Tagged with " Teslin"
May 31, 2009 -

A Pet Peeve

The RV park is practically empty right now and everyone has spread out. Along comes Joe Blow in his pickup and camper and what does he do? Park right next to me. Never mind that he could have parked two spaces away on either side, he had to park about a foot and a half from my rig, blocking my sun. I’ve been working on the generator on and off all day and now he’s so close to me that I don’t even have room anymore to work on the driver’s side of the rig! Moreover, he backed into a pull-thru (!), so why couldn’t he have backed into into one of the small water-front sites instead of taking up a site meant for a larger rig? *growls*

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Campgrounds, Canada, Electricity, Generator, Maintenance & Repair, Nice Folks, Social, Technical, Travel, Yukon    5 Comments
May 31, 2009 -


Teslin means ‘Long Narrow Water’ in the Tlingit language. It is a tiny village that contrasts sharply with Watson Lake, hinting at prosperity and pride. Homes are generally neat, constructed of natural logs or of clapboard painted brown. The natural setting defies description, with snowy rocky mountains, pine covered hills, and ice-covered lakes everywhere you look. Teslin boasts a couple of museums, a heritage centre, a post office, a community rec centre, an RCMP detachment, a clinic, and a general store that sells all manner of groceries at very reasonable prices.

The only museum open today was the wildlife gallery here at the Yukon Motel. Entrance is free, with donations being welcome. I was impressed by the quality of the exhibits, showing mounted animals indigenous to the Yukon. All animals died of natural circumstances, of course, including one beaver who drowned when it fell through some thin ice while trying to cross Lake Laberge one spring.

grizzly bear

grizzly bear

moose and wolves

moose and wolves

in front of the moose and wolf display; what a poetic way to express the natural balance of the universe

in front of the moose and wolf display; what a poetic way to express the natural balance of the universe

I then set off on my bike to explore Teslin’s streets. I found several placards explaining the history of this place. In Dawson Creek, you get the American version of the Alaska Highway building story. In Watson Lake, you get the Canadian side. And in Teslin, you get the final piece of the puzzle, the First Nations’ story.

Until the building of the Alaska Highway, the Tlingit, and other First Nations in the Yukon, still lived with the rhythm of the land. Teslin was a meeting place for trade, but not a permanent settlement. When the Alcan roared through, the nearby community of Johnston Town eventually emptied as residents sought the amenities that came with the great by-way–schools, jobs, health services. The soldiers who blazed the trail of ’42 also brought with them diseases against which the Tlingit had no immunity. A way of life was slowly wiped out as the local economy moved passed fur trading, trapping, and hunting. It would be naΓ―ve to say that the building of the Alaska Highway was entirely a good thing. Some First Nations paid for this thoroughfare with their very heritage.

It is also important to note that unlike the impression given in the American and Canadian stories, the soldiers who built the first tote road through the wilderness did not do so on their own. Rather, they employed native guides for whom this wild land was home.

all street signs are wooden and painted

all street signs are wooden and painted


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May 30, 2009 -

Nugget City to Teslin

Leaving Nugget City involved my having the stuffing hugged out of me. πŸ™‚ I pulled out sometime between noon and one.

The first part of my trek to Whitehorse is along the Alaska Highway, the last section that meanders in and out of British Columbia. I had hoped to make it to my non AH detour today, but I seriously over-estimated my energy reserves!

The problem with the drive today was the wind. It buffeted the rig from all sides, making it difficult to stay in my lane. I’d done barely 2okm and already my hands were sore from clenching the wheel!

I drove about 50 klicks and had lunch at a non-descript rest area. Next stop was 50km later at Rancheria Falls Recreation Area. There, I took an easy 2/3 of a mile hike (round trip) to see the falls:

one of the two Rancheria Falls

one of the two Rancheria Falls

Next stop was Swan Lake, British Columbia (cue the music):

Swan Lake, BC

Swan Lake, BC

At Swan Lake, I took a picture of the impressive Simpson Peak that must have served as inspiration to the ancient Egyptians!

Simpson Peak

Simpson Peak

By this point, I was done. The landscape, while stunning, is the same endless expanse of black and white spruce, poplar, and snow-capped mountains. I found my focus drifting too often. It was time to stop for the night! I decided as I approached Teslin to stop at the first place that offered an easy in and out.

entering Teslin

entering Teslin

I had hoped to start to spend less on my nights, settling for 15A, for example, but this didn’t happen for tonight. I pulled into the Yukon Motel and RV Park and found a nice campground with big pull thrus and a great view for 27$ per night for 30A, water, and internet. I decided to stay for two nights, with a stern promise to myself to never again wait until I’m completely exhausted to look for a place to stop!

Teslin Lake
Teslin Lake

Tomorrow’s agenda is to sleep in and then explore Teslin by bicycle. I might even do some laundry. πŸ™‚

When planning this trip last year, I had hoped to stop at ‘Mukluk Annie’s’ here in Teslin, renown for serving some of the best salmon in the west, but Annie chose to retire this year. πŸ™ So, I decided a few days ago to just drive through Teslin and spend a few days at a territorial park on the detour, but it would have been foolish to keep going tonight. Perhaps I was just meant to stop here.

Unfortunately, the genset is truly dead, so there is no extended boondocking in my future until I can get it fixed. πŸ™ Otherwise, all systems are good and my house battery is once again charging properly when I’m driving, so I’m making progress!

As a final note, I can’t properly convey the sheer beauty of this isolated land, so I will quote a poem that has been a favourite for at least twenty years.

The Lonely Land

by: A.J.M. Smith

Cedar and jagged fir

uplift sharp barbs

against the gray

and cloud-piled sky;

and in the bay

blown spume and windrift

and thin, bitter spray


at the whirling sky;

and the pine trees

lean one way.

A wild duck calls

to her mate,

and ragged

and passionate tones

stagger and fall,

and recover,

and stagger and fall,

on these stones –

are lost

in the lapping of water

on smooth, flat stones.

This is a beauty

of dissonance,

this resonance

of stony strand,

this smoky cry

curled over a black pine

like a broken

and wind-battered branch

when the wind

bends the tops of the pine

like a broken

and wind-battered branch

when the wind

bends the tops of the pines

and curdles the sky

from the north.

This is the beauty

of strength

broken by strength

and still strong

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