Alaska Highway

Adventure Awaits

Recently I visited Kluane National Park. After a few hours of driving and only a hike through the forest, I was in my element—a world of rock and grand vistas. My friend and I were on Sheep Mountain, a very popular trail, and I can see why it is popular. We came within 100 metres …

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Hunting in the Yukon – Part 1

An excerpt of Manfred Hoefs’ recently released book Yukon’s Hunting History. Yukon’s history, time scale & events are unique.

Hitching a Ride

Growing up, Kathy Jessup was always “the yakky little sister.” In Fort Nelson, where she was raised, she’s still known as “Kathy who likes to talk.” Her family still teases her about finding a way to turn her gift for gab into a career as a professional storyteller. When her current show starts in Canada …

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When the Land Has a Character

Bestselling Canadian author Lawrence Hill pursues a lifelong interest in African diaspora narratives. As a part of the research for a book he’s writing about the contribution of African American soldiers to the construction of the Alaska Highway, Hill is travelling the Highway from northern B.C. through the Yukon. His first Yukon stop was in …

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Chronicling the Vanishing Alaska Highway Lodge Community

I’m very jealous of what Whitehorse based Lily Gontard and Mark Kelly have managed to pull off with their delightful book, Beyond Mile Zero: The Vanishing Alaska Highway Lodge Community (published last month, Lost Moose, 240 pages, $24.95). They’ve taken an idea that I turned into a measly two or three columns in the Whitehorse …

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History Offers Timeless Perspectives

Stories are invaluable teachers, says B.C. author Caroline Woodward, they have the ability to “give us whole worlds.” Old stories, too, are relevant artefacts that help us gain perspective on how much, or how little, progress we have made. Fictional stories, the writer continues, are able to relate emotive experiences in a way that nonfiction …

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A Home Away From Home

Stepping into Johnson’s Crossing Lodge nestled off the Alaska Highway at historic Mile 836 feels more like walking into your mom’s living room than a highway lodge. Vintage tins and rusted relics line the shelves overtop a cozy room with tables and chairs. A table top is scattered with hundreds of puzzle pieces waiting to …

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A Big Yellow Truck with a Past

“It’s a 1942 International,” Sid tells me as we are standing by a truck whose yellow paint is slowly chipping away with age. The truck’s original grey colour has been exposed underneath the bright yellow. Its large body and tires tell us it was a truck built for working in rough terrain. “It’s a six …

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Banners! Banners!

“They were popular back in the 1960s,” Sid tells me as we stand in one of his many garages. Built attached to his house, his old garage holds tools, machines and different parts of Sid’s antique/vintage collection. Looking up towards the ceiling, vintage banners, t-shirts, and hats are attached to the wooden beams above us. “They’re …

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The CutOff Restaurant & Pub: Real food for real Yukoners

The CutOff Restaurant & Pub has really nice customers. On a Sunday night, looking at the crowd that has come in for the ever-changing weekly dinner special, you see a lot of long-time Yukoners. Real Yukoners who dress comfortably and laugh out loud. This is what you get when you open a new restaurant 20 …

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Two Exciting Yukon Lives

“I was ready to live here permanently the day I got here – the land just drew (me) in,” says Velma Hull. The day she is speaking of was 57 years ago, when she and her husband –  well-known local handyman and one-time bike shop owner Red Hull – came up the Alaska Highway. Velma …

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Reminders of Time Past

A few years ago, my brother found an ancient tool that had migrated upward through the soil in the middle of his wheat field in Southern Alberta. It was a sure sign of human life on the prairies long before Europeans came to “settle” the land. The tool, it turned out, was a unique find. …

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An old wooden mantelpiece helps tell the story of the Northwest Staging Route

The airport in Beaver Creek, Yukon is small and if you don’t know what you’re looking for, there’s a good chance you will miss it. Many who know Sid van der Meer may recall him owning and operating a small aircraft in the 1970s. “I used to own a J-3 Cub. It was a ’45 …

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A smoky pinnacle beckons in a hiker’s personal Shangri-La

Yes! This month, Jane Vincent is coming with me on an attempt to climb the pinnacle. It’s a pinnacle I now call Dragon Mountain. Recently, hiking there on my own, setting my own pace, very aware of my surroundings, I was in tune for miracles. The mountain was un-named; a mountain in a range of …

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Honouring the Bounty of Scotland

Up on the Alaska Highway, in the bright boîte called Tonimoes, attached to the SKKY Hotel, a quiet ritual takes place every Tuesday. Informally known as Scotch night, the weekly event “honour[s] the bounty of Scotland with the frugality of a Scot,” according to the Tonimoes website. In other words, you can get a really …

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Boiling Water

Waking up to a layer of snow on the ground, Sid van der Meer ventures out to his museum. He is getting ready for winter when he will be in sunny Arizona and his museum will be covered in snow. As he walks along the museum’s boardwalk he comes across a unique object. It’s large, …

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Fuelling Up

The beginning of September brings snow to Beaver Creek, home of Sid van der Meer’s Bordertown Garage & Museum. On a chilly September morning, van der Meer takes time to remember the past and retell the stories about the building of the Alaska Highway. He wanders through his museum to a room dedicated to the …

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Painter in the Ditch

I’m painting the road. When I tell people that, they figure I’m painting the yellow line some different colour. What I’m actually doing is stopping every 50 kilometres on the drive from Edmonton to Whitehorse and painting a picture of the road and the landscape it’s travelling through. I paint it where it curves right …

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Artrepreneur: On the Road with Cass Collins

Cass Collins’ new show at the Chocolate Claim draws from a common Yukon experience: the drive up or down the Alaska Highway, between here and Outside. The show includes images of bison, bighorn sheep and a club sandwich with fries. It’s good to see diner meals juxtaposed with the wildlife. They add a human element …

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We Got Us a Convoy

They rolled out of Dawson Creek, B.C. on August 4: 77 historic military vehicles, plus 36 civilian support vehicles, with drivers from the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, even the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their mission: a 6,600-km northern odyssey to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Alaska Highway. Their average speed of 56 …

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