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July 15th: 140 km: Lake Kluane!

(Joseph) The majority of the Yukon Territory we’ve seen up until today has had a relative uniformity in terrain, maybe this is just a mistake on my part as today is the first day that I could see further than 12 – 15 miles. The smoke is lifting! Granted visibility is still not perfect but we could see mountains today. Big ones! With small to medium sized glaciers clinging to the top of them, they lofted straight up from desert-like flats. This was especially apparent at Kluane Lake. A massive lake almost entirely undeveloped, yet giving you the feeling like there should be boats, fishermen, or water skiers. It was absolutely silent. The blue waters lay flat and disturbingly still. We road on the south shore for a couple of hours before coming across a familiar French hitchhiker, which we’ve seen for the past two days traveling north at about the same rate as Rob and I, only this time he had a look of fear in his eyes. “There’s a big Grizzly in the woods just off the road”. I didn’t ask him why, but he left his backpack in the woods right where the creamy, almost white colored grizzly was tromping around. I kept my eye on its fluffy white fur and it would occasionally stop and check me out as well. Finally the bear walked off from the area of the backpack and we told the French kid to make a run for it. He was pleased to have his belongings back and we parted ways. We ended our day in Destruction Bay, having coffee with some Swiss adventurers headed for Argentina.

(Rob)The smoke is beginning to clear ever so slightly. Yesterday we debated wearing our masks, but today there really s is no chance of even debating about it. Visibility is now probably 20 miles. Its still not great and the sky is very hazy, but at least we can see some mountains. The highlight of today was probably our drop into Kluane Lake. The lake was carved by a glacier and the entire scenery around this lake used to be its ancient shoreline - The result, a barren, sandy soil stretching for miles at the edges of the lake. On one side the lake is met by the steep sided mountains that rise up on three sides of the lake. We actually rode our bikes on a small highway that ran between the mountain and the lake. Thus we had steep rocky hills on one side and on the other a beautiful, large lake. The lake is over 40 kilometers long and probably 5 to 10 kilometers wide. The color of the lake is an intense aqua blue. This blue is such an intense blue, but the water is not clear at all. It’s about as clear as any Texas lake, of which color is a deep green to brown. I can’t figure out what makes this water the color it is. Perhaps it is the minerals in the water that prevent lots of algae from growing. I am not sure.

AS far as wildlife goes, we saw yet another bear. This one was an amazing grizzly. It was a cream colored bear that meandered through the bushes along side the road. It’s as close as either of us had been to an adult grizzly. We tried for awhile to film it but it was too far into the bushes. I told Joseph to go down and try to coax it out but he wouldn’t. I really wanted to get closer, but decided that I couldn’t run up the large hill to road fast enough if it decided to attack! Probably a good choice but man, it was the coolest bear I had ever seen. AND WHITE! It would have been so cool on video or film. Oh well, next one hopefully.

Tonight we met these two Swiss bikers heading to South America on bicycles. They were really nice chaps. Pol and Rota were there names. They bought us coffee and then headed out. I think that they probably are spending more time to stop and relax than us. We ride a long way each day. As a result we see lots of wildlife. When we are not filming or riding we are working on the computer. I enjoy that personally, but it is nice to stop and relax sometimes.

Now we are in some abandoned airfield-looking field. There was a man a few kilometers back that warned us about a bear in the airfield. We’re not sure if this is what he meant or if there is another place down the road. It kind of makes us nervous knowing there could be a grizzly smelling around our tent tonight. I mean, we did see that white one only a few kilometers back as well! Ikers!

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