Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Boy Who Cried ".....

I feel like the boy who cried, "beautiful!" once too often and lost his credibility with the villagers. I have written and spoken so glowingly of the scenic delights I have ridden through that I feel I can scarce be believed when I tell you that Kluane in southwestern Yukon is by far the most beautiful. The St. Elias mountains are Canada's highest and arguably most beautiful. Lake Kluane is a preternatural aquamarine, apparently because of suspended glacial flour, or perhaps dissolved minerals. Lake Louise and nearby Peyto Lake in the Canadian Rockies in Alberta are similar. The latter two are justifiably visited by millions annually, and Lake Louise has a famous hotel on its shores where the Queen stayed. Kluane Lake in the past few years has acquired a nice RV park/campground on its shores (where I write) and is driven past by thousands, visited by perhaps hundreds.

I suspect that the disparity is due to the relative remoteness of Kluane and to the shortness of the summer tourist season. The area is not without recognition though. The Canadian Parliament has made it a National Park and UNESCO has made it a World Heritage Site.

From my tent I have a view of a beachfront of purple-violet Yukon fireweed and an almost oceanic lake of shocking aquamarine. At sunset, around 11 pm, the sky was violet and the clouds getting the last rays were burnished gold. It was a good day.

There are two of us. My traveling companion, whom I met on the road in British Columbia, is Florent Prisse, a 24-year-old Swiss architecture student who will start school in Lausanne in September. He is genial, strong and fit, and a formidable mountaineer and outdoorsman. He is however a neophyte bicycle tourist. I have been bicycle touring for 30 years and know all about it. We get along surprisingly well. His English is quite good, vastly better than my French.

We expect to emplane in Anchorage, he for Geneva, I for San Francisco, the first week in September.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you are having a grand summer tour. But the reports are too few and too far between. I was actually starting to get worried about you.

    By the way, I loved the word "emplane". Obscure and obsolete, yet somehow the exact right word. So Chabonesque.