Miraculously I had a few days off recently and we decided to dust off our Yukon government annual camping permit and head off on another adventure in an effort to to at least break even on the purchase. This time to Pine Lake, a Yukon government campsite near Haines junction. After my flight to Calgary, Edmonton and back to Whitehorse on Sunday I threw some clothes in a bag and off we went. Some parts of the drive on Alaska highway towards Haines junction were very scenic. Quite possibly the other parts were scenic as well but I was dozing on and off so I can only comment the parts I managed to stay awake for. Two and a half hours after leaving Whitehorse we arrived. It being Sunday, we though that we'd find lots of available sites.
We were wrong.
We considered a couple of the few of the leftover sites. Two were being serenaded by the industrial hum of RV generators, rather spoiling our notion of a peaceful nature holiday. The other site might have been okay for an RV, but the idea of squeezing our tent on a small rectangular patch of gravel between our car and a picnic table was not appealing.
We decided to continue on to Dezadeash Lake campground after I looked it up and saw that there were many lakeside campsites. We arrived to find the sites were all rectangular patches of gravel, separated by a couple of meters of low scrub. Yes, there were lakefront sites. They had an added bonus of an icy wind that somehow did not manage to disperse the multitudes of mosquitoes. This site was the opposite of Pine Lake in that they were very few people and it was very quiet except for the howling wind. If I had to describe it in one word I would probably say "desolate." However, since it was now 9:30pm, we decided to camp there anyway.
In the morning light the site looked... pretty much exactly the same, so we decided to head back to Pine Lake to see if any more spots were available. On the way we we lucky enough to see a moose family so we felt that was a sign we'd made the right choice.
When we arrived at Pine Lake campground we found that there were a few more choices but Rich decided he didn't like the "feng shui." I know, we are very hard to please. We decided to head on to Kusawa Lake campground, one of my favourite all-time campgrounds. Halfway there changed we our minds and took a dirt track up to Aishihik Lake campground (that's how we roll folks).
Aishihik Lake looked like a short 15 minute jaunt up the road on my fairly basic Yukon government campground map. The Yukon Environment website description of the rough road to the campground was taken more as a challenge than a warning. I turns out they were not kidding about the road but it was no match for Fi.
Fi, is short for Fiona which is the name of our 4Runner. I, personally, would not choose to name a car but Rich calls her Fi all the time so it has caught on.
About an hour later we arrived, unharmed, 4Runner intact and a few photographs richer. Aishihik Lake turned out to have a total of one amazing site a few nice sites, several fairly crap sites and a gorgeous lake nestled in the mountains. Fortunately we arrived just as the people were leaving the amazing site so we lucked out. As we pulled in the weather changed from grey and depressing to warm and sunny.
Right now, I'm drinking a Yukon Gold by the fire and writing this while Rich is reading Oscar a bedtime story. We've just had a delicious campfire cooked dinner of marinaded shrimp and veggie kabobs. Ozzie has finally had the s'more which was the proverbial carrot for good behaviour all day. I'm watching the sun glinting off the lake behind the trees and Maggie is lying by my feet in a post swimming/running binge slumber. Now, I remember why I love camping despite RV generators and unsuccessfully trying to hammer tent pegs into gravel camp sites. It's days like these.