in 15 thousand grueling steps
A Summer 2015 Yukon Prospector Web Extra.
1. Spend your childhood reading fantasy novels
2. Get a good pair of boots
3. Fill up at least 2 litres of water, maybe some snacks (lembas bread ftw)
4. Drive to Kathleen Lake
5. 15,000. Assume your throne
At the start of the trail thick foliage covers overhead. The forest is calm. Birds chirp and the breeze blows flowery fragrances into your nostrils. A gentle incline rolls by underfoot. Occasional switchbacks present themselves, wrapped around trees and lined with step-like roots. This is the gentle land of Lothlórien.
But keep your eyes peeled for wargs and orcs. Singing tales of past triumphs and defeat, loudly, often helps keep them at bay. Rambling like a lunatic to yourself works too.
You’ll occasionally catch glimpses of the lake on your right. A tablet by the trailhead says the old name translates to “something frozen beneath the lake”. Watch your back, and mind the temperature.
If you’re traveling with a well-versed guide – someone of local descent perhaps, a child of the forest if one should be so bold– you’ll have the luxury of learning about the many uses of the flora. Medicine and food are plentiful in the area, but take heed: the warden of the land will have your head if he catches a commoner cultivating.
Your journey stretches through the forest for some time before the treeline breaks, and a stony slope echoes of a once great kingdom. Take heart, fair traveller, for this is a most daunting task. Set with slippery peril. Doom awaits the floundering foot. Yet surmounting the stony slope is your last obstacle to glory.
The mountain here plays tricks on your eyes. The first plateau seems close at first, but the more you walk towards it the farther it gets. The flat grey colours of the mountain will mar your perception of depth. You plod on. And on. And on. Each new crest leaving you crestfallen. Until you see it. The back of your mighty chair, lined with snow. The next hill is the last.
As you approach the seat of your throne, all weariness leaves you. The brutal aching in your legs abates. Turn. Sit. Stare out over your vast, fleeting kingdom. This is the sweating-best you’ll ever feel with your clothes on. Laugh. HA HA HA.
The bold will turn and go up the back of the chair to the peak. Holding onto the feeling for a few hours longer. But for you, for me, a comfortable seat is good enough.
Hiking King's Throne in Kathleen Lake takes about 10 hours round trip. You can also just go up to the bowl like I did, which should take you about 4. It’s a tough climb. Bring hiking poles for the way down.
Photos and Story by