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Kathleen Lake and Million Dollar Falls: Camphosts go Camping

“I don’t think we need the sleeping bags,” Mare says. She had just lined our truck bed with foam, covered in blankets.

“Nah, we don’t need them,” I respond. “Maybe we’ll camp one night and motel it for another.”

We load the truck with grooming gadgets and a laptop, in case we cop a motel. At a motel, we would recharge about seven batteries, as well as ourselves.

Genuine Yukon logs fuel the campfire. Mare, Jack the dog, (Now Yukon Jack) and me snuggle as close as possible without burning neither our clothing nor fur. These mosquitos must wear fleece vests, to be able to fly in ferocious numbers through this glacier-chilled air.

“I can’t believe that we didn’t bring the sleeping bags.” Mare widens her eyes at me. “What’s wrong with us?” [Cabin Fever?]

“I know. I mean, we’re camping…what else are sleeping bags for?  ” I laugh. “You know, we have no utensils either, but we got two cans of Stag super hot chili and a pound of bacon.”

Listen to the quiet. Footsteps approach. A man holds a ticket in his hand. I think that he wants to ask me a question. He continues past…hey, today I’m not a camphost.

The only sound that breaks our silence comes from crackling wood in the campfire. The fire puts us in a daze. We luxuriate in the quiet, away from people. After a growler of Haines Brewery’s finest, we’ll munch on Chile and use Doritos for forks.

Back at our camphost cabin in Chilkat State Park, we are never able to leave without forgetting something. We need to take full advantage of every trip to town. For instance, maybe Mare will forget a towel for the coin-operated shower, or I’ll forget to buy ice for the cooler in the event I catch a fish. Somehow, though, we learn to live to without the things we forget. Mare emerges from the shower and dries with a dirty shirt. I fill the cooler with cold river water to keep my fish fresh.

Kluane National Park, where we camp, consists of the World’s largest non-polar ice fields. Our two blankets, Yukon Jack, and body heat hold us warm throughout the rainy night. Oh, though, to crawl out into the cold dark universe to take a piss at night proves that a person does whatever is necessary. (Sorry to our Phoenix friends, who are sweltering in the heat – wish you could chill with us).

Yukon Jack dives for rocks and retrieves sticks from Kathleen Lake. Back at the campground, he shivers from the glacier water. We load up the truck, and head out. Hell with a motel. This is too much fun. We are recharged. Forget those batteries. We’re going to move camp near the river at Million Dollar Falls.

Along the way, we climb a short trial up a Rock Glacier. Waves of rocks (instead of water) slowly slide down that mountain as if made of ice. Although this rock glacier is inactive, as far as glacier go, we pull panoramic views of Dezadeash Lake.

Two grizzly bears cross the Haines Highway near the turn-off to Million Dollar Falls. One of them scratches himself like a dog. Those claws make darn good “itchers” I’ll bet.

Yukon Jack lies on his bed next to the raging Takhanne River while I write this. Mare takes photos of Million Dollar Falls. Soon, I build a fire and we cook one-pound of bacon in a pan on top of it.

We get to snuggle in the truck, the three of us. The rain and roaring river serenade us to slumber. Tomorrow, we’ll shower for twelve quarters for three minutes. All of our batteries still need recharged. We, on the other hand, do not. 

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. ah, love to hear about your AK adventures. And love Mare’s hat! I must say Jack is looking handsome and well. Like the image of the rock glacier you depict with your words. Hope to see you this fall!

    August 11, 2011
    • Jill, you should see me in Mare’s hat. Yes, Jack is hearty and really enjoying this adventure. Thanks for your kind words. We may crash you this fall…be careful what you wish for. Ron

      August 12, 2011
  2. Tammy #

    These posts sure do remind us of how little we need to have peace. I do have to say a clean towel would be nice after a three minute shower…We are up enjoying Happy Jack but no big bears to watch. Love you t

    August 13, 2011
  3. Ma & Pa #

    Really it is surprising how little we really need…. keeping it simple is good for the soul….
    We miss you all three and really do look forward to reading your fascinating stories.

    Love Ya
    ma & pa

    August 13, 2011

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