Browsing "Yukon"
Aug 25, 2010 -

A Quiet Autumnish Afternoon

Fall crept up on the Klondike while I was in Inuvik. We’ve had beautiful, hot, afternoons, but the nights are cold and the mornings cool. It feels like mid-October in western Quebec.

I started work early this morning, so it was a real pleasure to be done for the day at 2. I went to town for lunch, then came back and tackled some housework. Just when I needed a break, there was a knock at my door. It was a friend/colleague heading out for a walk with her dog. She’d been wanting to show me her ‘secret spot’ for two summers now, but the timing was never right until today. I was glad to have an excuse to go out.

She took me down a road I’d always assumed was a private driveway and down a path that led to a solidly constructed bridge. I’m trying to figure out who spent the money for such a nice bridge there! It spans Bonanza Creek shortly before the creek spills over into the Klondike River.

When I came back, I collected my next handful of ripe tomatoes. I’m probably going to lose what’s left because we’re starting to get frost at night and there’s no place in the rig where I can bring them in and have them safe from the cats. I’m just glad that I’ve been able to enjoy the dozen or so that ripened on time. This bunch wasn’t quite as flavourful, so I decided to cook them:

I didn’t have enough to make a pot of sauce, so I mixed them with a can of condensed tomato soup and water, then added basil, garlic, salt, pepper, and vegetarian ground. The vegetarian ground makes the sauce into almost a stew that is especially nice over spaghetti (I like the multigrain variety).

Speaking of vegetarian ground:

I love this ‘substitute for ground beef’ that has so much flavour and texture. I put it in spaghetti sauce, stews, tacos… But the price has crept up over the years. I remember buying it for $2.99 a package, regular price. Now, regular price is anywhere from $4.99 to $5.99 a package down south. In Dawson, it’s $8.99 a package, which makes it a frivolous luxury. I do eat chicken now, but was a vegetarian for so long that I still have cravings for favourite foods and meals from that time in my life. In Dawson, I can eat all my favourite bean dishes, but anything like ‘mock meat’ or tofu is off limits because beans and chicken are so much cheaper. One of the first things I plan to make when I get to Whitehorse next month is a big pan of scrambled tofu!!!

Back to the vegetarian ground, I was treasure hunting at the General Store yesterday and found seven briefly outdated packages on sale for $1.99 each. I bought them all! They’ll keep up to three months in the freezer, but I doubt they’ll last that long!

Somehow, the day as crept up to 10PM already. It’s quite dark out and will be fully dark by the end of the hour. I’m going to go do the supper dishes (yes, I eat late!) and then rummage around for dessert. Yoghurt sounds good. 🙂

Hard to believe we’re already at the end of August. Departure from Dawson is schedule for the 14th of September. I’m reeling with shock at how quickly this summer passed and how little I feel I got accomplished!

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Canada, Cats, Cooking, Finances, Gardening, Homemaking, Nice Folks, Personal, Shopping, Social, Travel, Weather, Yukon    8 Comments
Aug 22, 2010 -

Driving the Dempster: Epilogue

There is something bittersweet about fulfilling a lifelong dream. There is the elation at having done it, but also a certain emptiness as you wait for another dream to take its place. There are a lot of things I’d like to do in the next ten years or so—tour Egypt, climb Mount Kilimanjaro, paddle down the Amazon, hike the Great Wall of China, visit friends in Australia—but nothing pressing. I may just be ready to settle for a little less excitement for a while, long enough to build a solid foundation to my traveling life.

My trip to the Arctic and NWT was only a superficial experience, I know that. I didn’t get to have any great wilderness adventures or actually try living in a remote community, but what I did was enough. I saw what I wanted to see and got the answers I came for. I had given up on this dream, watching it fade away as opportunities marched away from me, so standing there, knee deep in the Beaufort Sea was profoundly satisfying. It reaffirmed to me what I learned last year on the Chilkoot, that all you need to fulfill a dream is the courage and conviction to see it through.

My second year of full-timing, that of my Arctic adventure, is ending most satisfactorily and I am curious to see what year three will bring…

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Canada, Musings, Northwest Territories, Personal, Travel, Yukon    4 Comments
Aug 22, 2010 -

Driving the Dempster: The Road Back Home Again

Being so sore from climbing out of the ice house, I was glad to have a comfy bed Thursday night! I slept well and late, figuring that I was in no rush since I was only heading to Eagle Plains and didn’t want to get there too early. But soon as I stepped out onto the deck with my coffee Friday morning to see a heavy, dark cloud cover I realised that I might have to change my plans.

I headed back into town to the visitors’ centre to get a road report. I found out that it had rained heavily at Eagle Plains a few days prior, but had since been dry, and that it would be raining from Friday night onward for at least three or four days. There was only one thing to do: squeeze through this window of good weather and decent road conditions and head straight home!!! I knew that a best case scenario would get me home in 12 hours. I bought some snacks and hit the road at 11AM. I’d bought gas the morning before, at 1.49!!!

My attitude on Friday was that I was going to get where I was going to get in the amount of time it was going to take and I wasn’t going to rush, stress out, or otherwise set myself up for an accident. Yes, I would be tired, but it was better to be fatigued in good circumstances than it would be to have a poor night at Eagle Plains and then be tired in bad circumstances.

To my surprise, the time passed quickly even if the kilometres didn’t and I took the time to make a few stops, stretch my legs, and talk to people. Every single person I spoke to was worried about my car making it through a stretch past Eagle Plains, but was also in agreement with me that my making a run to Dawson was a good idea.

At Eagle Plains, I took the time to get fuel, have a coffee, and be warned, yet again, about a bad stretch of road upcoming. I was getting pretty stressed out by this point, but had definitely reached the point of no return.

It didn’t take long for the gravel to turn to a muddy track. I slowed to a crawl and tried as best as I could to stay in the ruts laid by other vehicles. When I couldn’t, the car just slid around and I used my winter driving skills to stay in control. It wasn’t an awful experience, though, not like that one stretch of construction on the way in that had me driving over rocks just a bit taller than my car’s ground clearance (thunk, scraaaaaaaape, THUNK!). When I was pretty sure that stretch was done, I pulled over for a snack and then pushed on. Buying those new tires in Whitehorse really paid off on this drive!

Until this point, I’d literally been outracing storm clouds to the point that if I stopped for a second, I’d start to get rain splatters. Finally, the sky cleared and the sun came out in full force. The final stretch home, in familiar territory starting at Two Moose Lake, was easy. I emerged triumphant at the Dempster corner, tired, but not excessively so, and thrilled to have made such a difficult drive without incident. I pulled into home at 10PM, bang on 12 hours from my departure in Inuvik (remember the time zone change!).

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Canada, Northwest Territories, Travel, Yukon    4 Comments