Monthly Archives: July 2018

Tuk 2018 – Days 17-19 Fire and Ice(fields)

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Tuk 2018 – Days 17-19 Fire and Ice(fields)

It had rained overnight, but the sun was out now, there was a wind off the lake and we had no agenda for the day except to get to Whitehorse, so we had a chance to let everything dry before packing it up.

We are staying with our friends Robert and Carl for the next few days while exploring around Whitehorse, so we don’t have to worry about getting a site at a campground. It will be nice to have time to visit with them, it will also be nice to have a bed and shower for a few days.

We had a great sleep and went downtown to find someplace other than McDs  to access wifi as we are getting a bit tired of fast food. We found a great little place at the end of main street called Baked. I had a flatbread with pesto, blue cheese, pears, walnuts and arugula. Boy was it good! Linda had a scone. I think she may really like scones as she gets one every time we are at a bakery.

While I was making use of the wifi, Linda went exploring in the mall and found a cheese shop. They had a wonderful selection, it was had to make a choice. We ended up with 2-year old cave aged Gruyere which should keep really well for camping and L’edel de Cleron, a soft cheese wrapped in bark that should be awesome heated on the campfire.

We parked at the visitor’s centre then shopped our way up main street. We definitely helped to support the Whitehorse economy today. We dropped our bags at the car then waited for the waterfront trolley. We had planned to take it all the way to Shipyards park, almost the end of the line, but it only went 2 stops down from where we were. The trolley is purely a tourist attraction, as almost anyone can walk faster than it goes. But, it is only $1 and was an interesting experience. We walked back to main street after we got off and headed to the Yukon Quest office to look for T-shirts. I wouldn’t have said anything, but Linda had to tell them that I had been in the Quest years ago. That prompted the lady to look in the history book that was published a few years ago and pointed out where it clearly says I scratched. Sigh. That will always be something I remember as an adventure and a huge challenge, but also an abysmal failure.

Quite night at home with Robert and Carl binge watching Happy Valley.

The next morning we headed out to Haines Junction as it is one of my favorite vistas on the planet. We had lunch at the Village Bakery, a great place to stop if you are passing through. It is a little off the main road and easy to miss if you are not looking for it. Everything is scratch made, and on Friday evenings they have a Salmon Bake with live music. I had a salmon pot pie, Linda had a black bean stuffed pepper and we picked up a nice loaf of jalapeno cheese bread to take home.

Haines Junction is a small village on the edge of Kluane National Park and Reserve. Kluane Park covers about 22,000 square km, has vast icefields and 17 of the 20 highest peaks in the country, including Mount Logan, Canada’s highest peak. I would have liked to take a helicopter tour of the park, something on my bucket list for quite some time, but we didn’t have enough time as we had to be back in Whitehorse at Lumel Studios for 5pm

At Lumel, we spent an hour in the hot shop blowing glass. An hour isn’t much time, but they go through things quickly with you, and most of it is hands on with the exception of gathering the glass from the crucible. We started with a blown ornament that could have been a ball or we could flatten it out a bit, we chose flat. Once that was done, we made a paper weight, using big tweezers to pull the glass into interesting (we hope) designs. The finale was making a drinking glass, which had to be shaped and the bubble opened. By the time we were done, we were both sweating and ready for a beverage.

It was fortuitous that our next stop was Epic Pizza for Peggy Hanifan’s Whitewater Wednesday open mic night. I had not see Peggy in over a decade, so it was great chat for a bit and hear her play. We also got to have one last visit with our friend Kathy again as well, so even better.

We called it an early night and went back to Robert and Carl’s for a few more episodes of Happy Valley.

Our last day in Whitehorse was all about visiting with friends, as we have no idea when we might be back. We spent the morning and early afternoon with Robert, then headed to the Kopper King to meet up with Eric, a friend from Mexico who we have never seen in Canada before.

We had to pick up the glass we made at Lumel yesterday, so headed downtown. Wow, I was pretty happy with the results. When glass is hot, you cant see what the colours will look like when it cools, so it is always a bit of a surprise when they come out of the kiln or annealer the next day.  I hadn’t thought the paperweight would turn out very well, the mixing of the colours was kind of rough, and there seemed to be blobs of colour as well, not what I really wanted. None of that showed in what we picked up though, it is really quite nice. It will live on my desk at work. The ornament and the glass both came out quite nice as well, although the ornament kind of looks like something an Oilers fan would have. The drinking glass will now be my favorite glass at home, but we are not sure where the ornament will go.

Next we headed over to Sanchez Cantina to meet BJ for a dinner. Sanchez Cantina makes real Mexican food, and does it well. Supper was fabulous and the visit with Beej was great. It was tough to say good-bye, again because we do not know when we will be able to get back up to the Yukon.

We went back to our temporary home and got everything packed up so that we could have an early start the next morning. Then we “had to” finish watching the Happy Valley series. What an unhappy valley it is. We are hooked though, and will have to keep watching it when season 3 comes out in the fall.

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Tuk 2018 – Days 13 to 16 River Quest and bonfires with friends.

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Tuk 2018 – Days 13 to 16 River Quest and bonfires with friends.

We woke up quite refreshed, enjoyed another shower. What a luxury! We needed to pick up a couple of groceries and ice for the beer, then grabbed a quick bite to go at Cheechako’s Bake Shop on Front St. It was fast, tasty, and inexpensive.

We had considered taking the highway to Keno, an old silver mining town, as I had never been there and would like to see it. But surprisingly it was overcast and rainy, so we just stayed on the Klondike highway and continued south. We didn’t have time to take the little hike down to the 5-finger rapids on our way up, so we stopped around 1:30 at the Tatchun Creek Campground, which is only a few kms up the highway from the rapids viewpoint. We would hike down the tomorrow. Because we stopped early, most of the sites were open and we found a nice one by the creek. It was sunny when we set up camp, so we had an opportunity to dry out all our gear.

The next morning had a hot breakfast, struck camp and headed over to the 5-finger rapids viewpoint. While we were in Dawson City we had picked up a copy of the Yukon New, a Whitehorse newspaper. In it we had discovered that the Yukon River Quest had started on Jun 27th. The River Quest is the worlds longest annual canoe and kayak race and goes 715km on the Yukon River from Whitehorse to Dawson City. The race started out as a fund raiser for the Yukon Quest dog race, but quickly became an international event of its own. The teams all have a mandatory 7 hour stop in Carmacks, which is just a little bit upriver from the rapids, so we had hoped we might still be able to catch a few of the boats.

We took the stairs from the viewpoint then hiked down the trail to get a closer view of the rapids. If there were any boats left, they would most likely be going through the closest channel which would not be visible from up above. And even if we had missed them all, I still wanted some pics of the “fingers”.

We were in luck, the safety boat was still there so that meant that there must still be at least one more boat. We ended up seeing 4 teams go by, which was a nice unplanned experience.

We stopped in Whitehorse for some supplies, and again had trouble finding fuel canisters for the stove. I knew we would not be able to find the canisters in the arctic, but they used to be available through the Yukon, so this lack of availability was unexpected. If we do another long trip we will have to look at one of the multi-fuel stoves. For now, we picked up a propane camp stove that was on sale at Canadian Tire. We already have one at home, but we figure we can sell this one once we get back. And, we won’t have to worry about running out of fuel.

We grabbed gas and supplies we headed out to Marsh Lake Campground about 30 minutes south of Whitehorse, just off the Alaska Highway.  It is one of the largest Territorial campgrounds, but also one of the busiest. It would be our home for the next 3 nights. We were glad we were getting there early, particularly on a long weekend. If we wouldn’t find a site, we did have a couple of friends who had grabbed sites the day before. We ended up finding one that was mid-way between them both, so it worked out really well. Linda is still amazed at the government campgrounds in the Yukon. They are all $12 a night, and all have pit toilets that are kept clean and stocked, and all of them have free firewood. The firewood is often split, though you still need an axe to break it down a bit more. Down south $12 doesn’t even buy you a bag of firewood at a campsite, let alone pay for a site.

Once we got set up we head back towards Whitehorse, to the Carcross cut off. Our friend BJ MacLean was playing at the Cut Off Restaurant, so we were going to have dinner and listen to BJ and Kietha Clark. The music was great, as usual. It does our souls good to hear BJs music, and even more so live. We also had an opportunity to visit with some other old friends which was an added bonus.

After the show it was back to the campground for a bonfire, beverages, and catching up with old friends.

We had to run into town the next day to take care of some paperwork from down south and made use of McDs wifi. Then back to the campground for dinner and another bonfire. A few friends came out from town, and we had a great evening of music and laughter, sheltered from the rain by a massive tarp strung over the fire pit. A late-night snack of peaches, marshmallows and hotdog buns toasted over the fire in pie-irons rounded off the night. While heading back to the tent for the night, I saw the moon through the clouds and had to go sit on the bluff and watch it for a while.

The next morning, we woke up to discover that the cooler, which was plugged into the 12v socket in the car, had completely drained the battery. I was sure it turned off a while after the car was locked, but I was wrong. We had a booster pack with us. It usually has enough juice to jump 20+ vehicles, but we almost drained it getting the car going. But it did start, of which I was thankful, as Linda was giving me the I-told-you-so look.

Some of our friends had gone to the Marsh Lake community centre for Canada Day celebrations. There was a parade, music, and a free BBQ. We opted for a lazy day hanging around camp and watching a movie in bed.

There was another campfire in the evening, with some different friends popping out for a bit. More music and more bevies, but an early night for us tonight as we played a little to hard the night before.