Around 80 per cent of the world’s maple syrup is produced here. There happen to be six different time zones in this country. It’s as much the land of Ice Hockey as is the abode of Winnie the Pooh. Believe it or not- the land of the maple leaf- is home to the world’s tiniest strand of a desert.
Canada’s Yukon territory- a small-sized westernmost territory is as such known for glaciers, mountains and for being sparsely populated. But Yukon houses the Carcross- world’s smallest-ever desert that actually measures up to be around 16.14 kilometres. That’s about it. You can walk it through. Cycling, however, may not be that easy, in a lighter vein.
Interestingly, back in 2016, according to a national census, there were 301 people who resided along this one of a kind Carcross desert. It could be said, north of North America lies among the world’s most less-known albeit charismatic geographical phenomenon.
It rains here at Carcross like it does in different parts of the globe. But, interestingly, it snows in here too. Can you dig that?
At being approximately 600 meters wide, the Carcross is often engulfed in a full blanket of snow with the sand being apparent in the melted crust. Imagine nature’s way of taking us by quite some surprise and few could unravel with such illustrious beauty as Canada’s Carcross desert.
But while a lot of talk about Yukon’s tiny marvel is entrusted to its dainty size, there’s more to the legendary Carcross than meets the eye.
It’s considered to be a rare habitat to both insects and plants, some of whom are rather nascent discoveries of nature. There are ungulates and insect species you may not have heard of. Whilst sitting beside your loved one in the dainty desert wildness as you begin to pose for a selfie with a sprawling sandy setting playing the perfect backdrop- the sound of crickets can amuse you endlessly.
The miniature kingdom of fine-grain sands is very picture-worthy. As interesting is the limited expanse of this desert trail, equally adorable is the rather abrupt signage that marks the road-side entrance to the Carcross.
The rather obscure-looking “Carcross desert” signage could be likened to an old town’s bar in the rocky mountains of Arizona that once served some highly savoury lager beer. It’s that rustic albeit captivating.
For travellers who’ve been moved by the dunes in the more sprawling deserts of the world, such as the ones in Djibouti, Jaisalmer, Oman or Morocco- there can only be a very handful of places that actually boast of a “desert” at 60° North.
Imagine the fascination and the alluring getaway at that altitude? Can it get any more deserter than Canada’s Carcross. Wood-carvers work alongside the desert wilderness of the Carcross, amid shrubs and, melting snow. They maintain, the place has been an enigma in all of Yukon, perched not so often by the intrepid traveller. Such places are not the featured image on a Lonely Planet but more of an emerald passed on from an ear to another by the passerby- whether on a mountainous hike or on an arid hiking trail.
But what’s emphatic about Canada’s best-kept “literal dessert for the hungry explorer” isn’t only the geographical anomaly at Carcross, rather what lies tucked into a corner, in the near vicinity. Adorning beautiful costumes, the nomadic tribes of Tlingit and Tagish can often be seen camping beside the serene, pristine clearwater lake Natasaheen river. Their purpose? To flex some muscle in sheer natural abandonment and hunt fish.
In case you are wondering just what does the Natasaheen mean then it’s- “water running through the narrows.” Amid Carcross lay a herd of quaint churches, a general store, cabins that are decked with axes and, remnants of what is believed to be articles belonging to miners of the yesteryear’s generation.
But tranquil atmospherics and being a hotbed to derive a poetic adventure aren’t the only buzzwords in the Carcross now. Sport-lovers are more frequently setting afoot the sands in kicking a ball in what’s truly a delectable pluck of nature. It’s the increasing rabble of snow-surfers, skiers, nature lovers and others who are exploring a rare specimen of Canadian majesty.
Just who wouldn’t want to be nestled in an alley that’s also a comforting abode to deer and dall goats in the summers? Have you included the Carcross on your Cross-Canadian itinerary yet?