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.
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.
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.
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.
The Toaster sat on the banks of Quill Creek where fireweeds, yellow dryas, and soapberries covered the ground.
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.
We later found out that this spot is actually the trailhead for 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.
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?
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.
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.