Alpine hike on the Klondike HighwayJune 27, 2016
On our last full day in the Skagway area we decided to head back up the Klondike Highway to explore the backcountry. The US-Canada border is approximately at the mountain summit, but the customs stations are situated approximately 20 kilometers apart. As a result some of the highway is in a “no-man’s land” of sorts.
In this “no-man’s land” there is a pull out on the Canadian side of the “Welcome to Alaska” sign. From the pull out you can see a beautiful waterfall and if you walk down a ways from the road you can see the lovely ponds at the bottom of the waterfall. On the way to Skagway we had stopped briefly, but because Chuck had been napping in the truck we didn’t venture too far away. On this day we stopped at the Parks office in Skagway to ask about hiking and exploring on the Klondike Highway and the only hike the park employee knew about was this waterfall which she encouraged us to try.
After being in Whitehorse and witnessing Parks Canada close the top deck of the S.S. Klondike because of a few drops of rain and then Parks Canada closing the entire Chilkoot Trail National Park because of a problem bear we had a good laugh at the US Parks Service who would encourage us to do an alpine hike with two little kids that started with us having to ford a freezing cold body of water!
There we were looking at the beautiful alpine hike in front of us and we had been told that this was the only hiking trail on the highway so off came the shoes, socks and pants and we crossed the water! The water was cold, but the hardest part was walking on rocks with bare feet. I’m the kind of person who always wears shoes so my feet are not tough. Added to that, carrying a 30 lb. kid puts more weight on my feet and they were numb from cold! At least it was a warm day so the second I came out of the water my feet warmed right up.
The hike up the waterfall was beautiful. There were a few sections that came too close to the waterfall for my liking, but I am trying not to imagine the worst case scenario every time there is the slightest danger. Once at the top all tiredness from the climb was forgotten and we all wanted to keep walking further and further. Molly was motivated by getting to the snow patches so she never suggested turning around. Eventually we thought we’d probably pushed it far enough and headed back down.
On the walk back down I held Molly’s hand the whole time. This is when I realized that while my legs were getting sore and tired she was still going strong. She regularly insisted on walking through the heather beside the trail rather than walking on the trail to make the hike more challenging. She enjoyed jumping from rock to rock and wading in each creek with her boots. Back at the truck we realized we had been gone 5 hours and we couldn’t be more proud of Molly who will be 4 next month and who did the whole hike herself! It was by far the best hike we’ve done since Molly has been out of the baby carrier. Another hike I’d recommend and which I’d do again without question (although I’d bring some sandals for the water crossing next time).