Friday, August 7, 2009

My, it has been a long time. where have we been? what have we done? What haven't we done and where haven't we been would be more appropriate! Well, currently we're jotting this down from just outside of Inuvik, N.W.T., due south, on our way out of the Arctic Circle. Our summer in Dawson City has nearly wrapped up but we just didn't feel right leaving the north while there was still open road above us so we grabbed some friends, bought LeVan some new 'shoes' and took to the notorious, mud slick, pothole riddled nemesis of all that is automotive. Yes, five of us plus two huskies and trusty LeVan would face the 736 kilometer length of the Dempster Highway into the North West Territories to pay a quick visit to Inuvik, the northern most road access point in Canada. But before we divulge all the dirty details let's catch you up on a few other highlights.

Independence Day, July 4th 2009

Where better to celebrate the independence of our neighbours to the south, or, to the west in this case? Chicken, Alaska of course! Apparently sometime soon after the turn of the century the town was formed and was to be named Ptarmigan, but get this, no body in the town could agree on how to spell the name of the bird and so they settled on Chicken! That still makes me chuckle! the 4th of July is easily the biggest event of the year in Chicken when folks from 'all around' gather to drink, blow things up, listen to local bands play 'sweet home alabama' and jimi's 'star spangled banner' repeatedly before the event of the night: the launching of bras and panties from the Chicken Independence Day Canon... yes, canon! A typical event like this might quintuple the local population to a booming 75 people (give or take a few)!! The giftshop, liquor store, bar and diner (all one building... the only building) were bustling with activity, you could barely find a spot in the parking lot!!
'Beautiful downtown Chicken'

'Hooray for Independence!'

Day to Day in Dawson City


'all she needed was a little rest'

'Annual Dawson City Motorcycle Skills Competition'

'Draggity-A$$ Thursday @ The Midnight Sun'

'a few goodbyes... bonne chance!'

Grizzly Lake, Tombstone Territorial Park

We quit our jobs and set out to enjoy a few local adventures before our nearing departure back to the south and back to the east. We'd been to Tombstone but we kept hearing stories of more. so off we went in search of Grizzly Lake. constantly hiking over loose rock can be fairly cumbersome at times but we tried our best to look up every once and a while and remind ourselves that we were traversing the spine of a small range of mountains on our way to one of the Yukon's most beautiful locations. Before long we were pushing our way through the brush towards Grizzly Creek and Grizzly Lake. We reached the clearing and in an instant we were struck with awe, our breath and our words were snatched away. This time of year in the Yukon the sun sets for hours and we spent those hours sitting by the creek and sitting by the lake soaking everything in. As we sat there we knew we'd never be able to find the words. Oh ya, Lauren killed her first fish....killed, gutted, scaled, skillet....what a girl!
"i'm sorry, i'm sorry, i'm sorry... AAAHHHH!"

'hike prep'
'holy hike!''so beautiful i just wanna take all my clothes off!'
'Grizzly Creek''Grizzly Lake... sigh...'

The Dempster Highway to Inuvik

'here goes nothing'
'just a touch of mud'
'so... here we are at the arctic circle, learning''just a pinch of fog'
'dun-dun-DUN... polar bears'
'this one's for Warren on his Birthday'
"this is why i come up here... NATURE!!"
'nice school buses Inuvik... not!'
'just enough time to cast a line, slam a beer, Mr. Noodles and head back'

So, sorry about the long pause between entries...just 'busy' i guess. Anyways we're on our way home, actually our exact location is once again the Super 8 Motel parking lot, Fort Nelson. Free Wireless! A-MEN!

Hold your breath for further updates. Who knows when we'll be in your neighbourhood....


Saturday, June 27, 2009

There are strange things done in the midnight sun...

Summer Solstice. A night never to be forgotten once having experienced the true meaning of the 'longest day of the year'. Hundreds of people flock to the top of the local mountain, known to all as the 'Dome', as it soars above Dawson and it's gentle descent seems to wrap itself perfectly around the quiet town below. The view from the top is a 360 degree window to the world, snow-capped mountains in the distance partnered by never-ending green wilderness from the immediate foreground to as far as the eye can see, the sole visible interruption would be the mighty Yukon River dividing the for-mentioned between East and West.

I feel as though we were always warned never to stare at the sun, however it becomes difficult to look away when the sun is painting magnificent hues of pinks purples and blues across the midnight sky while hovering above the far-off mountains only to dip behind said mountains and turn around and come back up again.
12:47 am; check it.
12:53 am; dazed and amazed.

Now i'll clarify as we too were told that 15 minutes was all it took. I'm not sure how you judge what is sunset and sunrise but it did take a few hours before we could physically see the shape of the sun, in all its glory, come back up again. The beautiful sky on the other hand was consistantly changing and I suppose, though we couldn't see it, the sun was the master behind all the beauty.
1:03 am; max makes music.

Now I know we've all seen a sunset and or sunrise before, but it was the sheer glee that every single person sitting atop the mountain shared. Never in my life have I experienced such positive energy circulating through such a large crowd. Smiles were abundant, hugs were being dished out like day-old bread, and kind words we're spread in what seemed like an old fashioned game of 'pass-it-on'.
12:50 am; happy.

12:51 am; happier!

The tales of the eve are plentiful, and as we load images in attempt to match what's written it is obvious that these photos speak much louder than words. So instead of rambling on about how 'cool' summer solstice in the north has been we'll let you use your imagination while skimming through the rest of these pictures. Book your flights now for next year!
12:50 am; people pod
1:12 am; life is beautiful!
1:31 am; a little bernie on the banjo
2:47am; Hey Don!
2:54 am; claire!
2:56 am; too many wine bottles on Levan, a little spillage.
3:28 am; hangin'.
3:30am; 'Here Comes the Sun'
3:32 am; Stephen
4:25 am; friends.
4:41 am; still smiling.
5:06am; loving.

6:06 am; homeward bound.

Miss you all! Thanks for following our adventure. Without you, what in the heck would we be doing with all of our free time?
Next stop: Chicken, Alaska.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Arctic Waters. No problem.

In an extraordinary moment of spontaneity we pulled together a few friends and under the midnight sun drove ourselves a few hours north to the magical land of Tombstone Territorial Park; coincidentally surrounding ourselves by the 'Ogilvie' Mountain range.
We drove through some extremely mystical fog, having not the faintest of idea of what lay beyond. Dodging pot hole after pot hole down the infamous Dempster Highway, the only highway leading to the northern most parts of the Yukon. Oh ya, did I mention the highway is barely 2 lanes and made out of dirt.

The mosquitos were REALLY bad.

Don's reaction to my 'bug jacket'.

Now for the good stuff, come morning (?) we pull ourselves together and scan the horizon for the perfect mountain to tackle, we ponder as there are dozens to choose from. However the one straight south of our campsite and across the Klondike River seemed most appealing to all.

Off we go! Trail? Who said anything about following a trail?

Neil and Dana; Moments of Deliberation.

Scaling the river bank, searching for the perfect place to cross, with sub-zero temperatures and an extreme current we had to choose our course... wisely?! So, as wise as we are, off come the shoes and onwards. You know those ice coolers at the LCBO? Have you ever held your hand in there for Well times that by 5zillion and you'll understand the temperatures our little toes were facing.

'Here goes nothing. Is that snow?? SNOW??? What day is it again? June___?'

Now, for the longest portion of the river...

Jan and Lauren. Bare feet n' all!

After losing all feeling in our feet we made it to the base of 'our mountain'. Now for the terrain, imagine climbing straight up hill on a trampoline, or even better, a water bed.

"Who had the Peanut Butter, Jam, Cheese, Hot Sauce and Nutella?" Yummy! Condiment Sandwiches. I know you're all salvating right now!

Beautiful Scenery

'Ok we're just about high enough'. See Don???

From left: Lilly and Buks.
Showing off their incredible mountain climbing skills, running circles around us.

Don and the Mountains

Dr. Seuss?

And, for the last lag of the journey home look what incredible wonder decided to show it's face.
Guess what time it is? Free love to the person with the closest guess!

Now remember how we crossed the river...well believe it or not we had to cross back. However now we felt invincible to the elements for having conquered not only the river but the mountain too, we figured we'd head straight for the campsite, and not back towards the lengthy yet shallow part of the river. Now we don't have this portion of the hike documented as we found ourselves at the edge of the narrows with campsites in clear site on the opposite side. The only problem was the glacial water rushing past us in between. What to do? No problem, linking arms, we shuffled ourselves through waist deep arctic waters all the while Buks sat calmly cradled in Don's arms. What a site we must've been stumbling up onto the campsites of those RV-ing types.
Home sweet home. Weiners and beans for all!

Stay Tuned!
ps. we have a flat tire.