The visit to this confluence required some planning.
The intent was to make the trek to the location via snowmobile.
The majority of the trip would take place on the ice surface of Bennett Lake, a lake with a reputation in the summer of unpredictable wave conditions and in the winter of unknown ice conditions. Overflow, standing water lying on top of the ice surface, yet hidden beneath the snow surface, would be another hazard. The trip would take 50 miles, return, across frozen lakes and through boreal forests. There is a rule in the north- "don’t snowmobile alone". Keeping this in mind, I asked a friend, an avid outdoorsman, Werner Walcher, if he would be interested in the trip.
Werner said he would very much like to see the area and agreed to accompany me.
After consulting with knowledgeable local friends on the ice conditions it was decided that the trip could be done safely although the overflow conditions were getting worse due to the warming temperatures.
We trailered our snowmachines to Carcross, Yukon, home to the world’s smallest dessert.
We departed Carcross at 10a.m., traveling west on Bennett Lake staying close to the north shore. Within 1/2 mile of travel it was evident that the overflow was as predicted.
The overflow ranged in depth from 1 inch to about 7 inches. Speed became our biggest friend, if one were to slowdown in the areas of heavy overflow, the snowmachine would quickly settle through the snow into the overflow. In the event that one machine became stuck, we decided to spread out and travel about 100 yards line astern, we would still have the second machine for assistance or to return to our starting point.
After traversing the west arm of Bennett Lake to the mouth of the river flowing out of Munroe Lake, a short trip through mixed boreal forest put us onto the lake surface of Munro Lake.
It was here, on Munroe Lake, that our destination appeared to be located. About 4 miles of travel to the south on Munroe Lake took us to the 60th parallel. It was easy to distinguish the 60th parallel, as there is a 40 foot wide slash line through the trees along the 60th degree parallel defining the Yukon and British Columbia border.
Stopping in the area of this slash line, and consulting the GPS indicated to us that this slash line appeared to be about 200 feet south of the co-ordinates indicated on my handheld GPS. After confirming that my GPS was indeed set-up in WGS84 we decided that perhaps the cutline was established using a different map datum.
Regardless of this, we decided to go to the exact co-ordinates using the GPS.
Although the topo maps indicated that the confluence should be on the lake surface the GPS indicated that a trek of about 280 feet, upslope, on the east shore of Munroe Lake would be required. Donning our snowshoes, we proceed to zero in on the confluence.
Success!! Shortly after noon we were at the location. Elevation 2200' ASL.
Weather conditions +4°C, light winds, broken to overcast sky with occasional mixed snow/rain.
The trip was not without excitement, on several occasions we were overtaken by the ice conditions and succumbed to the hidden overflow. Allot of grunting and the odd verbal word of discouragement seemed to help when trying to free a 550lb snowmobile from 16 inches of snow covering 6 inches of overflow.
The trip back to Carcross re-traced our tracks and was interrupted by lunch/coffee breaks and numerous stops to photograph the incredible scenery.
Stay tuned for my next venture to a confluence located somewhere in “The land of the Magic and Mystery” Yukon, Canada. For more photos of the Yukon visit Werner’s website.