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Adventures with Dad: Tombstone, Northern Lights, Beer, and Shelves

Tombstone

Dad, Jeff, and I went up to Tombstone about 10 days ago. Jeff went fishing, Dad and I went sightseeing.

It was a cloudy day, which meant it was a miserable day for fall photography. However Tombstone is gorgeous even without the sun on its fall colours. Here are some untouched photos from Tombstone Territorial Park:

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Dad went back up the Dempster a few days later and it was still cloudy and rainy. He still got some great photos, which I’d link to here, if he had a blog, but he doesn’t, yet.

Northern Lights

Every day while Dad was here was cold, wet, and cloudy. And so many days we were receiving aurora alerts for great northern light viewing!

After calling our watch over and going to bed one night, we found people posting terrific aurora pictures online the next day that happened after we fell asleep. Time to get serious!

On Friday night as the full moon lit up the sky, we could make out a few stars and knew we had a chance. Long after Jeff went to bed, Dad and I drove up to the dome overlooking the town. It was -1C and windy and freezing and I was way under dressed.

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Dawson City from the Midnight Dome, after midnight

A group of Japanese were there too, filming and taking photos and waiting…. Finally when the first light beam started to grow, I knew right away they had never seen them before. They were ooo’ing and ahhhhh’ing!

I still find every aurora show unique. This one had one big band that went from the southern horizon, up over our heads, and down to the northern horizon. Really amazing, despite the full moon and clouds (and bone chilling temperature despite wearing a toque) :)

Here is one of Dad’s photos showing the start of the light band, beside the moon.

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Beer

Finally after spending almost 2 weeks with us, the weather forecast cleared for Alaska, signalling Dad that it was time to mosey on to Alaska to see what Denali looks like in fall.

We decided to take a little beer tour through town on his last night, drinking nothing but Yukon Gold beer at each stop, because it is simply awesome.

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Bombay Peggy’s

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Showing Dad an app at Bombay Peggy’s

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Sourdough Saloon at the Downtown Hotel

The Japanese visitors were also at the saloon filming some interviews, and one of them came over to our table, mistaking Dad for Terry, the toe captain!

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Diamond Tooth Gertie’s

We finished the night with Gertie’s midnight show, which is my favourite of the 3 nightly shows. I think I could watch it every night. We happened to hit a happy hour, so we took advantage, and Dad even bought a souvenir glass to remember his adventures.

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The stumble home from Gertie’s.

Shelves

Yesterday Dad left for Alaska. (He had to start his van a few minutes early to melt all the frost off the windshield!)

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It was so nice having him here for many days. It seems like his trips are normally rushed more, but this time he had so much time to explore. He was in every shop, met a bunch of people, and had so many adventures. We even explored the thrift store and visited the garbage dump!

And even better, he was here long enough to make his homemade pizza TWICE!IMG_5710

And as a forever helpful father, he built us a shelving unit to handle all the canned food we brought from our last house. We used to go to Costco a couple times a year and buy a lot of supplies. They will come in handy here with the higher food prices. And as we consume them, the shelves are designed to hold two Rubbermaids on each shelf so we can keep our storage orderly, until the day comes that we have a garage or shed again.

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Can’t wait to hear about Alaska Dad! Come back again soon!

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Adventures with Dad: Cranberries

I’m pretty sure Dad knows more people in town now than I do. While he’s been waiting for the rain to lift before he ventures on into Alaska, he’s done a lot of wandering around town while I work. Somewhere in his ventures he learned we have natural cranberries growing everywhere here in the woods.

I took a few hours off the other afternoon to go out in the rain to pick cranberries with him.

Guess who is the better cranberry picker?

That’s right. Not me. I’m mostly too bearanoid. Especially while in a berry patch. Dad easily picked two cranberries for every one of mine. Half the time I was busy looking for bears, thanking my lucky stars there are no snakes in the Yukon, looking at long forgotten treasures in the woods from old gold mining expeditions, trees, or even just looking for where Dad went, and wondering if he’d make one final gasp before the grizzly ate him. Or would a bear just want the berries?

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Our motherlode of cranberries

We froze some, so we’d have them over the winter, and then Dad made some cranberry sauce to go with our caribou sausage for dinner.

Then he figured he might as well make some cranberry sauce to take home, in case the cranberries didn’t like 10 days in a bag on the way home. So while I worked, he made cranberry sauce, and then canned a couple jar worth.

Then he made cranberry muffins!

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Cranberry muffins

Yesterday he decided to go out for another batch of cranberries while I worked so he could can some more to take with him, just in case the border guards had any problem with raw cranberries crossing into Alaska or back again.

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Cranberry sauce boiling

The cranberries were fairly easy to pick, and are best after the first frost. Really you just rake the stem with your hand and all the cranberries come off. These were the low-bush cranberries. They grow like this:

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So unfortunately, if you were thinking about coming over for cranberries muffins, they were endangered species, and are now all extinct. The good news is we have more cranberries to make more :)

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Adventures with Dad: Caribou and the Midnight Dome

Caribou

Dad and I set off for the Top of the World Highway to see if we could find any of the caribou of the Porcupine Herd.

After scouting the landscape for 100 km, I finally spotted some caribou way off in the distance. We drove further down the road to be closer to the caribou but we couldn’t see them anymore.

It was super steep, but Dad grabbed his camera and I grabbed the binoculars, and we headed off in a quick pace out over the open tundra.

I was out ahead of Dad a bit, and suddenly over the ridge in front of us the caribou appeared, running towards me! Dad had already knelt down with his tripod to get the shot. I took one look of those animals and their big antlers running towards me and the fight or flight instinct kicked in and I fled! I ran back towards Dad and the steepness of the next bank. Here are some of Dad’s shots:

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Dad and I got separated as he chased down the caribou for more pictures. I wandered around looking at the caribou poop and all the trails they’ve made in the lichen. And I found a caribou antler!

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Aren’t the fall colours on the tundra amazing? I didn’t touch these images, they are just raw from our cameras.

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The red is thanks to this lichen:

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Midnight Dome

One night Dad and I headed up to the Midnight Dome overlooking town to see if we could catch the sunset. We were too early, the clouds weren’t cooperating, and it was a cold brisk wind. We got a few shots anyway:

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More Nightlife

Burgers and beer at Klondike Kate’s:

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Adventures with Dad: Gertie’s & the Dredges

Dad is visiting! He came up to the Yukon to catch the fall colours on the Dempster. Here are some of the highlights so far:

Diamond Tooth Gerties:

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Travelling the backroads:

We took a day long tour around the Hunker, Sulphur, and Quartz Creek back roads, looking at mining operations, abandoned cabins, scenic views, and abandoned dredges. Some pics:

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Old gold mining shaft – miners would burn down through the permafrost all winter in search of pay dirt gravels below. This shaft was found buried and was moved to the edge of the road so people could see how it was once done.

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We found 4 or 5 old abandoned dredges. The super sad part is someone is dismantling them so the next generation will never know what it is like to stumble on one of these old giants.

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What’s left of the outhouse.

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Inside old cabin, lots of old newspapers around, must have been used as insulation.

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All day there was a rainbow around the sun.

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He’ll go anywhere to get a photo of a dredge.

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Bear poop

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Wooden cross (and grave?) on King Solomon’s Dome.

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Selfie with a dredge

 

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Tombstone Park and Jeff’s first Grayling!

Since it was a holiday today (Discovery Day) and we both had the day off work, and all the Discovery Days events were over, we went on an exploration/fishing trip. We drove up the Dempster Highway to north of Tombstone Territorial Park.

The fall colours are starting. As nice as these photos are, they don’t come close to capturing the breathtaking scenery. Every direction you look is remarkable!DSC_0374

We even saw a bit of snow still left in a few of the crevasses on the north side of the slopes.

DSC_0378 The slopes are starting to get some reds and browns in the vegetation. We’ll go back in a week or so to see the progression. I’ve seen brilliant red and orange photos from this area, so I hope we can catch those colours!

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Jeff stopped in a couple places to fly fish for Arctic Grayling.

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We put Monty’s bear bell on his collar so he’d make enough noise to keep any and all grizzlies away.

We could see the bottom in this river and didn’t see any fish. Jeff wished he brought his neoprene waders instead, he said the water was super cold!

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Later on we took a little road that left the Dempster and found this beautiful landing on a river.

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Jeff got his lure snagged up and lost it, but recovered someone else’s. It took him about 10 seconds with the found lure to catch his first Arctic Grayling!

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Of course the water was so clear, he could drop the hook right in front of the fish’s mouth.

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We kept it and took it home to cook up. Really tasty! We heard they were full of little bones, but Jeff did a great job cleaning it and made a thin little breading for it for frying. I’d eat that again!

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It rained for about 30 seconds on the drive back to Dawson. While our family and friends are sweating away another hot summer’s day we enjoyed our +15C fall weather :)

We didn’t see any big mammals today, but saw 3 bald eagles, some squirrels, and some grouse like birds (don’t know all the birds here yet!) Hunting season has started, so between the hunters and all the end of the season tourists, the Tombstone area was fairly busy!

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