If I was a proper backcountry enthusiast, I would have purchased a Tilley hat, a multi-pocketed vest and a compass. I would have spent weeks honing my orienteering skills and had topographic maps of every area we planned to enter.
Being me, I instead collected a daypack’s worth of electronic gear to compensate. Nothing drives the Search and Rescue crowd crazy like hearing “I thought there’d be cell service” so I have an Inreach which will link to a Texas call center via the Iridium series of satellites and they claim they will let loose the rescue hounds to wherever we are. The device links via Bluetooth to a cell phone so you can text to anyone from anywhere (Off mountain in 2 hours, start chilling beer). So as not to need the Inreach, I’m using my GPS enabled watch which maps our route and, though it states only a 25' accuracy it will let me know if off return track by 4'. Readable in a white out, I hope. All of the above will be useless with dead batteries so we have a solar and hand crank powered battery charger and thus lug all the charging cords along. To get in the habit of having all this along, I’ve been hauling it no matter how much of a stroll we seem to be heading out on. As you never plan to be on an epic disaster, I’m also carrying an emergency bivi bag, big mittens, poofy coats, food and triple the water we could possibly need. No Tilley hat, though. I draw the line. I just might look a bit over-prepared as people jog by with their dogs after work. If none of this gets called on I plan to break my femur during our last adventure to get full value.
We were up to Dawson City and then up the Dempster highway last week. Dawson City seems to be on the extremity of the edge of the fringe of the tourist track. Although all the buildings and the Klondike Kates and Jack London Grills are genuine, it is on the bubble of viability with an awful lot of empty lots and stores and cafes for sale. I did enjoy White Fang as a child so was very glad to be there, though half a day seemed excessive.
Tombstone Park along the Dempster was beyond belief for spectacular and the park we had to ourselves. Charismtic megafauna sightings included grizzly (still not boring, despite ubiquity), a timberwolf (or maybe a Grim) and a wolverine. A wolverine!!!! Although brief and from the truck, every hair on my head stood on end. Brenda said she couldn’t tell, but it really did. There are swans up here everywhere yet everything is not named “Trumpter” or “Swan”
Then back to Whitehorse with excellent visiting (I see a theme developing: A very high visiting/mountain biking ratio) with Brenda’s RAN grad (family practice residency) friends and am thoroughly pleased with the town. River hikes, mountain hikes all nearby. The tourist business keeps ample coffee shops and bakeries going, and the cleverly named iCycles bike shop has a coffee shop and roaster in back. Loads of bike stores have espresso bars to capitalize on the bicycle/cafe link but having a roaster makes for the most intoxicating aroma of bike tires and grease and lube and coffee imaginable. And fresh, fresh coffee.
The beard, despite obviously looking fetching, had to go as I could not get rid of the sensation of constantly having a Pine Martin squirming around on my face. And, as it was quite silver, I was starting to yearn for a classic car and a paunch, so its fate was sealed.
Winter started to make its move on Whitehorse so we have scurried south. We are blasting across BC, paying attention only for things we want to revisit when we’re Squamishites. We were surprised to find Fall just across the Yukon border and now hope to follow the modest temperatures South for a few months.
Perhaps we’ll get a GoPro and video the whole thing and edit into a movie. “Endless Fall”, the story of two reserved travelers as they meander their way through the somber, serious season of cardigans. It’ll be huge.
Our oldest suggested that if we are going to continue to take endless epic landscape photos we should get a proper camera. “no really” he said when we sent him yet another smart phone pic. Anticipate a MASSIVE increase in photo quality soon.