The Chilkat pass is south of Haines Junction near the summit of the road to Haines Alaska. It should not be confused with the famous Chilkoot pass used by gold rush miners from Skagway to Lake Bennet, From the Chilkat pass, it’s possible to take a 10 km trail to view a glacier – I wasn’t about to do a 20 km round trip and would not have been able to do so anyway as there was too much snow, but it was a fabulous area for birds and flowers.
It was over 100 km from Haines Junction, and I chomped a second breakfast in the parking lot and was entertained by a fox crossing a snow patch.The morning sun at Haines junction had turned to overcast here, but the snow patterns were lovely.Still very much spring in this part of the world. The showiest flowers by far were big, luscious northern anemones, three times the size of the ones that grow around Nuk Tessli.The trail was half buried in water, snow and mud, so was slow going. But soon I spotted colour on the grassy side hill and up I went. Eight-petalled avens.Moss campionand a small treasure, a few tiny clumps of purple saxifrage. In the arctic it grows in great mats. At Nuk Tessli it is as equally significant as here.Across a small gully there was more pink. Again a tiny plant that blooms sparingly at Nuk Tessli, but here it was prime. The creeping azalea.I was also much intrigued by a puffy lichen. It was the first time I have seen it, but I was to find it was extremely common further north where it is known as “white” or “cauliflower” lichen.The country was generally grassy and open, but was scored with steep-sided little creeks choked with willows.
They were alive with birds, all singing their little hearts out. American tree sparrow.The noisy little semipalmated plover.Willow ptarmagin.Red pollsAnd a robin with something nice and juicy in its mouth.I identified, but could not photograph, other mountain birds I was familiar with, but whose songs fooled me at first because they had quite different dialects, and also some I did not know.
As seemed to be a pattern, the cloudy morning gave way to a sunny afternoon.I was only about 2 and half kms from the car park, but I had been so absorbed in the life around me that already the hour was getting late, even though the daylight would last a while. I was able to find a gravelly area back from the highway to camp.
I didn’t look at my watch so I can’t tell if this is a sunset or a sunrise. They blend together at this latitude.As you go north, the darker hours are lopsided by the clock. It stays light late, but it is dusky until three or four in the morning. That day I had another gorgeous sunrise.But it didn’t last long – soon the overcast rolled in again.
On my way back to Haines Junction, I drew in to the Dezadeash Lake. This should have been a lovely sight from the Rock Glacier Trail (see previous post) but had been largely hidden by the weather. It is a shallow lake and home to many waterfowl. I love this swan drawing on the poster!And here they are.This is the fourth of 8 Yukon Journey posts. I screwed up when loading them. To access #5, press the left-had arrow saying “previous.”
2 thoughts on “Yukon Journey – Chilkat Pass.”
I’ve never really been interested in types of flowers before … to me they were just pretty flowers, but you have a way of making them interesting to see and learn about. Thank YOU.
Chris, I’m so enjoying your usual keen eye. Flowers we certainly missed on our similar trip, later in the summer. What a marvellous picture of the red polls! And that close-up of the butterfly is truly special.