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July 25, 2016

Haines, AK to Burwash, YK

Haines would be a fabulous stop with its glacier views and small boat harbor, in decent weather.  But with high winds and heavy rain visibility was minimal.
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We chose to stay just north of town at Haines Hitchup with its wide grassy spaces, updated laundry and showers, decent WiFi.  It is near the fairgrounds and Saturday Farmer’s Market.  Since our stay in Skagway offered neither laundry nor dump facilities, in our cramped waterfront spot, and the weather offered no view this was a perfect choice.
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Behind the park is a nice walking trail along Sawmill Creek.
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However this is my first big mistake of the trip.  With gawd awful wind and rain, we left Haines for what was reported to be better weather further north.  In hindsight we should have kicked back another day and waited for the storm to pass.

Just north of Haines is the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve  … Who knew the bald eagles took a summer vacation?  Not a one in the ‘council’, but we saw several along the way, and since, just not where I expected to find them …. 
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The road climbs up to the Kluane National Park – a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  With its hiking trails, camping areas, the arboreal forests – similar to tundra, but more diversified.  And more RAIN and Biblical winds topping 50km/h!  We really should have stayed in Haines and followed the storm over the pass!
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Passing from British Columbia into the Yukon is done high in the remote area of the park.  We stopped for a lunch break at Dezadeash Lake, safe from the wind and rain it was a welcome stop.
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The Visitor Center at Haines Junction should not be missed.  It serves both north and southbound travelers as well as volumes of information on the Kluane area itself.

Pine Lake Provincial Park was perfect for the night, just outside of Haines Junction where the private FHU campgrounds were water logged!  At $12CA it was also well within the budget.  The campground is on the lake with a couple hiking trails from the campground.  And the previous occupants left us a few cairns as a welcome on the table.  Unlike the BC parks the Yukon parks still provide firewood.
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Finally SUN!  As we work our way to the ‘Land of the Midnight Sun’ this is only the third time we have seen the sun since crossing into Canada!  Although the sun does not last long it is a welcome addition to the morning and offers a few views of the fabulous mountains surrounding us.  The mosquitoes also enjoyed the morning sun, cutting into the Pine Lake Interpretive Trail morning walk.IMG_4380 (640x476)IMG_4384 (640x479)
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North of Haines Junction Mt Logan looms as Canada’s tallest peak.  The clouds parted long enough for a quick picture.
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We stopped at the tiny Kluane Lake Visitor Center for our first glimpse of Dall Sheep.  The rangerette had set up a spotting scope on the deck to allow us a view of a herd.  The 7 of 18 were still obvious, but the others had already passed out of view as did the last 7 before I could set up a tripod and zoom on the camera.
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Burlass on Kluane Lake has a serious, world class Natural History Museum.  Well worth the admission of $4 CA each.  Sorry I did not take any pictures, but do your own research and stop if it interests you.

Next up – back to Alaska!
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