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St Elias Mountains, Canada's highest peaks.
St Elias Mountains, Canada's highest peaks.
The world's largest non-polar icefield.
Dalton Trail Lodge, outside Kluane National Park.

Dalton Trail Lodge

Thursday, September 7, 2000
On the edge of the Kluane National Park and Dezadeash Lake is where you'll find this stunning holiday lodge. You'll be spoilt for daily activities — from fishing, canoeing, riding or tennis to visiting the in-house cocktail lounge or library.

Kluane National Park in the south-west corner of the Yukon was established in 1972 and covers 2.2 million hectares. The Yukon found its fame during the Klondike gold rush at the end of the 19th century. It contains the St Elias Mountains, which are Canada's highest peaks — Mt Logan is 6000m high — and the world's largest non-polar icefields. The Donjek, Lowell and Kaskawulsh valley glaciers, as well as many great rivers and their tributaries, flow from these icefields.

Two-and-a-half hours west of Whitehorse, just outside of the Kluane National Park, is the Dalton Trail Lodge, sitting on the edge of Dezadeash Lake, a warm shallow lake, rich in plant and animal life. It is owned by a Swiss couple, Trix and Hardy Ruf, who used to spend holidays in the area and fell in love with it. The main building has 10 double rooms and five single rooms, dining, living and lounge rooms. There are two other houses for rent — one with two bedrooms, one with three — and all buildings are made from logs.

You are provided with camping and fishing gear, canoes, mountain bikes, 4WD trucks, motor boats and a TV. There is a tennis court, cocktail lounge and games room with fire and library.

Most guests stay between two and three weeks and use Dalton Lodge as their base for many different trips. Fishing for lake trout, pike and grayling has always been the main focus for people visiting this remote part of Canada, but people are becoming more adventurous and travelling further afield.

Kathleen Lake, just 10 minutes away, has the only camping ground in the park, and offers superb scenery and fishing. You need a permit, but that can easily be organised.

Doug McLonan operates Lowell Lake and Glacier Flightseeing trips from Dalton Lodge. You fly over Mush and Bates lakes and Goat Herd Mountain before reaching Lowell. You will see goats, moose, sheep, and will more than likely spot some grizzlies.

About 20 minutes from the Dalton Lodge is the Klukshu Indian village, which is run by Chick Hume, a retired Canada Parks ranger. He takes hiking and horse-riding tours of the very old village, where the First Nation people go in summer months to catch winter salmon that come down the Tatshenshini River. There are about 30 log cabins on the site, a museum, craft shop and plenty of fish drying racks. The salmon run from early in June until the end of October. The arrival of the salmon also means the arrival of grizzly bears, but they don't represent any danger. The people fish during the day, the grizzlies fish at night, and everyone's happy with this arrangement.

There are sockuie, coho and shunook salmon in the area, and each family pulls about 60 fish for their winter nourishment. The area is extremely sacred to the First Nation people and is treated with a great deal of respect.

Location

Canada's south-west Yukon.

Cost

Dalton Trail Lodge has one-week fishing packages, including accommodation, all meals and transfers from Whitehorse, starting at around $2540 per person.
Qantas flies to Vancouver four times a week, with connections to Whitehorse. Return economy airfares start at $2290 per person from the east coast, $2610 from Adelaide, and $3090 from Perth.
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission and to the best of our knowledge are inclusive of GST.

More information

Dalton Trail Lodge
Web: www.daltontrail.com
Web: www. touryukon.com
Web: www.parkscanada.pch.gc.ca
Canada Travel Information
Ph: (02) 9954 3377
Qantas: 13 1313

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