Thursday, August 19, 2010

Where did the summer go?

Originally uploaded by Wanderfull1
Gads. It feels like I've spent most of my summer driving on highways. Oh. I did. At least 18 days worth. Two friends and I recently completed a road trip to Dawson City, Yukon, Skagway, Alaska, and to points in between. More than once, usually while I was driving, I was wishing someone would invent a blink-cam. A camera connected to a person's eyes that would shoot a picture when the user blinked a certain way. There were so many missed shots.

This was my second trip in 10 years to the Yukon. Last time we only went as far north as Haines Junction. We did the touristy stuff (grin and bear it) like Diamond Tooth Gerties, gift shops, and museums. Okay, I did go a little nuts buying stuff, but they weren't the best part of the trip. Attending the biannual Moosehide Gathering, having a gold prospector give us an impromptu tour of his claim, sleeping in beautiful wilderness, visiting an ancient graveyard, and eating my friend's brother and sister-in-law's cooking (moose steaks or burgers and baked salmon with tons of veggies!) will be the trip highlights for me. Oh, and the ravens!

The ravens are everywhere in the north. They're huge and they're gorgeous. In Dawson, one raven would wake me up with a soft gurgling sound. I could've blown a whole memory card on just raven photos. The fuel to my Dawson shopping spree was to find something depicting a raven. The best I could find was a tile painting by a local artist, but I wasn't crazy about the ruby red bra the bird wore. One shopkeeper told me that most Yukoners don't like the raven (the symbolic bird of the territory), because they're scavengers. She told me how last winter she found a raven zapped dead by a power-line. After getting the required papers, she had the bird stuffed for a friend. The taxidermist told her that her bird was over 80 years old and that it wasn't unusual for them to reach 120 years. No wonder the natives consider them wise.

I'll remember the interesting people I met along the way. Like James, the handsome Grand Prairie farmer we met at the Buckinghorse campsite. James was on his way home from reaching the North Pole. He told us of his harassing the locals for muktuk and of the Japanese tourist he found waiting for an hour for someone to take his North Pole photo. James also taught us that free coffee isn't necessarily good coffee (sorry James). Then there was the Whitehorse dobro-playing busker who tried to teach me his 2 dimension space travel theory. Thanks to the Whitehorse skateboarders who didn't mind my shooting photos of them for almost an hour . Thanks also to the fellow from Inuvik who shared his shade and conversation by the Free Mason hall in Dawson.

Our itinerary was changed a couple of times. When the Top of the World Highway washed out we had to use the Klondike Highway to get to Dawson. Then, over three hundred forest fires in British Columbia kept opening and closing the Cassiar Highway, our initial route of choice to get home. We stopped at Junction 37 to eat lunch at Sally's (highly recommended) and to make a final decision about using the Cassiar. By the time we finished lunch the Cassiar line up had increased with the bumper of the last vehicle reaching the Alaska Highway. We went home the same way we came.

Looking back, there's really was not enough time to spend doing what I loved the most -- basking in the Lliard Hotsprings. Still, I'm glad I went and I'm sure the gorgeous wilderness will beckon me again.


Flickr photos - Road Trips - Yukon