Tagish

The gold miners called it “Sucker’s Bay.”  The bay at the north end of Windy Arm.  They would get stuck there trying to be safe sticking to the shoreline.  The wind would roar in from the south and pin them to the cove.  They’d have to wait.  Sometimes days.

Take a lesson from history!  Some folks I met in Carcross warned me about Suckers Bay, so I planned to cross the area early in the morning to avoid the worst of the wind.  Windy Arm was still at 4 am so that’s when I went.  Still and silent and eerie.  That’s how it is on these lakes at 4 am.

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Tagish, the next lake was still when I arrived but not for long.  Miles still to go to safety when rollers started coming in from the south.  They were coming at me perpendicular so I was safe.  If the waves are coming at you from an angle in a kayak, that’s when things get tippy.  That’s when things get dangerous.  I made it to the outpost of Tagish by noon.  This spot used to be a checkpoint for the gold miners.  The Mounties were stationed there before moving to Whitehorse in later years.

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I didn’t think there would be anything there now except the gas station.  The wind was strong again so I decided to wait until the evening to press on.  The gas station was closed so I wandered across the bridge just to explore and stumbled upon signs reading “Bait” “Pizza” “Ice” “Cold Beer.”

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What!  Don’t mind if I do.

So I headed down the narrow dirt path and suddenly found myself in a little oasis.  A restaurant!  The owner was incredibly friendly and let me hang out the entire afternoon while I waited for the wind to calm.  What luck!  I looked over my maps and wrote in my journal in a comfortable corner while enjoying a spinach pizza and hot chocolate.

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The wind died down and I was off by 6 pm into Marsh Lake.  There were bear tracks on the beach where I first stopped to make camp so I continued and found a nice protected beach in a bay.  The Yukon empties out of Marsh Lake and I camped only 6 miles from the start of the river proper.  The lakes were beautiful but it was a relief to know that respite from their violent winds was close.

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