August 1 – Returning to Whitehorse, Yukon

Today was the longest scheduled mileage day (282 miles), not only for our caravan, but for our entire trip.  Compounding our anxiety was that when traveling to Alaska, the first 100 miles we were to cover today were the most grueling on both our vehicle and ourselves.

To our surprise, there were no more stretches of gravel and with the exception of one 6 mile stretch the road was in far better shape than we’d imagined.

Slowly, the wide valley in which we were traveling narrowed and the mountains, particularly those in the Kluane National Park, loomed up to our west;

most of them in an unbroken chain of 8,000+ foot summits.

Kluane Lake, one of the most beautiful and pristine we’ve seen on this trip, and which we passed when traveling north in late June, came into view.

We also caught glimpses of the much higher, snow-covered peaks of the St. Elias range, which we’d seen from the other side of the park while driving from Valdez to Tok three days ago.

After climbing to Bear Creek Summit (3,294’), the highest point on the Alaskan Highway between Whitehorse, Yukon and Fairbanks, Alaska (1,488 miles), we descended over 1,400’ into Haines Junction.  As we drove straight through the town while traveling north, we stopped to see

The 24’ Muffin Monument (depicting nearly life-size animal sculptures)

St. Christopher’s (8-sided) Anglican Church

Our Lady of the Way Catholic Church (a rehabbed Quonset Hut which had been used by

the American Army during the construction of the Alaska Highway in 1942).

And, last but certainly not least, the Village Bakery, allegedly home of

The best confections on the Alaska Highway.

where, not coincidentally, half of the group on our caravan also pulled in for lunch or just a raisin sticky bun!

Our wildlife sightings were restricted to a moosemany large ravens,and horses.

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