We left Whitehorse heading towards Haines Junction. The road got worse before it got better but the speed was mostly around 55 miles per hour. The closer one gets to Haines Junction, the better the view gets; Kluane National Park looms large in the distance.
We had filled up with gas in Whitehorse so we didn’t need any in Haines Junction, only 100 miles away. The Haines Highway is another 150 miles so for those with smaller gas tanks, Haines Junction would be recommended. The gas was no more expensive than it was in Whitehorse.
The difference between the Haines Highway and the Alaska Highway is night and day. The Haines Highway is so smooth, I thought we might slide right off the road. The rattles and groans we thought we picked up along the Cassiar were gone. It was quiet in the cabin. Not even the dishes clinked.
The drive down the Haines made us forget the beauty of the Cassiar. We stopped for lunch at Kathleen Lake, the only road accessible campground in Kluane National Park. The gnats were terrible but we walked part of the lakeshore anyway. It was quiet, warm, and empty, even on a holiday weekend.
Kathleen Lake has a unique salmon species (Kokanee)as they are landlocked and never return to the sea. The water was so clear and so still, you could capture the mountain and the bottom of the lake at the same time. And a fish, which I don’t think is a Kokanee Salmon.
We passed Dezadeash Lake, where we pulled over to make coffee and watch the trumpeter swans. The wildflowers were blooming.
We crossed out of the Yukon and into British Columbia where we encountered the only un-smooth pavement of the Highway. There was only about 5 miles of it and the road returned to blissful rattlefree driving.
We made it up to Chilkoot Pass which was still showing winter even though it was about 60 degrees F.
Passing back into the US was pretty easy. There were more questions than the Canadian Border but it was pretty painless. We needed our passports, our gun permit, and Belle’s shot record but, other than that, we were good to go.
We came to Mile 26 of the Haines Highway and saw a great place to overnight at Porcupine Crossing, so we did. It is a large gravel lot next to a pond and the river, with enough parking for a dozen rigs. It is a place the locals take their kids – ‘the swimming hole.’ One local we met told us the land was owned by a swindler, but she didn’t really elaborate. We passed a quiet evening before heading into Haines in the morning.