Friday, July 17, 2009

Yukon Trip 2009 - Day 13 Part 1 - Tombstone Campground

After a leisurely breakfast, decided to explore this wonderful campground a bit more.
The Tombstone campground is situated 71.5 km from the start of the Dempster highway. It has 36 sites and is open from mid-May, I forgot to check when it closes, but it is at least sometime in September, although it apparently sometimes closes 'when the berries are ripe' - this is because of the numbers of Grizzly Bears that come to feed on the berries. The Dempster Interpretive center is located at this campground and is open from mid-June to early September. It wasn't open at this point...but was on our return stay. There was a beautiful big new interpretive center under construction so I expect that will be open by next year, if not sooner...the new center was located adjacent to the campground and not right in the campground as the present one is.

This is looking back along the Dempster highway, from the entrance to the campground.

and this is looking northwards from the same spot.

This Snow-shoe Hare was watching me take the last two pictures. I was amazed at what it was eating - Horse-tails! I didn't think anything ate those things.....obviously I was wrong!

Within the campground itself flowers were just starting to appear and shrubs were just leafing out. These little light mauve Violets are 'Alaska Violets' - they were in a moister part along a walking path.

Creeping Raspberry were showing up all over the place, especially along the edges of the roadway.

This is Cloudberry - a plant I had heard of, but never seen before. They too were growing along the edges of the road, the leaves just breaking through the gravel and leaf debris, and obviously they burst into flower almost as soon as the leaves appear. These are quite large, showy flowers and they and the above Creeping Raspberry are two of the plants that will produce berries for the Grizzlys.

This white flower is one of several forms of White Draya's....a flower we will be seeing a lot of the next little while.

This hiking trail starts off in the campground and goes to the headwaters of the North Fork Klondike River. They suggest checking about bear activity before heading out. There were Lemming running around at the base of this sign......

I couldn't get a picture of the Lemming, they are very had to settle for a picture of this sign. Lemming pretty much look like very dark brown hamsters.

Snow-shoe Hare were much more co-operative....the ones living in the campground were obviously used to people. We'll be seeing a lot more of these guys too, although I don't think I have many more pictures of them.....we started counting the ones that ran across the road in front of us the next while.

When you walk up the hiking trail (I didn't go very far), you come to the North Fork Klondike River....

being damper beside the river, there were flowers growing here that you didn't see elsewhere...this type of White Anemone

and even a Yellow Anemone.....something I'd never seen before.

At the time, I couldn't place what these plants were - it was only on our return trip when Ernie took a picture of them that I realized they were Shooting Stars.

This is a broader view of the North Fork Klondike River, taken from an interpretive nature walk along the north side of the campground.

This view is also taken from that nature walk....the light color in the foreground is lichen...there were a number of different forms of lichen....all very dry and crunchy underfoot. You can just make out the highway in this picture, running across that nearby hill. Well take a drive along there in part two.......

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