Boondocking In Haines Junction, Yukon

We headed to Haines Junction with a boondocking site we found on the iOverlander app in mind. Except we were driving too fast and passed the GPS coordinates for it. We pulled into the first pullout we saw to turn around. It was a large pullout next to a creek with a fire ring and "teepee". What caught our attention was the dirt road leading in the woods next to all that. Curious where the road went, Jerud rode his bike to check it out while the dogs and I hung out by the creek. We’re always scouting for potential boondocking sites, adding it to our ever-growing list of places we’ve stayed and potential future sites. Jerud came back with a smile on his face – we found a place to call home.

Pullout by Quill Creek.

Driving the Toaster down the dirt road reminded me of trying to put on skinny jeans after they come straight out of the dryer. Branches dragged across the sides of the truck and RV, leaving additional scratches to our already extensive collection.

Driving into our boondock site.

The site itself wasn’t large. We were able to back the Toaster into the spot, park the truck in front, have room to get in and out of the rig, and still have enough space for lounging at the campfire on the other side.

Boondocking by Quill Creek.
Boondocking next to Quill Creek.
Campfire egg scramble and cornbread for breakfast.

Campfire egg scramble and cornbread for breakfast.

This spot was peaceful and beautiful. Even though we were only a mile or so away from Haines Hwy and could occasionally hear road noises, it felt like we were in the middle of nowhere. The site's location was great - we were 12 miles from Haines Junction, ~8 miles to Kathleen Lake, and ~3 miles to Auriol Trail.

This is the view from Haines Highway of Quill Creek and the Auriol Range. Cars crossing the creek could see the Toaster tucked in the trees on the left riverbank if they looked at the right time. 

This is the view from Haines Highway of Quill Creek and the Auriol Range. Cars crossing the creek could see the Toaster tucked in the trees on the left riverbank if they looked at the right time. 

The Toaster sat on the banks of Quill Creek where fireweeds, yellow dryas, and soapberries covered the ground.

Boondocking at Quill Creek.

The yellow dryas remind me of something out of Dr. Seuss land. When in bloom the flowers have yellow petals. But when it's time to seed, the white wispy hairs take over the flowerhead and slowly unfurl. Yellow dryas are like the dandelion of Yukon!

The riverbank covered in dryas and fireweeds.

Tybee loved this spot. The site could have only been better for her if there was eddy near us for her to play in the frigid glacier water. We had to keep an eye on her and make sure she didn't sneak off into the river - the current was too fast and would've quickly swept her downstream.

Tybee loved laying outside.

We later found out that this spot is actually the trailhead for Quill Creek South Route. It's a 22 mile roundtrip unmarked route that leads hikers into the heart of the Auriol Range. But it's not a popular trail at all. During the two weeks we stayed there we only saw two people stop for a short hike down the riverbank behind us. We ventured downstream on the route looking for any signs of the abundance of porcupines that the creek was named after. No luck.

 
Hiking the area.
 

Instead, we saw a bull moose walk right past the Toaster on the riverbank at dusk. That was really amazing! Jerud and I quietly watched him through the window. He was very nonchalant about us being there. Of course after the first time we saw him I would sit by the window every night around the same time waiting for him to visit us. We only saw him twice. And strangely he was the only wildlife we saw! WTF?

Our moose sighting.
Sunset at Quill Creek.

This site is actually on Yukon land, bordering the Kluane National Park boundary. There were two of these placer posts on the riverbank by where we were parked. At first we thought we were on private property, but after some online research we learned that individuals apply to stake claims along rivers.

 
Placer post for mining.
 

This gives them the right to mine that land. Whoever the two posts belong to only "own" the minerals to be mined, but not the actual land, so it wasn't an issue that we were parked where we were. What it does mean is that we may come back again in a few months or years to find that the bank looks very different and our boondocking site gone because of mining operations. The operations could be small or large. Just keep that in mind if you plan to stay here. If this spot is gone or occupied, there is room at the pullout with the "teepee" and another boondocking spot right on the other side of Haines Hwy. Both of them are next to Quill Creek but they're not as nice as this site.

I absolutely loved this boondocking site! It was a slice of heaven for me and I was really sad when it was time to leave. I definitely hope we have the chance to come back and revisit one day.

Quill Creek

We were in the Haines Junction area from July 25 - August 9, 2016.


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