The story of the Klondike Gold Rush is legend in the Yukon. In the late 1890’s at the height of the rush, 100k gold seekers passed through Dawson City, where the Yukon and Klondike rivers converged with their dreams of getting rich. Today, only 39k people inhabit the entire 186k-square-mile Yukon Territory, and its main industries are tourism and mining - but for gold not so much.
For us, the main attraction in the Yukon was Kluane National Park. The size of New Hampshire, it contains 17 of Canada’s 20 highest mountains, including its highest, Mt. Logan, at 19,551 feet. (In North America only Denali in Alaska is higher.) Deep in the park’s interior, Mt. Logan is visible only by air and not accessible by road or day hike.
Kluane National Park, combined with its neighbors Glacier Bay and Wrangell-St. Elias of the U.S., is a World Heritage Site, and is the largest internationally protected area on the planet. We stayed in the only place where front-country camping is allowed in the park, at Kathleen Lake. Kathleen is another swimming-pool blue lake, due to its suspended glacial flour. A freshwater species of salmon, Kokanee, inhabits the lake, although they’re in decline. Unlike ocean-going salmon which can swim 1500 miles or more to spawn and die, when these fish are ready (at three years old) they take a short swim to a higher lake.