The name was made legend by Robert Service’s poem the Cremation of Sam McGee (I use his spelling of “Lebarge”). It is a place of dreams and of nightmares. Many have fallen in love with its stark beauty. Many have died in its unforgiving waters.
It is a big place. The lake itself is a good 30 miles long and a couple miles across. Storms can whip up out of nowhere and you are done for if you get caught in a small boat out there once the waves build up.
Stay close to shore, don’t be tempted by the island, know where the closest landing spot is at all times.
I planned to camp just shy of Lake Lebarge the day I left Whitehorse, but I was so excited to finally see the lake that I couldn’t resist continuing on just a few miles more to camp on the edge.
Before reaching Whitehorse I had only seen one kayaker and two people in a canoe who were on day trips, so it was exciting to see a few more people traveling on the river after Whitehorse. There was a family out on a day trip fishing. Two gentlemen from Spain heading down to Dawson. Another German heading as far as he can get. Lots of people!
The river from Whitehorse to Lebarge was quick and pleasant. I just leaned back, munched on a nice sandwich that I had bought in town and let the current do the work for the first hour and then paddled on into the evening.
The first view of Lebarge is enough to catch your attention. It is big and blue and gray, lined with rocky mountains and beaches and sheer cliffs and aspen and spruce forests. It looks endless from the top. 30 miles. That’s farther than the English Channel is wide. That’s longer than Lake Winnipesaukee. That’s pretty big.
I paddled to a nice bit of beach by Joe Creek (I think it was called) and camped there with a neighbor for the evening! Clemens from Germany who is heading to Dawson in a big red canoe.
. . .
Wary of the wind I woke up early the following morning and was on my way. The weather was ideal. Scattered clouds and plenty of sun. It has surprised me how chilly it is out on the water. Even if I am scorching hot under the sun on land, the second I get out in my boat I am grabbing all of my layers.
The wind picked up in the afternoon and was headed in just the right direction. I was able to use my Wildpaddle sail which worked great with the Folbot! What fun. I was zooming along over 3 mph without paddling. I paused for lunch on a dream of a beach and walked around to investigate the cliffs.
The sailing was so much fun that I wasn’t going to deny myself! So I ended up sailing all the way to Lower Lebarge the end of the lake where 30 Mile River starts, and was there by 5.30 in the evening.
I made myself a delicious dinner of tortellini, broccoli and red pepper with garlic/butter. YUM! Just as I was starting to feel the tiniests bit lonely, Clemens showed up! I was happy to have a neighbor two nights in a row!!