Mountain Light

Tombstone Territorial Park and  the northern Ogilvie Mountains –  6  days

Ddhal Ch’el, “among the sharp, ragged rocky mountains” is the traditional name for the Tombstone Range. It is an exceptionally dramatic landscape, with  jagged granite and syenite peaks soaring abruptly above sweeping picturesque valleys. Boreal forest and arctic tundra meet here, with the forested valleys of the Klondike and Chandindu Rivers in the southern end of the Park giving way to the treeless windswept Blackstone River uplands further north.   North of the Park extends the great sweep of the northern Ogilvie Mountains with their exquisitely carved and easily-accessed limestone ridges -a hikers paradise!

Tombstone Mountain, a towering plutonic intrusion, is at the heart of southern Ogilvies. It is also the namesake for Tombstone Territorial Park. This park straddles the Dempster Highway – a narrow strip of gravel in an immense expanse of northern Yukon wilderness. Multiple alpine glaciations have sculpted the rock spires and left behind distinctive features such as cirques, tarns and moraines. The Tombstones are at the southern edge of Beringia, a unique region that was not scoured by continental glaciers during the last ice age. There are good examples of permafrost features throughout the Ogilvies – patterned ground, pingos, seasonal frost mounds and solifluction lobes. This area is rich in cultural history as well, with rich archaeological evidence of at least 8000 years of First Nations peoples traveling across this land in search of its abundant game and fish – ancestors of today’s Tr’ondek Hwetch’in , Gwitchin, and Han people. The end of August and early September is perhaps the most alluring time of year to visit the Park due to its dazzling display of fall colours – the golden hues of the aspen and and balsam poplars, the burnt orange and fiery reds of the dwarf birch, and the brilliant russets of the alpine bearberry. This is also a season where the bugs have abated, and the mountain tops (and occasionally valleys!) are often picturesquely tinged by  early snows.

Trip Details

Dates
September 3- 8, 2017
Duration
6 days
Price
$1550
Activity
Hiking, photography
Skill Level (minimum)
moderate fitness

Detailed Itinerary

We will meet in Dawson City town or airport, or at Tombstone campground, early in the morning of Day 1 (at a time to be determined later, depending on participants travel schedules and arrival times). (It might be possible to get a ride to and/or from Whitehorse but I would not be able to confirm this until closer to the date. )

Our plan is to base ourselves at Tombstone Campground, beside the Tombstone Interpretive Centre, on the North Klondike River, 75 kilometers up the Dempster Highway. We will do day hikes from there into the Park. Some we can access from the campground and others we will need to drive short distances south and north from camp. If the group desires we can travel further north one day into the northern Ogilvie Mountains, to access their more gently accessed limestone ridges. By base camping (vs. backpacking) we can travel light each day, packing only a lunch, some warm clothes, and a camera.   We have no fixed destination over the week, and can plan our days depending on weather, and group inclinations. We can, for example, alternate a long hiking day in the Tombstone mountains with an exploratory day along the Blackstone Uplands, looking for wildlife and strolling up valleys. We can build time  into the trip schedule for interpretive talks, quiet contemplation and creative expression (eg. photography, painting, writing).

The trip ends late afternoon of the last day  at Tombstone Campground or in Dawson (the exact time depends on participants’ travel arrangements).

What's Included

WHAT’S INCLUDED

  • Transportation from Dawson City return, if required (with possibility, but no guarantee until closer to departure date,  of a ride from or/and back to Whitehorse)
  • the services of one or two fully qualified guides (depending on group numbers)
  • all group equipment including tents, cooking gear, first aid supplies and satellite phone
  • all meals from lunch Day 1 to lunch on the final day

WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED

  • transportation to and from your home and Dawson City
  • personal belongings and equipment as per equipment list
  • any accommodation or meals in Whitehorse (or Dawson)

Region Map

Your Leader

Jill Pangman is very familiar with the country along the Dempster. She worked on the Dempster, based primarily at Tombstone, as a naturalist and biologist in 1984 and has traveled the road countless times since. She has hiked up innumerable peaks and valleys in the Ogilvies and Richardson Mountains, and has been guiding hikers and wildlife enthusiasts here since the mid ’80’s.   More information.