Once summer arrived, along with consistent plus 25 temperatures, it was time to enjoy some swimming, hiking and generally the beautiful weather in Yukon.
(In the Yukon, if you see a single day of plus 20, there is a likelihood it will come to fruition, but a few days showing the same, you’re guaranteed good weather. Nonetheless, each summer day is utilized as though tomorrow is no guarantee of sun and warm weather, every Yukoner is outside ’til the wee hours.)
The post-work week evening entailed heading to nearby lakes for a swim and a catch-up with friends. The most popular spot: Long Lake. One evening there must have been over 100 people at the beach, enjoying swimming, canoeing, stand up paddle boarding or generally floating around in a pool toy while having a drink.
My favourite was discovering Stinky Lake near a friend’s house in Porter Creek. This lake is perfectly positioned for evening sun, so it was warm and not too large, so that the water was perfect temperature. Added with a jetty and rope swing, it became my favourite spot for a dip!
With the perfect weather continuing for the weekend, my decision was to head to White Pass to finally see these supposed mountains. With the summer that was, so far it had been nothing but fog and cloud.
On arrival to White Pass, I decided to find a camp parking spot to enjoy the view and found a pull out near to Summit Lake. With dinner, a beer and an amazing view, I just sat and glanced out as very few cars passed on the highway.
As the sun set, the mosquitoes became insane and I was confined to my vehicle for fear of being eaten alive. I only ventured out when at 1 a.m. I awoke as nature called and as I looked outside my window, saw a beautiful and perfect full moon.
I ventured out and took some amazing photos, but couldn’t enjoy it as the mosquitoes were in the thousands. Instead I lay in my van bed and gazed at it from my window.
Morning arose and it was off to the trailhead for the Fraser Peak hike. The first hour was a beautiful hike up through the treeline, with the flowers and majestic peaks of white pass and approaching up to Fraser Lake.
Then came the fun part of reaching the summit. At first glance, all you can see is rocks and trying to navigate piece by piece up to the summit. It was 1.5 hours of bouldering and climbing; I found myself having to climb up vertically.
With sheer drops on either side, my previously detrimental and debilitating fear of heights kicked in and I stopped about 50 metres short of the summit.
Still proud of myself getting as far as I did, I sat down and decided to calm my nerves and enjoy the views.
Another 1.5 hours bouldering down and another hour to the car, it was peak heat and peak sun, with no shade and I was exhausted. Almost stumbling to the car, I attempted to eat, but mostly drank about 2 litres of water.
Once I had regained a bit of energy, I had to decide my next steps. It was 2 p.m. and such a beautiful day, so I decided to pop down to Skagway, Alaska. That’s another place I haven’t fully been able to appreciate because the weather had been always rainy, cloudy and foggy.
So off I drove and as I watched my car’s temperature gauge tell me it was 32 degrees in Skagway. I somewhat regretted my decision as the humidity almost killed me.
But, I found the motivation and I went up to the Lower Dewey Lakes to cool off for a swim. On my way I discovered giant salmon just floating around in the creek nearby the car park. You could literally touch them in the shallow water.
The hike headed to Fraser Peak toward Fraser Lake is relatively easy, the lake is surprisingly covered with trees, but the water is nowhere near as clean or nice as the Yukon’s lakes.
By this time it was 5 p.m. and it was time to head to cooler Whitehorse for some sleep and recovery. The drive through White Pass was amazing and I am truly thankful I got at least one drive through this incredible mountain range with clear, sunny skies.
The rest of the weekend was spent relaxing, for the first time in a long while.