9 forum posts
I'm an exchange student currently in Canada for a year and am planning to travel along the west coast before I return home. I am particularly interested in doing a ferry tour from Vancouver to Skagway, Alaska, then continue to Yukon and do the hike to Observation Mountain in Kluane National Park. Since I don't know many people in Canada, particularly not on the west coast, I am thinking about travelling on my own and doing solo hikes.
My question is whether a solo hike in Kluane is considered rather risky, because of black bears and grizzly bears, and is more something for very experienced hikers.
From what I read, the Observation Mt. hike is one of the most popular in Kluane, but by Yukon standards, so I will probably not see anyone. The trail is 64km long (with return) and I have read a report from people doing it in three days, so I intend to do it in max. 4 days (3 nights in the backcountry).
I consider myself slightly experienced, as I did three moderately easy backcountry tours so far. However, I haven't done a solo hike so far. Before I'm in Yukon, I plan to solo hike the Skyline Trail in Jasper, the West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island as well as the Chilkoot Trail from Skagway to Canada. So when I'm in Kluane I'll be a bit more experienced and know my gear and routine very well.
From the perspective of "knowing how to camp", I think I am prepared for a solo hike in Kluane, but I am having difficulties assessing the bear issue. I don't have any experience with bears, never seen one in the wild. I have only spent some time reading on strategies to avoid and handle encounters. I know that Kluane is bear country, but is it a hot spot for bear encounters and rather the extreme bear country? What are the chances of seeing a bear? Is it uncommon not to see a bear?
I would be very thankful for some advice on how dangerous this trip actually is, especially as a solo hike.