Do not burn yourself out…It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. So get out there and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, encounter the grizz, climb the mountains…I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those deskbound people with their hearts in a safe deposit box and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this: you will outlive the bastards.
Our First Spring Hike
- at the end of Annie Lake Road, southern Yukon
Our first spring hike was south of Whitehorse on a gloriously sunny and warm day. We foolishly forgot snowshoes and gaiters so we ended up having to post hole and hike through knee (and sometimes waist) high snow from the valley bottom up to the snow-free mountainsides.
The climb up the mountain was snow-free until we reached the first undulating ridge near the summit where four Dall sheep rams were travelling together and a male northern harrier flew above the mountain peaks.
while the difficult scramble up the mountainside was pleasantly warm, once we hit the snowy ridge top the wind was ferocious and it didn’t take long for fingers and earlobes to begin throbbing. We had to pile on the extra fleece and tug our toques down. Our tea and sandwich picnic had to wait until we were halfway down the mountain. But despite the cold, hiking with Dall sheep is a pretty wonderful experience.
In the morning, I shouldered my pack once more and started down to the valley. The whole atmosphere was anti-climatic. I was returning from the mountains and the solitude to the noisy, uninitiated tourists and eventually to the city and its sordid buildings and business places.
With rain forecasted every day, we abandoned the pipe dream of enjoying the Juan de Fuca and instead headed home, via the Port Hardy to Prince Rupert ferry. From there it was a very slow, three day crawl back to Whitehorse along an ice-covered Cassiar Highway.
Goldstream Provincial Park, BC - just outside Victoria
These photos are, of course, blurry because that’s what happens when you take photos in the lush coastal temperate forest without a tripod.
I spent a day hiking around Goldstream, a sort of waterfall tour in a spirit-dashing rain. The mist and fog swirling among the giant firs, however, added a wonderful, dramatic air to the forest.
Once the winter storms arrived they didn’t stop. Sleet, freezing rain, hail, snow. That quickly stomped out any further desire to camp and hike so we fled for Vancouver Island. Not entirely sure why. Wishful thinking perhaps.
Upon arriving in Canada, the storms continued to batter the coast and us. All our plans for hiking the Juan de Fuca again, visiting Galiano Island were forgotten as going back home to Whitehorse and a snug little cabin began looking more and more appealing, despite the Yukon still deep in winter.
The Oregon Coast was stunning in its ruggedness until the winter storms arrived one after another. We abandoned our hopes of hiking bits of the Oregon Coast trail and instead sought shelter in Oregon’s quaint coastal towns, perusing shops and drinking copious amounts of coffee and tea, out of the rain and cold. As a result of the storms we travelled through Oregon much quicker than we had hoped but perhaps that is a good thing, since we’re suppose to be heading back to the Yukon anyway and not dilly-dallying.
We pulled off on a side road on the outskirts of Crescent City seeking a quaint little coffee shop. We instead found a harbour taken over by California sea lions. Close to a hundred of them sleeping and posturing. We must have sat there for over an hour watching them sleep, one occasionally stirring and upsetting others nearby.