I have been on several day hikes this spring, and spring was very marginal this year. Winter just didn’t want to let go.
On the day of my last hike there were flurries and cool temperatures forecast everywhere in the territory. We aimed to climb Stony Creek, but as the Johnsons, a gold mining family from Dawson City, and I met at the bottom of the trail it looked like we were about to hike right into the clouds. We decided to drive towards some blue sky to our southwest.
We could always hike the Kusawa ridge again, and look for sheep and pink spring flowers, but I had already been up twice this year. It is also fun to go across the lake and ascend the terraces. The very steep climb up Coudert is another amazing experience.
We find the sun just past the Takhini River Campground. We parked there and found the trail easily. (On our return, someone had put up a private property sign. Next time I will try to find another parking spot.)
Once we were on the trail the sun stayed with us all day. Climbing higher we saw clouds all around, some dark and ominous and several streaking down as if it was raining or snowing in the distance.
We followed the path up the sandy banks. Over the years it has become an ATV trail. As soon as the trail became wet, due to a little creek in between a hill and the mountain, we went bushwhacking up and to the south, veering away from the trading trail towards the clear flank of the main creek.
Ah, the mountain!
There were lots of pink primrose on the southeast mountain slopes above 3,000 feet — a harbinger of spring.
Compared to the Kusawa ridge, the primrose here are smaller and more fragile, but abundant and pink as ever.
We had lunch in the sun. We found a nice spot behind a rock shelter – it’s a spot that the wild sheep like, judging by the abundance of sheep droppings. They know the best spots on a mountain to lay down.
After lunch we reached the flat top, a beautiful open expanse dotted with snow and ice. We walked to the west side to try and get a glimpse of Jo-Jo Lake, but we never did.
Jeremy spotted an animal on a distant snow patch, it looked like a beaver to me, but we concluded it must be a marmot. We climbed to it’s home — a burrow in the snow — and the prints and burrow looked suspiciously small. At home afterwards, looking at photos, I concluded it was probably an Arctic ground squirrel.
And what happens when you hike with gold miners? We had the great fortune of seeing Golden Plovers.