Biking the Cottonwood Trail in Kluane National Park

(I’m still catching up on adventures from the Yukon, so there will be a few more posts about passed adventures before Africa kicks into high gear)

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Heather setting off on the trail

Kluane National Park is supremely beautiful wilderness, with only a couple of trails going a small way in.
We set out to bike the 85km not entirely certain of what to expect.

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Dan’s extremely inappropriate downhill bike used for the trip

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Josh’s setup for the ride – a perfect cross country bike

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Heather was the best equipped with panniers to store gear

Trip summary:

  • Arriving on the first night at Mush Lake to perfect sunshine and gale-force winds to keep the bugs away.
  • A few hours of glorious downhill riding on a perfect single track surrounded by knee high fireweed in full bloom, followed by a few hours of beautiful meadow riding through a valley surrounded by enormous mountains.
  • Josh riding full speed to within 20 feet of a not-happy grizzly. We all bunch up and put the bikes between us and the bear, resulting in a Mexican stand-off of sorts. I am well aware my one can of bear spray is no match for a large bear stamping it’s feet and snarling. It eventually veers off the trail and continues around us, allowing us to continue at full speed, continually looking over our shoulders for hours.
  • A day of continual rain/drizzle. The low clouds obscure the views, keeping our cameras packed away.
  • We decide to turn the last 50km into a single day due to the rain, and our want of fried junk food.
  • Pushing on past the last campground, thinking we are almost finished. We take another 5 or so hours, arriving back at the car around 3am, extremely tired and thirsty after a ~20 hour day, the last 5 hours of which we basically carry our bikes up and down small mountains on an extremely rough trail.
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Heather crossing the first of many rivers

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Heather pushing uphill, which we did for most of a day

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Josh and Dan at a river crossing

I’d love to do it again in clear weather and really take my time.


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