September 17, 2017

Another hiking day. As I strolled along the Yukon River I came upon the crew taking the Paddle Wheel out of the river. Four large caterpillar tractors were on hand to pull the 100 ton boat out of the river. Impressive maneuvering.

paddle wheel 1

And now she is parked for the winter, a sure sign that summer has gone.

paddle wheel 2

I continued my hike. My dear friend Judith told me that “early succession trees in northern boreal forest are birches, alders, and aspens” and this is why the leaves are all yellow and not the reds as I am accustomed to. Having said that, the birch is my favourite tree on earth so I am very happy to be surrounded by them.

beautiful birch

On my usual Ninth Avenue Trail hike I came upon one little red bush and I have no idea what it is aside of its leaves are a bit maple shaped.

one little red bush

I am clinging to autumn. “Please don’t hurry on your way, Autumn. Please!”

clinging to autumn

The ferry was loading up with cars as I strolled past. I like to think they are all headed to The Top Of The World Highway that one day I hope to explore.

ferry riders

 

 

 

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September 16, 2017

The furnace is repaired. I now have heat that turns off when not required and I don’t have to use the breaker panel to keep from being cooked alive. So good news!

Yesterday was a bit of a bust. A sleepless night as insomnia raises its ugly head. I blamed the heat, but I fear the responsibility lies with my busy brain. This morning while I sip my less than perfect coffee I am watching the sunshine creep up the hill to me. I am in the shadow of the “mountain” on which stands Moosehide Slide. It’s a bit like watching the tide come in on Fundy. I look away and when I look back, the sunshine has crept even closer. Remember playing “What time is it Mr. Wolf?” and trying to creep as close to the “wolf” before he shouts “time to eat you” and you run back to the starting line before he can grab you? I think the sunshine is engaging in the same kind of play with me. I love the sunshine. I must express my affection for it because before too long it will be very hard to find.

So yesterday was a stay in day for the most part. I took photos of the inside of the house to remind me that someone had a sense of humour.

First off, is Pierre Berton’s typewriter. Very cool. Inspiring.

Pierre Berton's typewriter

The typewriter sits on a table beneath the side window in the living room right next to a plant that I must try to remember to water. Plants in my house are usually gasping for a drink and I only notice them when a remaining thread hangs over the side of the pot like a limp sleeve from a pair of pyjamas. I can’t be trusted when it comes to potted plants. I gave up long ago. We can’t be all things.

sense of humour 1

I’m not exactly sure how long the Irish Whiskey has been here on the Berton desk, but safe to say I won’t be sampling it. As I sit and write and it catches my eye I do giggle. And is there really such a thing as a tortured metaphor? Aren’t all metaphors tortured?

Sense of humour 2

Two pillows adorn the comfy chairs in the living room, an absolute sign that someone stayed here with a healthy sense of humour. And Truman Capote was quite right. There are days when I am merely exercising my wrist as what appears on the page has no resemblance to writing.

Sense of humour 3

I think Hemingway was quite familiar with the bottle and so perhaps I should heed his advice, though it may be late in the game to change my personal practices.

One shelf of Berton books.jpg

This is just one shelf from the library of books written by Pierre Berton. He wrote fifty. I’d have to live another thousand years to match that record, so I won’t bother to try. I most certainly will read some though and then I can take a piece of Pierre Berton home with me and consider him a friend.

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September 13, 2017

I took myself out for breakfast this morning. It sounds like a normal thing to do, I realize, but it takes a lot of convincing on my part. The awkwardness of being shy holds me back. But I did it. Perhaps an award should be in my future.

Cheechako's Bake Shop

I had a lovely breakfast at Cheechako’s Bake Shop. An egg and bacon on a home-made english muffin.  Yummy!

Not very many were up on my walk to the bakery. It was still slightly dark. Up on the hill northeast of town is a slide called Moosehide Slide. It may look like man interfered with nature here, but it is a prehistoric landslide, naturally occurring and surrounded by legend. This is “a natural landslide in mega proportions” and a sight that welcomed weary First Nations peoples and gold-seekers home.

Moosehide Slide from Yukon River

I think I’ve covered every inch of Dawson City on foot. I’m finding it hard to sit at my desk as I see sunshine out the window because I know … this won’t last. The wind will soon be howling and then I’ll have lots of time to hunker down to work.

Dome

I think this is called The Dome, but I can’t be sure.

Jack London Square

This is Jack London’s Museum, a favourite of visitors.

I circumnavigated Dawson City today  by taking the Ninth Avenue Trail behind me all the way around to the Yukon River.

Overlooking town from Ninth Ave Trail

Above is the view of town from the trail. I am looking up river toward the Klondike River.

looking downstream Yukon River from Ninth Ave Trail

Above is the view of the Yukon River looking down river to the north.

took ferry ride across The Yukon River

I took a ferry ride across the Yukon River where the highway continues toward Alaska, toward the Top Of The World Highway.

I finished my walk on Eight Avenue where I was going to stop for tea, but I’m pretty sure no one is home.

No One Is Home

Then down the steps and I’m home!

Ninth Avenue Trail behind my house

It’s been a full day.  I’m pooped.  zzzzzz

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September 12, 2017

Another beautiful day in Dawson City. Glorious sunshine. I had to hike. I just had to. First, I strolled along the waterfront after I dropped off my recycling and bought apples. This cabin sits on the waterfront in town. I’m not sure if it is still someone’s home, but there is grass growing on its roof.

cabin along The Yukon

The SS KENO is “a preserved historic sternwheeler paddle-steamer that lies in dry dock at the waterfront in Dawson City”. She was built in 1922 and retired from service in 1951 due to the extension of the Klondike Highway.

KENO Paddlewheel

The hiking trail is wide and the ground firm. It is built atop a dike that was erected to hold back spring floodwaters that have hit the town more than once. Apparently, the waters of The Yukon will not breach this dike. What was it they said about the Titanic?

hiking trail

 

 

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September 11, 2017

I actually got some work done today. That may be overstating it.

I visited the “Danoja Zho Cultural Centre”, which is the gateway to the Tr’ondek Hwech’in heritage story who occupied their traditional territory here for more than 10,000 years, including the displacement caused by the gold rush and the painful stories of residential schools.

Cultural Centre

I watched a very informative film by videographer Lulu Keating. The film explained how Klondike is actually a mispronunciation of the First Nations name. The Tr’ondek Hwech’in lived where the Klondike River flows into the Yukon River, for the fish, for the waterways.

I saw this poem at the Cultural Centre. It gave no credit to the author, but I thought it so lovely I had to share.

Willow poem

I hiked along the river and the current of The Yukon is very determined, reminding me of Rainy River that hurried past my childhood farm.

The Yukon River

THE YUKON RIVER

 

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September 10, 2017

I’m looking at yesterday in the rearview mirror. It was a good day. It started out drizzly and overcast but I made the trek to “town” to get necessary supplies like toilet paper and soap. I may not have written anything yesterday but I am in a good position to keep clean and somedays that is an essential plan. As I strolled around the narrow-aisled grocery store I felt a bit like a bull in a china shop with my backpack banging into other customers and narrowly missing knocking items from the shelf. Note to self: remove backpack upon entering shopping establishment. A simple remedy.

Downtown Dawson City

After I sat at my desk and pretended to work I gazed out the window to “my” yard and there is a small deck or platform at the bottom of the lawn with some signs etc about Berton House and Pierre Berton having grown up here. Two women were standing on the platform taking photos and pointing to the house and I was in clear sight of them. I started to giggle, imagining that I was part of the  viewing. I thought I should go out to the front porch and begin a soliloquy, perhaps “To be or not to be” or some rather dramatic impression of Shakespeare. Or perhaps I could read from one of the many many Pierre Berton books on the shelf here. The women wandered off before I could prepare myself. Another group came by and I decided it was time to bail out. So I went for a hike.

I looked up the directions to find Crocus Bluff. Sounded like a remarkable point of viewing despite the heavy overcast skies. I got the instructions clearly in my mind and headed out, walking to King Street and starting the climb on the road. Seemed an odd way to hike.

_MG_7402

 I climbed and I climbed and then I climbed some more and eventually came to the very welcome sign that said “Crocus Bluff Nature Trail”. I made it. So in I trekked on a lovely wide well-traversed trail. Two dogs galloped by me with a “heads-up” shout from their owner, but they didn’t even bother to check me out to determine if I was friend or foe. On I went.

_MG_7413

I caught my breath looking over this magnificent view. If only I could paint.

I began to retrace my steps and came upon a sign with an arrow that said “Ninth Avenue Trail”.

_MG_7416

Well, I thinks to me-self, I live on Eighth Avenue so perhaps I should follow this trail. And I did. I whistled and sang as all the rather worrisome signs suggested to keep the bears away from me. I trekked down the slope, back and forth a bit like a sail boat. When I came out on the road, to borrow a phrase from Perry Como, “What to my wondering eyes should appear?” I was two blocks from my house. Conclusion:  I took the longest possible route to Crocus Bluff. Sigh. But the good news:  I didn’t get eaten by a bear. So all in all, a good outing.

Plan for today:  figure out a meal that doesn’t include toast. I love toast. Toast is good. I am grateful for toast. But perhaps a vegetable wouldn’t be a bad idea.  Wish me luck.

Oh, and new sheets. I think the sheets on the bed were here when Pierre Berton slept on them. As inspiring as that may be … it’s time for new sheets.

 

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September 9 2017

I made it. I’m really here.  I only managed to close my eyes for a few hours on Thursday night in Whitehorse, fearful I wouldn’t hear my 4:45 am alarm go off.  So instead my brain woke me every hour just to be sure I knew the time in appropriate intervals.

Air North brought me safely to Dawson City and the flight was full. We had to make three approaches due to fog but snuck in on the final try, thankfully, or we were headed back to Whitehorse until the fog lifted.

We flew in a Hawker Siddeley 748, which quite coincidentally I was a flight attendant on a billion years ago in northern Ontario. So how fitting was that I ask you. The service was great and we flew low enough that I could check out the incredible landscape all the way from Whitehorse to Dawson City.

IMG_Dawson City Airport

A kind member of Dawson City picked me up at the airport and delivered me to the house that will be home for the next four months. I was giddy. Could have been the lack of sleep but I like to think it was excitement for what is to come.

Berton House

I sat and took in all the moments that happened in this house from Pierre Berton’s childhood to all the many writers who came and found inspiration here.

Writing Desk

And what should be right directly across the street from me, that I can look out “my” living room window at?

Robert Service Cabin

Robert Service’s cabin

I spent the day walking in the beautiful sunshine.  It was a gorgeous day. I blended in with the tourists and felt deliciously invisible. No one minded while I snapped photos and peered in windows (of shops, not private residences in case you were concerned). I walked the bank of the Klondike River. I felt very much at home.

Klondike River

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