The Yukon is stunningly beautiful in all seasons. However, as winter sets in, some seek heat and sunshine. I happen to be one of those people.
I am 35 years old and quite the spirited spinster. I was born in Ontario and came to the Yukon as a traveller in summer 2007. I fell in love with the profound, unique Dawson City and stayed.
Could I finally be laying down some roots? Each year I find incredible employment, and on some weekends I sing in a band (who knew?), living the life.
This fall, as I prepared to fly for my winter adventure (last year was to Central America), a friend of mine offered a ride on his drive to Ontario. Road Trip.
There you have it, three good friends headed to Ontario to visit our families for the holidays.
On Saturday, November 19 we were ready to go: gassed, oiled and packed up. It was minus 39, so cold we needed a scraper for the inside of the windows. We headed out from Dawson yelling “road trip” in a green Volkswagen bus topped with a full moose rack.
Little did I realize how much attention that would come to attract. Originally the rack was covered with canvas, but as the wind beat the canvas against the horns, they slowly ripped through.
My friend was bringing them to his sister at her request, as the rack had been lying around on his property. Every time we stopped to fill up we were asked if one of us shot the moose, leading to more questions, as per usual when you mention the Yukon.
Lots of people pointed and stared. One onlooker took a photo.
No sooner had we started out than we came across a couple of moose jogging alongside the bus. Lining the Klondike highway endless spruce trees stood tall and slender, supporting the weight of the snow on their branches.
Ever since moving to the North I have gotten a kick out of the trees. Sometimes you pass a patch of spruce trees and they resemble closing time at the bar, all leaning and hanging off one another. I am not sure what causes this, exactly. No matter – they make me giggle.
Further along the Klondike Highway we encountered streams of smoke from wood burns along the side of the highway.
We made a “famed” best stop on the Alaska Highway at Liard Hotsprings. The springs are located just below the Yukon in British Columbia. By this time it had warmed up to a manageable minus 19. We had the spring to ourselves, it was quiet and peaceful. Gorgeous snow-covered trees hung over a dense hazy fog.
After a soothing and well-deserved dip in healing waters, I dried off, covered my head and quickly put my layers on – trying to be very cautious with the cold temperatures. What a treat after a long busy summer.
Back on the road, not far from Liard we came across a caribou crossing. There must have been about 15 of them crossing over the highway.
We had a night drive across northern Alberta and Saskatchewan, encased from the ground up in stars. Glancing over my left shoulder, I watched the northern lights floating green throughout the sky, three shooting stars and two falling stars. One of the falling stars dropped right before our eyes. My buddy thought it was fireworks at first.
After the flatness of the plains (the only place in Canada I hear you can watch your dog run away for three days) we entered northern Ontario from Manitoba.
The open view slowly became blocked with rugged rocks and huge, plump trees, turning into dense forests. Little lakes and islands appeared, and cottages settled neatly along the waters edges.
As we passed through Old Woman Bay, a beautiful beach on Lake Superior, we took a break and watched the sunset.
Friday, November 25 we arrived at my mother’s house in Glen Morris, Ontario – a quaint village along the Grand River, a half hour from any major town – to a welcome 10 degrees.
Seven days, roughly 5,900 kms and a 50 degree temperature increase, without mishaps or unwanted interruptions. It was a great road trip. My friends and I are happily reconnected with our respective families.
It was a long way to go see family and join my mom in a nice hot cuppa tea, and worth every moment. Now where to go for the rest of my winter? I’m thinking Southeast Asia.
Leaving Dawson and great friends behind is difficult. At the same time I am always excited to see new sights and take on more adventures. I love road trips and constant change.
And the best part of leaving is coming back.
Rebecca Hogarth has been a resident of Dawson City since 2007. She feels the energy of the Yukon and the encouraging people within allow her to shine in so many ways.