What is the prettiest spot on earth?
That's a hard one. I've been on a boat out in the middle of the reefs surrounding Bermuda, and that's awfully awesome. I've stood on a pullout on the Richardson Highway just north of Valdez and stared, awestruck, at that area's "Bridal Veil Falls." Speaking of Valdez, I've been there when the cloud cover lifted and the sun hit the rocky crags that surround the town. Outside of Alaska, I've witnessed plenty of incredible beauty in California, in Montana, in Tennessee, and several other elsewheres that definitely deserve a shot at that title. It's a tough call, absolutely.
So, narrowing it down a skosh: what is the prettiest spot on the Alaska Highway?
That's easy, for me. It's Kluane Lake. Don't get me wrong: Liard Hot Springs is an awesome place to visit. Muncho Lake is spectacular; I stayed in that campground once and was mesmerized as the sun lit up the hills on the opposite side. As beautiful as both of those are, though, Kluane Lake has 'em beat.
Unless there's a forest fire going on, anyway.
My fourth trip, back in 1999, we were headed south, and as we muddled along closer and closer to Kluane Lake the sky grew ever darker and the aroma of burning forest filled the truck. We were told at the stop just before there to be cautious; a major conflagration was ahead of us, just off the road, and the firefighters were all over the place. Of course, they had the right of way.
That's an example, by the way, of what can happen on the Al-Can. Every trip is unique, every journey has different stops and challenges along the way.
Destruction Bay sits at milepost 1083, roughly 130 miles from the border between Alaska and Canada. The distance doesn't sound like much, just a couple of hours at normal freeway speeds. Taking it as slow as we were with a truck that liked to bounce off of the trailer with every orange flag opportunity, it took us the better part of a day to get there. There are a few buildings in town, but the great big yellow building with gas pumps out front is where we've always stopped. They've got a reasonably large shopping area with snack food and stuff, so it's worth wandering around inside too. But....
But that lake....
Kluane Lake is spectacular.