Saturday, January 25, 2014

Yukon part 2

The Yukon has a way of making you feel like you can do anything.  I climbed my first mountain there under the midnight sun.  We laughed the whole way.  We started our trek around 8pm laughing about how the warnings always say you should head back from mountain climbing before dark.  When we did head back down at about 11pm the sun was still shinning on us.

The constant daylight became one of my favourite things.  I got so accustomed to taking naps in the full sun like a cat.   Everyone told me it was going to be a struggle to adjust to the light but I had the opposit problem.  We went down to Skagway, Alaska for a couple of days and found the town surrounded on all sides by mountains.  I experienced full darkness at night again and became so disoriented that I had to fall asleep with a light on or I felt like I was falling out of bed.

Back on the farm, after about 4 days, the woman we were working for asked me to stay on as the farm intern and help her run things for the rest of the summer.  The pay would just about cover my flight home!  I accepted.  I fixed eavestroughs and a few other things around the house, I did some weeding and harvesting of the gardens and helping out wherever I was needed, but mostly it was tending animals (lots of chickens and 2 small pigs).

We went to weekly farmers markets where I met more organic farmers from the area and was invited to see some of their operations.  I went out a couple of days to a goat farm that made their own cheese.  Learned to milk some goats which was a lot of fun after I got over my initial feelings of unease at having those alien goat eyes watching me. Went to another farm that focused on turkeys and some 400 pound pigs.  Everyone really cared about their animals and shared stories of how they protect their farms from the grizzly bears in the area.

I took some time to go to Dawson City during the Dawson City Music Festival.  By this time Estelle was wwoofing elsewhere but we met up with all the thousands of people who had come for the big party.  With my first impression of the place being so packed with people it was intriguing to watch the numbers trickle away back to the regular population.  After the crowds had left I went on several tours of the famous town and for one I happened to be in the same tour group as Audrey McLaughlin.  It was a huge thrill to meet her.  She was humble and charming.  At one point our guide left us in Mrs McLaughlin's care who promised to not let the power go to her head.

On that same tour I met a gold prospector and inventor, from Northern Ontario.  We chatted a good while and it felt like I had met a kindred spirit.  I felt like he would have been my uncle had my family been from Ontario.  It worked out that after getting back from my run to Chicken, Alaska (on the Top of the World Highway) I met up with him again.  We went panning for gold together.  I now have a small speck of gold to call my own.  The Saskatchewan northern lakes trained me well for wadding into the icey creek water to dig up dirt to pan.  I gave him a ride back to Whitehorse, we talked about his inventions and swapped crazy stories the whole way.  

He gave me some of the best advice for how to deal with the little black flies! Skin so soft lotion from Avon.  Use it. Love it.  Flies will avoid you and you'll have soft skin, best of both worlds.

I went back to work on the farm.  When I got back there was a new addition to the farm.  Another wwoofer, this time from Germany.  The hay was harvested, the chickens were slaughtered and I watched as the Fireweeds slowly opened all the way, signaling the end of summer.  I loved my time there. I got to meet so many wonderful people, learned so much, and really left feeling like my 12 year old self could very happily put a check mark next to that dream.  

I am really looking forward to going North again.  Next time I am definitely going to make it all the way to Inuvik!

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