RubiKon Adventures

Tales and travels of "GrizzLee", "Looksha Lori" & "Yukon Johann"

Monday, August 17, 2015

Solo Beyond the Northern Hinterlands 2015: The South Canol

The South Canol Road: New Bucket List Items

Having had a successful trip to the Nahanni Range, I was feeling confident and joyful.
Leaving Watson lake and the Sign Post Forest

Somewhere on the AlCan Hwy

I left Watson Lake heading east toward WhiteHorse on the Alcan Hwy.  Within a few miles ouside of Watson Lake I rode through some of the thickest smoke I have ever experienced for several miles. The area around Liard River was on fire. In fact, I learned later that they closed the Alcan hwy for a spell because it was too dangerous to drive.

My goal for the day was to go up the South Canol Road and camp by Quiet Lake.
So these guys pull up and start taking
pictures of my bears on my bike
South Canol Road (cutting through the heart of the
Yukon between Ross River on the Campbell Hwy
and Johnsons Crossing on the Alaska Hwy)
Most people who travel north on the AlCan hwy usually pass right by this road. BIG MISTAKE!!! It is one of the most incredible roads in the Yukon. In the hurry to get to Alaska, most folks blow right by. With that stated, the road is not that great of condition. Campers and travel trailers will not like the road. It was a bit rough. BUT, travel on a dual sport with good suspension … HEAVEN. The scenery begins pretty early as the country opens up in a broad valley and I passed by Haircut lakes. The road follows the high country and sometimes above the tree line, providing broad expansive views. The road dips and climbs from Boreal forests to alpine tundra. The mountains block and compress the costal weather systems. Making this one of the wetter regions of the Yukon. The Kaska and Tlinglit First Nations people first roamed these lands long before the first Europeans arrived.
A beaver on the South Canol
I stopped in Teslin for lunch and then proceeded to Johnson’s Crossing on the Teslin river. I gassed up here and then proceeded north on the South Canol Road.
Nisutlin River
I crossed many rivers over one lane ridges. Murphy Creek, Evelyn Creek, Sydney Creek, Cotton wood creek… to name a few.  About 1/3 of the way up the South Canol Road heading north, there is a side road to the Nisutlin River. I was reading that one can paddle back towards Teslin over a period of 6 days from here on the Nisutlin River. Moose, bears, beavers and bald eagles are certainly to be seen. Of course, this got added to the Bucket List.
One of the jewels of the South Canol

Shhhh!!! Quiet Lake
I took my time touring the area. I arrived at Quiet Lake and it lived up to its name. Not a breeze and not a sound, save for the singing birds. I looked around at the campground and visited briefly with some folks from the Netherlands. Finding no campsites near the lake, I headed farther north. Another 22 kms I found the Quiet Lake Recreation Site. Lots of campsites along the lake and nobody here. YES!!!

More Silence

View form camp
I made camp, dinner and took a nice swim and bath in the Lake. Just as I finished, a couple from White Horse pulled in and setup camp at the other end of the campground. While I was having my hot cocoa and sun bathing in the evening sun, they took a dip in the lake as well.
I took a bath here


Sun going down

It is my understanding that this is launching point for many paddlers who wish to tackle the Big Salmon River and then paddle the Yukon River when it joins it much farther north. I made a note and added this to my ever growing bucket list of things to do before I check out.
More Sun Down pics

An hour later

45 minutes later...

Another 10 minutes...

Road equipment from the 1940s used to create the South Canol

On the way to Lapie Lakes

The next morning I passed by the hwy maintenance camp and saw some old graders and trucks form the 1940s … the original equipment used to build the road, which was built to accommodate the first ever oil pipeline built in the north.  From there I passed Tower Peak and then found my way to Rose River. The views opened up and the mountains rose all around me the farther north I traveled. It was an incredible morning ride. I passed Mt Cyr and then Caribou Mountain before arriving at Lapie Lakes. The sun was out, it was warm and absolutely gorgeous.
Rose River

GRZLEE.. yep that's what it says :-)

One of many lakes in the Lapie Lakes area

Yet another

Looking North across the tundra. Barite mtn in the middle.
The South Canol ended in a crescendo of scenery as it climbed high up the valley towards Barite Mountain and the Lapie River flowed in the narrow canyon below.

The northern end of the Canol Road ... Lots of glacial silt

I ended up on the Robert Campbell Highway ( a dirt hwy that connects Watson Lake to Carmacks) and headed east to my next destination at Ross River, the North Canol Road.

Stay tuned...

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