From The Back Country

From The Back Country Columnist Jozien Keijzer is a visual artist, writer and avid hiker who lives in the Mendenhall Subdivision.

Saskatchewan in October

Once upon a time, “back in the days” (last year, in October) when the Greyhound bus still existed, a garter snake slithered out of the way, a pronghorn bounced over a fence, and I happened to step into cactus. This is the beginning of a most auspicious tale … In the days of the Greyhound, …

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Hiking the Same Ol’ Trail

I never understood how people love to go camping at the same spot year after year, or walk the same trail over and over, canoe the same river, or go to the same mall. I realize now that we all have different goals. I myself have a strong desire to explore. And finally, I am …

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The Lake Below

Another strange phenomena occurred that happens to me in the mountains. We looked up the side hill for Nancy, but we couldn’t see her at all. We wondered where she had gone, It turned out that she indeed was climbing in plain view, and sure enough she could easily see us on the lake. We …

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Waterbugs in Winter

I use the word ‘bug’ here, to describe little creatures with … legs. Insects, but more than that. Not everything I call ‘bug’ living underneath the ice are insects, some turn out to be crustaceans. In the beginning of October, before it started snowing, there was a brief period when the thermometer dropped below zero …

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On memory, and bears

This is a story from many years ago, about the day I was followed by four bears – a close-call bear encounter kind of story. I was on a solstice hike up Kelvin Mountain with Allison Morham and Jane Vincent. Jane and I see each other regularly, but I only run into Allison every few …

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Berry Picking

For me, the summer of 2016 has been the best berry year ever. My berry season starts with wild strawberries and they were bigger than ever this year. Wild raspberries are almost always abundant. Our famous Yukon cranberries are looking extremely promising this year. The wild season ends with rosehips. I like to compare Mother …

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Mushrooms in the Yukon

Mushroom season starts in spring. On a hike at the end of May, I came upon some black morels. In the Yukon, morels usually only grow where there has been a recent fire, although I’ve found them growing other places. With the warm weather and rain this year, I have been picking mushrooms in earnest …

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Wildflowers on the Mountaintop

Breaking out of sheer rock, on the barren ground, or beside a mountain stream, hundreds of different kinds of wildflowers grow in the Yukon mountains. Some bloom as early as the snow melts in April, some continue blooming well into September. The seven alpine flowers described below all grow on mountaintops close to Whitehorse.

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