The Spell of the Yukon

Spell of the YukonThat’s how this famous poem from Robert Service, an Englishman who moved out to the Klondike after the gold rush years, starts.
Now I wanted gold too, but of a different kind.

And far more easy to find here in Dawson City.

Especially under Dori’s guidance.

Dori had invited me to come and stay at her place, and after riding down the Dempster she served an awesome feast of Lasagna and chocolate cake! Absolutely suberb.
It didn’t take long or I had found my way to the infamous ‘Pit’.Fun days in the Pit

And no I didn’t try the sourdough cocktail. This is in another bar in town where you can get a shot of alcohol with some old toe (yes a human toe!) in it. I was told over and over again I’ll have to try. But thanks, no thanks, I think human toes are gross enough as it is, firmly stuck at the end of their feet. I don’t need one in a cocktail.

A good few people have warned me that many people come up for a holiday and stay for years.

I had no plans to get stuck. Not consciously anyways.
But on the day I planned to leave my body went into protest.

After speaking to kids in the school, which is always fun;

(no you don’t need to go to uni! Don’t bother getting a profession, all you need really is a bicycle…)Speaking in the Schoolsomehow my back gave in.

And suddenly I went from happily pushing and riding along a snowy highway to laying flat on the floor and not even being able to turn over!

No idea what I’d done, but stuck in Dawson I was.

Good thing Dori didn’t mind me laying about on her floor and she is a wonderful ‘mum’.
And when I was able to move again, a few days later, we celebrated by finding a bit more gold 😉GoldWhen I wandered out and looked up I saw the Northern lights dancing through the sky!Dora Dora & the General store(you can tell in this pic my back doesn’t feel all too flash yet, but I’m trying!)sore back

Clearly I couldn’t yet leave the morning after a night at the Pit. So I got organised and ready and finally managed to leave a week after my arrival.

But it wasn’t to be.that'll slow you down in a hurry

I was only about 60km when my bike stopped. Maybe I should check the screws a little more regularly but at least I had a good excuse not to ride as by now my back wasn’t feeling all too comfortable either.

But I had met gold miner Peter,

Goldminer Peter he is 73 and originates from the other side of the country, but he’s had his claim up along the Dempster many years now.

He showed me how to pan for gold and we drove the long road down to Whitehorse.

Where I had been invited to come and stay with the Shier- FamilyThe Shier FamilyMeet Hannah, Helen, Ben & Dan.

Big bicycle-touring enthusiasts themselves they made me feel welcome at their wonderful home 20 km south of town.

Even made a Canadian version of a Dutch favourite, the stroopwafel!Maple Sirop wafels

Or the maple syrop wafel in this case. Yum indeed 🙂

I guess they didn’t realise when I got there I’d still be in Whitehorse 3 weeks (!!) later.priorities

But I didn’t stay in town the whole time, I had roads to ride.

Dan and  Helen had met each other in Mozambique where he worked as a lawyer for an Canadian volunteer organisation and she as a nutritionist for a Dutch one  in many remote villages throughout the country. They only spoke portuguese together.

Dan in their colourful Home

Their home is a colourful mixture of things from all over the world and places they worked and travelled. 

They happen to like beer too.

hagelslag!

And they had hagelslag!and a coffee

In case you didn’t know we (the Dutch) have the wonderful habit of sprinkling chocolate on our bread for breakfast.

In fact, we might be the only country where adults without hesitation or embarrassment see this as a perfectly sufficient breakfast.

Which is exactly what it is.

Clearly.

Helen showed me the town by bike,

Helen on BikeThere is a really nice bike path along the river in Whitehorse.

Hannah is their 16-year-old daughter and a great sportswomen, she’s ski’s, runs and rides bikes. She is also an awesome chef and puts together a feast in a flash.Hannah

Not just that, she’s an artist with hair, always looks gorgeous and even managed to get my hair to behave. And she has her driver’s licence. All things I don’t or can not do. Very impressive indeed.

She also happens to go to the coolest school ever as she’s in their outdoor program, they go camping, cross-country skiing and even bicycle touring with the whole class! Bicycle touring with the whole class!

I’ve spoken to various school groups, but never yet did a whole class join the ride 😉

Ben, 13, is the baby of the family and an excellent sportsman in his own right.

He especially loves snowboarding and mountain biking with his friends.

He lives in the right part of the world for that.

He’s also pretty handy on the computer and put together this video of him and his friends.

A good friend of the family happened to be a physiotherapist (and all so a very keen cyclist) and she told me exactly what’s wrong with me. physically that is.

What’s actually wrong with me might be a little more complicated (…)something wrong with me?

Ok, I can explain…

or maybe not.

But there is a story.

A 18 year old girl from Whitehorse, Morgan went to Haiti after the earthquake to help at an orphanage.

But what she found when there was shocking.

What she did amazing, check out her story on http://www.littlefootprintsbigsteps.com/

Here in Whitehorse, supporters do whatever they can to help and in this case it was a clothing sale to collect money.

I found that outfit at the sale and bought it. Just couldn’t help myself. And I felt like I would fit right in back up in Dawson 😉

 I have an irritated disk pushing on a nerve. Nothing too much I can do but be careful and do some exercises. A long bicycle ride could help the physiotherapist said.

So I planned this loop to Alaska.

going to Alaska

The sky was clear the road was smooth, it was a wonderful ride indeed.

big world little me

It made me hungry so it is a good thing they know how to feed a hungry cyclist at Otter Fallsyum!

Before heading out Helen gave me this lovely cycling skirt and arranged for me to stay with her friend Jane the first night,

the view

who has an awesome view from her place, Tree House

And a tree-house!

Jane also happened to have a friend up the road in Haines Junction.

Claudia just came back from a 10-month trip through the States with her son, daughter, dog and four horses.Claudia

She lives in a spectacular place but is planning to move,

so this place is now up for sale!Claudia's Home

Don’t tell me you don’t want to live there.

I had decided to do the loop this way around as the wind had been blowing up, but surely as soon as I started going the wind turned and I still had a headwind. Dear

It didn’t matter, through this scenery I couldn’t go slow enough. I loved it!

Headwind is no good if you need to use bearspray,

So it’s lucky I didn’t.

I had decided bears don’t worry me as I probably don’t worry them.

This works really well.

Until you see one.bear

And then I wasn’t as cool calm and collected as I had planned to be. So I flagged down a vehicle and a friendly lady drove up past the spot where I saw it with me, the bear had scurried off into the bush.

I know you have to make noise and let them know you’re here but that goes a little against my instinct that says, run! And that’s precisely what not to do.

Now I just had to not worry too much and I told myself if I’m gonna be afraid of every little bear I come across I better not go cycling in Northern Canada and Alaska. So I kept on looking for a good place to camp that night.

And came across some less threatening wildlife,Rabbitporcupine

and found a great place to sleep!

Matthew has been hauling fuel out of Haines for a while and knows the road very well. He was in no hurry to get to Haines as he wouldn’t load until the morning, so he agreed I should be sleeping on top of his truck as it’s clearly the best campspot around.IMG_0521 IMG_0519 IMG_0514

You can’t beat sleeping out under the stars, if you’re prepared that is.

Matthew decided to try it himself, but without a good mattress or sleeping bag it isn’t quite as comfortable, and he retreated to his cab.

He did see me on the road the next day and decided to fill up all my water bottles.Matthew

I could not believe my luck with the weather too! It was just unbelievable and at times a little annoying, it was so pretty I had no idea what direction to point my camera in.a break

the road

I had met a lady on the road who told me about the little green hut.crow

A few others had mentioned that too so when I saw it just before the pass I had to stop and stay the night.the little green hut

It was a perfect little shelter, and a nice surprise waited for me inside,nice surprise

Isn’t that lovely!

Apparently the hut has been build by a guy who studied Ptarmagan out here, IMG_0581Ptarmigan

There is enough of them.

Now it’s mainly used by passing cyclist and ski-folk.

It was a beautiful evening as the full moon rose and the sky coloured pink,

beautiful evening

I was surprised how easy it was to get to the summit the next morning.wheeeee!

It seemed to me to be going downhill to the summit, where I stopped for a coffee,coffee at the summit and got chatting to Mason, a professional photographer/skiing/mountainbiking guy from Whistler.

He had been up the mountain a while taking the most amazing pictures!

A little fox came along and entertained us for a little while.FoxyIt wasn’t afraid much.

And then it was into a brand new country!Alaska!

Nr 61 on my list.

I’ll tell you all about it!

Next time.evening

22 thoughts on “The Spell of the Yukon

      • I was in Anchorage in March for the start of the Iditarod and I was hoping to be lucky enough to get a view of it but Anchorage isn’t the place to go to view the lights

  1. Keep on following your amazing journeys Mirjam, het zijn geweldige foto’s en weer het Noorderlicht prachtig we genieten met je mee, groetjes en safe travelling, Dory XXXXX

  2. Schitterende landschappen daarginds, ik ben benieuwd. Ook een leuk filmpje van Ben en z’n vrienden. Ze durven wel..!
    Benieuwd of we nog een nieuwe blog gaan zien voordat we die kant op komen :-).
    Liefs van ons!

  3. The scenery looks amazing down there!!! Wow 🙂 The trip sounds truly inspiring, thanks for sharing and best of luck!!!

  4. Hoi Mirjam, Wat een prachtige foto’s heb je weer gemaakt. Ik geniet ervan en reis op die manier met je mee. Prachtige natuur, prachtige mensen en dieren.
    Ik kijk uit naar je volgende blog.
    Groeten van Heleen.

  5. Hi CDL, it’s your Radium connection again. Margaret and I are leaving Radium on the 26 th of May for THE YUKON and might see you on the highway as we head north. I am guessing to be in Fort St John around June 1 and so from there, we will keep some eyes out for you. We will be camping and driving this time so hope to see you on the road and we can share some more ” Tea?”
    David and Margaret

  6. As always, really enjoying your photos and the stories of the people you meet. Thanks for sharing and I look forward to the next!

  7. Ah Mirjam, more excellent adventure photos! Hope you had a good visit with your parents, and if you make your way back to Terrace this trip, please give us a call. We’d love to catch up!

  8. Heel mooie foto´s heb je weer! Fijn om je verhalen te lezen. Groetjes, en heel veel plezier verder.

  9. Wat een schitterende foto’s en ongelofelijke avonturen! Ik verbaas me en geniet er elke keer weer van…

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