Ed. Note: This is part seven of a seven part series. Part six can be found in the June 14, 2017 issue of What’s Up Yukon.

The beautiful sights of winter exploration.

I’m living a dream and I look forward to the next step…

At the end of 2016, I made many diverse acquaintances, each promising me future days, every one more enjoyable than the last.

Yet, as the winter set in, I had the feeling the Yukon was going into “hibernation”. I didn’t know if it was due to the snow that sprinkled the landscape, the extreme temperatures (around -38ºC), or the omnipresent blackness which disrupted my biological clock, but it seemed to me that the Yukoners were hiding themselves behind the heat of their fireplaces.

For a few weeks now, I have had the feeling that everything is slowing down here. It’s not just a question of “Yukon Time,” it’s the winter anchoring more deeply and the city falling asleep little by little.

If I listened to the locals, I likely wouldn’t do anything for the next three months… But I just want to enjoy! Live the moment, enjoy every second and most importantly, not procrastinate.

Then, even with frozen lashes and three pairs of socks, I go out, I explore!

Live the moment and enjoy every second…

The snow

As of October, the flakes made their appearance. Timid at first – unlike the 40 cm snowfalls of the Alps in Europe – they finally managed to impose themselves little by little and to freeze time.

I no longer had to wait to feel the winter influence. It was here – and it wasn’t even the month of December, yet. I watched every change of perspective, because with its thick, white mantle, the snow changed everything: mountains seemed more accessible; the least relief was softened; lakes were transformed into ice; and the trees were dressed in their most beautiful jewels.

It was a brand-new Yukon landscape that was shaping right before my eyes. And I certainly would not sit on my couch in front of the stove, watching it from the window!

Live the moment and enjoy every second…

The cold

Yet, seven years ago, I was living my first winter in Quebec, where a temperature of -29ºC combined with the humid air and a chilling wind left me feeling that if I didn’t go back to a warm environment quickly, every part of my body would slowly change into ice cubes.

And this, despite the winter gear bought on the spot! After this episode, I was apprehensive about winter in the Yukon. Known to be one of the most extreme in Canada, it’s actually not that hard to live with, since here the cold is dry. Dry but icy.

I was experiencing that cold, for the first time, at the beginning of December, during a week, with temperatures near -36. But I wasn’t to be put off by the situation. Quite the contrary! I swaggered about, wrapped up warm, snowshoes on my feet, on the Dempster Highway! My second time? I saw it mid January… the thermometer oscillated, for several days in a row, between -32 and -26. And still sitting pretty 🙂

Live the moment and enjoy every second…

The darkness

I always seem to end up sitting pretty… however, on shorter durations. And it has nothing to do with the surrounding cold, for which I was prepared! But rather everything to do with a very small detail that I hadn’t anticipated … And yet, just a few hundred kilometres from the Arctic Circle, I should have thought about it! What’s more, with the presence of the Midnight Sun in summer … Now, nights were longer than days! The result is a truly special atmosphere.

In the muffled surroundings offered by the snow, there is a heavy silence. Fighting firmly against my inner marmot – who, rejoicing in all this darkness, mistakenly thinks that it is time to go into hibernation – I seize my cloak and venture out onto the heights of Riverdale, my new neighborhood.

Live the moment and enjoy every second…

The Wonder

I explore each street, each trail, and discover the surrounding areas: Long Lake, Hidden Lakes, Chadburn Lake, Miles Canyon and Grey Mountain. Eyes wide open, a smile frozen on my lips, because I am living the moment and enjoying every second.

A chance on winter