Kluane National Park is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and largest internationally protected area on the planet. It is home to the largest non-polar icefields in the world and 17 of Canada's 20 tallest mountains including Mount Logan, Canada's highest peak. Ancient glaciers feed the Alsek River that flows through the sprawling Alsek Valley and dall sheep, mountain goats, caribou, wolves, grizzlies and black bears roam the massive park.
Flightseeing tours are a quick way to get deep into the park. Land and step out onto a glacier to take in the vast surroundings. Some adventurers experience Kluane by rafting a Canadian Heritage River to see grizzlies, eagles and glaciers. Paddling Kathleen Lake which has campsites, a day-use site and trails, is slower paced but every bit as wonderful. See wildflowers on a stroll along the lakeshore or hike up to the cirque of King's Throne for far reaching views of the lake and landscape.
Besides spectacular scenery in the Kluane Region, the First Nation cultures wait to be explored.
For 5,000 years the Champagne area has been occupied by Indigenous people. The site just off the Alaska Highway is also home to Long Ago Peoples Place, an authentic recreation of a traditional First Nations village. Pay a visit to learn about the Southern Tutchone history and culture, enjoy bannock, hear stories and feel the connection to the land.
A scenic drive leads from Haines Junction to the Kluane Museum of Natural History in Burwash Landing on the shores of Kluane Lake. The museum's fascinating exhibits include many that offer another look at the traditional way of life of the area's Southern Tutchone people.
Just before the Canada-US border is Beaver Creek home to the White River First Nation. Archeological evidence shows people have lived in this area for 10,000 years. The Visitor Information Centre displays examples of intricate beadwork and other traditional crafts.
Besides these interesting stops along the highway, First Nation tour operators offer unique, immersive experiences. Hear captivating legends, learn about living off the land and spot wildlife and medicinal plants.
Interested in visiting? see www.windowsonthewild.com and www.audleytravel.com
The vast wilderness of the Canadian Arctic and Greenland is like nowhere else on earth. Visiting Inuit communities along Baffin Island all the way through the famous Northwest Passage, offers incredible insight to life above the Arctic Circle. Encounters with polar bears, whales and seals, impressive ice formations, massive glaciers, as well as the possibility of seeing the northern lights, make expedition cruises to the Arctic with One Ocean Expeditions a transformational travel experience.
Argyll based cruise line Argyll Cruising has launched its 2020 itinerary, which sees the family-owned company build on its current formula of offering bespoke active cruises allowing guests more time to explore the area and less time sailing between locations.
All pics courtesy of Argyll Cruising (don't they just want to make you BE there?)
The new itinerary, available to book on Argyll Cruising’s website, incorporates history, culture , wildlife and onshore activities. A highlight is the return of the Corryvreckan to the Shiants cruise. This bucket list trip combines the incredible Corryvreckan, the world’s third largest whirlpool, with the tranquillity of Iona. En route sail past Skye's majestic black Cuillin mountains before heading to the Shiant Islands, home to a quarter of a million puffins in spring and summer.
Other highlights include spring and autumn Clyde coast trips taking in some of Scotland’s best-loved holiday hotspots, including the islands of Arran and Bute and holiday destinations Millport and Tarbert. Summer mini-cruises to Mull also return which include a visit to Fingal’s Cave on Staffa.
Shore Manager Jamie Duncan is delighted with the 2020 cruise itinerary saying: “As 2020 is VisitScotland's Year of Coast and Waters, it will be a big year for Scotland’s coastal communities with more people than ever flocking to the coast. As a small cruise company we wanted to offer something different, we’ve listened to guest’s feedback and come up with a cruise calendar which we believe will be hard to beat. The theme of each cruise reflects the best time to see each area. For example, we’ve chosen our Glorious Gardens cruises in spring and autumn and our wildlife cruises take place during optimal times to see incredible species in their natural environment.”
I'm Gilly, award winning journalist, travel writer and 12 x author. I'm published in national and regional papers / magazines.