The deep-blue sky is broken by dark billowing clouds as I stand on the shore in Dawson City and gaze out over the river, flat and shiny as a new mirror, save the gentle wake from the ferry …

… the ferry that transports people and vehicles to the road to the top of the world, people ready for a new segment of their journey. Perhaps a road trip to Alaska. Perhaps a personal life journey, insights aided by the profound beauty, majesty and power of the Yukon River itself.

The fast-moving river that leaves memories in its wake. Memories of a Gold Rush, a booming Dawson City filled with prospectors seeking new lives. Memories of more-recent times with travellers still looking for something more, some meaning to each day … to their lives.

Perhaps a respite from the routine of life – a reminder they are connected to a world more vast than they understood.

The dramatic realization that we as humans are insignificant in relation to the natural beauty of the Yukon, the river, the mountains, the creatures, the tall timber, the deep-blue sky.

There is a calming reassurance that comes from that understanding, a timelessness that reminds us we are but a small speck in a very-big world in the grand scheme of things.

This is the mystery and beauty of the Yukon for me.

The river enhances the spectacular wilderness experience because it ever changes, just as we humans do to survive. Looking out over the endless miles of wilderness, as I drive along the Alaska and Klondike highways, renews my energy and spirit.

The buildings and bustle of city life fade away and I am able to reconnect with the Earth, with the vastness of this planet we call home. It brings a renewed sense of wanting to care for it properly and let other people know how beautiful it is … how healing and renewing wilderness can be.

The river journeys onward over endless time, overcoming obstacles, sometimes boiling over with fury and other times peaceful as glass.

Life itself is a journey filled with memories, hopes, fears, dreams – sometimes peaceful, sometimes boiling over. The Yukon River has, for me, been a reminder of how life works, of what’s really important.

It seems as if the river journeys with you as you travel the highways. You reconnect with it so many times along the way that it becomes a partner for the journey; it tugs at your heart, it touches your soul.

It is a reminder of things past and things to come. A reminder to think about life and what really counts, about where I’ve been and where I’m going. A call to be intentional about living.

The Yukon River, a highway of water over the centuries, a witness to so much of the human experience. As a new day dawns, it is the highway of water I will take to leave Dawson City and greet the next chapter of my journey.