Geography

Snow!

Thanks to snow-nerd scientists. Their lives revolve around snow and they couldn’t wait to “nerd-out” on the subject:

Autumn sunlight and shadows

We’re past the halfway mark in October as I write this. The sun rose today at 9:16 and will set at 18:49 (6:49 for most of us civilians), so we’re down to less than half a day of actual sunlight. That’s in spite of the fact we can count on extended, refracted light on either …

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A bird’s-eye view

Whether it’s for the annual bike race or a fishing holiday, Yukoners love Haines. The small southeast-Alaska port is a special destination for many. Come fall, the arrival of thousands of American Bald Eagles, in the nearby Chilkat River Valley, offers another reason to visit. From October to January, between two- and four-thousand bald eagles …

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It’s ‘snowing’ at Sima!

Every October, Mount Sima starts snow production and welcomes hundreds of athletes from all over Canada for pre-season training in November. Whitehorse, Yukon, is the perfect location and climate to have early snow production to build the national-level freestyle park terrain and have runs open for athletes to practice ahead of the winter competition season. …

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Yukon See It Here: Larry White

Hello Everybody, We invite you to share your photos of Yukon life. Email your high-resolution images with a description of what’s going on to [email protected] I captured some photos of these eerie, Mordor-looking clouds sweeping down Grey Mountain, one morning, this October.

Superbirds (a.k.a. ornithology, a.k.a. birdlore)

This quiet, reserved and thoughtful corner of the year-round Yukon has gone to the birds this week, namely Arctic terns, the all-time migratory champions, not only of the bird kingdom but also the entire non-human animal world, including bugs and butterflies. You won’t believe what you are about to read but, first, you have to …

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Google the Top of the World

Located on the northeastern corner of Ellesmere Island in Nunavut, Quttinirpaaq National Park is Canada’s northernmost national park. Until recently it was virtually inaccessible to your average earthling. Quttinirpaaq just became a bit more reachable with the completion of a partnership project between Parks Canada and Google Street View, which aims to increase access to …

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A whole lotta quakin’ goin’ on

On Monday May 1, 2017, at around 5:30 a.m., a magnitude 6.2 earthquake landed near the B.C.-Yukon border, followed by another slightly stronger one at around 7:30 a.m. The rare event got a lot more people talking about seismic activity in the region, and a few murmured their fears of an eventual “big one.”

The Tintina Trench

There was a not-so-urban myth out there that you could see the Tintina Trench from the moon. That is not true, unless the person on the moon had a good telescope.

The awe of quartzite beneath you

Rock, not the genre of music, that guy on the radio or your friend from Newfoundland referring to “The Rock” as home, but rocks and the minerals they are made of, are integral to our existence. We interact with them in many ways every day. Ralph Waldo Emerson, the American philosopher and writer, wrote in …

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‘Canadian Ice Man’ tells his story

Editor’s Note: This is part two of two highlighting Kwädąy Dän Ts’ìnchį: Teachings from Long Ago Person Found. It was introduced during the Haines Junction Mountain Festival, which took place December 8 to 10. Part 1 is available in the December 6 edition of What’s Up Yukon. Diane Strand, director of community wellness at the …

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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.

At Home at Sea

“Ship’s logs, myths, stories of quiet exaltation and wrenching lamentations can all become poetry when the experience resonates deeply with the rhythm of the human heart…”— Anita Hadley in the introduction to Spindrift: A Canadian Book of the Sea. The sea, in Anita Hadley’s view, may not be a tangible part of your everyday, but …

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On Market Day, Everything Old is New Again

The way some people talk, you’d think farmers’ markets were a recent invention by eco-conscious millennials spurred to action by reading a book about the 100-mile diet. Nothing could be further from the truth. People have been hauling their goods to communal selling and trading places ever since humankind began the transition from hunting and …

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Thunder and Lightning

Thunder and lightning do not seem to be as common here in the Yukon as in southern Canada. However, lightning strikes are probably the most common cause of our forest fires. Lightning is a gigantic spark jumping between a charged cloud and the earth, but what actually causes lightning is still an item of debate. …

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Wild Times

“They’re [cranes] a much more delicate bird, compared to the swans,” says Carrie McClelland, a wildlife viewing biologist with Environment Yukon. “They stand three and a half to four feet tall, with a six foot wingspan, but they only weigh around seven or eight pounds. They’re very slender.” Lesser sandhill cranes migrate each year from …

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Life After Tragedy

When asked about the message she hopes to convey in the film, Ohama responded, “It’s a moving and inspiring story of how people find real joy, love and meaning in life again… even in the face of extreme loss. In our busy, cluttered world filled with stress… we tend to forget how to see and …

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Predator and Prey 14,000 Years Ago

Zhoh, the Clan of the Wolf: Fiction of the first humans to inhabit The Yukon. I knew Bob Hayes novel would be physically accurate.

The Lure of the Aurora Borealis

Tourists visit the Yukon to see the aurora; it’s the heart of the winter tourism industry. Visitors who have done their research will also have other activities in mind. People arrive from around the world – including Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, Korea, and of course the United States and other parts of …

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Haiti after Hurricane Matthew

The eye of Hurricane Matthew hit the Tiburon Peninsula, the southwest tip of Haiti, on October 4th. With winds that blew 230 kilometres an hour and up to 500 millimetres of rain in two days, it was the strongest storm to hit the country in 50 years, according to the NASA website. The storm stripped …

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Final Days and Thoughts

The final week of Icelandic adventuring saw us completing the Ring Road, which encircles the whole country and has tourist spots dotted along the way. We followed it east and gradually north through glacier-domed mountains, bucolic sheep folds, thundering waterfalls and glistening black alluvial beaches that stretched along the coastline for miles at a time. …

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How Foster Care Shapes Lives

Amelia Merhar knows what it’s like to be a foster child, to go from home to home, and to be without a home at all. She wonders how that movement affects young people today, so she’s asking them to tell us, through art. Merhar, also known as Yukon’s singing, ukulele-playing Big Mama Lele, has just …

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Know Thy Microclimate

I’ve put a lot of miles under me this spring between Victoria, B.C. and the Klondike Valley, and had thought I would be riding the green wave north. It is true that there were more leaves out on the Gulf Islands than there were when I arrived at home in Mount Lorne, but in between, …

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Didee & Didoo: THERE’S ALL KINDS OF FORTS

THERE’S ALL KINDS OF FORTS. THERE’S FORT YUKON, ALASKA. THERE’S FORT MCPHERSON, NWT. THERE’S FORT SELKIRK, YUKON. THERE’S FORT GOOD HOPE, NWT. THERE’S FORT PROVIDENCE, NWT. THERE’S FORT FITZGERALD, ALBERTA. THERE’S FORT RESOLUTION, NWT. THERE’S FORT SIMPSON, NWT. THERE’S FORT RELIANCE, YUKON. THERE’S FORT SMITH, NWT. THERE’S FORT CHIPEWYAN, ALBERTA. THERE’S FORT LIARD, NWT. THERE’S …

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Winter Solstice

Winter solstice is the shortest day and, officially, the start of winter. But it also triggers the sun’s journey back, bringing us spring. This year, for us in the northern hemisphere, winter solstice occurred on Dec. 21. That was when the sun was directly over the Tropic of Capricorn, a line of latitude that encircles Earth …

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Seeds of Cuba

The Christmas season is upon us. For cigar lovers, this is a perfect excuse to indulge and order up a nice selections of stogies. For those who live in Whitehorse, there happens to be a store where you can get the best cigars Cuba has to offer. In the heart of downtown on Main Street …

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Big View, Small Budget

While the rest of the country is obsessed with the H1N1 virus and cure, Yukon amateur astronomers seem to be looking for a cure of their own — a cure for bad weather. This time of year is renowned for volatile, unstable weather, making for cloudy nights mixed with snowstorms. When cloudy nights persist, however, …

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Funky Hand Controllers

The biggest problems experienced by amateur astronomers, who live in the Yukon and the northern limits of civilization, is the cold. The cold is brutal on the human element, and is capable of wreaking all kinds of havoc on astronomy gear — from poorly made eyepieces and telescope mounts, to laptop computers. One would think …

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A Road Less Travelled

As you drive toward Kluane Lake an inconspicuous dirt road marked as “The Arctic Institute of North America” leads off to the right. If you choose to follow this path less taken you’ll find yourself confronted with a gravel airstrip and a hodgepodge of buildings populated by people sporting Carhartt pants, dirty jeans, and toques. …

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A Taste for the Arts

Love of (and interest in) wine has opened wonderful doors for me in my life. Tasting wine has been the lens through which I have experienced lessons in history and geography. Friends have mailed me bottles from places such as Malta, and I have had the chance to sit with vineyard owners and chat over …

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