
Yes, this was even better 🙂

Takhini River, Yukon

Takhini River, Yukon

I was too unsteady to prove my theory that the river was shallow enough to walk across, but I got far enough to be convinced of it. With the frozen lake only 100 meters/yards away, the water was quite chilly 🙂 (Karla shot this photo and the one above of me sitting)

Murray wading in the Takhini River, Yukon
By 4:00 I was getting very tired, and it was time to go. Here’s one last photo looking south to the head of Kusawa Lake. I had seen a trail that might be easier than the one we came down. The climb, barefoot on a soft, sandy trail, turned out to be not as tough as I thought it might be.

Frozen Kusawa Lake
Signs of Spring back up top.

Signs of Spring at Kusawa Lake
At 4:20 we were almost back to the truck.

Access to the Takhini River and Kusawa Lake

The day was simply perfect.

Although my osteopath’s office isn’t open yet, she saw me on an emergency basis 2 days after this outing. When I got home from seeing her, I slept for over 4 hours and was useless the rest of the day. I felt clearer the next day and even better the next day then sort of stabilized. I’m back on the right path, but I have no idea yet how to deal with this long term, when it takes very little activity to put me back in a very bad place. I really need to get back into the mountains, but for now, outings like this will be pretty much it.

Everything right now – the virus and my injury – would be infinitely more difficult if I lived in a city hit hard by the virus. I’m always thankful to live in the Yukon, but especially now. We have no active cases, and none of the 11 cases has been sick enough to even be hospitalized. Yesterday, our Chief Medical Officer announced plans to start opening everything back up – it will be a very slow, very cautious process, and it seems to be supported by the vast majority of Yukoners. We certainly have every reason to keep believing that Dr. Hanley and his team know what they’re doing.

Stay well, stay safe, my friends 🙂


A day trip to the Takhini River and Kusawa Lake, Yukon — 19 Comments

  1. Hi Murry, I am glad you got outside to the beach on such a pretty day. It is very interesting to see and get an idea of the Mountains and country side a half hour west of White Horse? I hope you do get off that cane again and can take the Dogs to one of your favorite spots in the Mountains as the summer comes upon you! Thanks for the experience of your and Karla’a beach getaway. Stay Healthy! Thanks Again Thomas

  2. You really did take verry nice pictures it opens mine hart because whe have bin living in Whitehorse from 1960 till 1963. Whe did have a wonderful time ofer there and have been working for Taylor and Drury.
    Our son is born in Whitehorse.
    Whe tink it is the best place on the woreld.lot of greetings from us and the people of the Netherlands.

  3. Thrilled that you are getting out and not letting your injury keep you housebound. My new hip has kept me close to home but getting better every week. After 8 months of pain I’ll soon be able to get out hiking. Once my radiation and chemo are done I’ll be out enjoying our beautiful Yukon. Thank you for your blog, I sure enjoy it.

  4. I always enjoy your pictures. Yukon and BC are 2 of my favorite places and hope to return again after this virus has let up. Hunkering down in NJ

  5. Hi Murray, Glad to see you’ve been able to get around a little. I will rely on you now for Yukon pictures as I cancelled my June trip as Yukon will be for Yukoners from what I can read and border crossing is still pretty much not there. Maybe by August, everything will have come back to a certain “normal” and see if travelling there is possible. So I’ll be checking up on your blog to get beautiful summer views of your wonderful territory.
    Stay safe dear friend

  6. Your pictures were quite good today Murry . It’s funny that you were not behind the lens . Lol . The shot of your reflection on and in the lake is absolutely incredible . You must find something in regulars medicine that doesn’t come from any medical professional . Worthless uneducated closed minded to what they prescribe . Use your intuitive power and heal yourself Murry . Draw from the Lord all the power you will ever need from this day forward and realize that the Lord is taking you home with him because you have proven yourself worthy in His Fathers eyes . Thank you Murry for all that you have done for all of US .

    • Thank you, Hugh. Many people are learning now that we need to rely on ourselves, and looking inward to discover what spiritual power drives you is an important part of that.

  7. From the Netherlands, the country rather hard hit by the virus: thanks for this inspiring story. My wife and I hope to visit Yukon en the NWTerritorries again in 2021, if the virus will allow this….

  8. Again, thanks so much for sharing. Reminded me of our trip to Tuktoyaktuk to go wading in the the Arctic Ocean.

    Be safe, get well.

  9. What a sweet little day trip…and with plenty of rewards for the two of you. Great pictures… especially enjoyed the lake and ice shot…Kusawa Lake. Just the views, let alone the walk to the water sounded very mentally invigorating.

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