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Exploring the gold field roads south of Dawson City

We didn’t have any weekend plans, so yesterday we spontaneously decided to take a drive out through the gold fields – back on Bonanza, Quartz Creek, Sulphur, Eureka, Dominion, and Hunker Roads.

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Fireweed, Yukon’s flower. People say you can tell how many weeks of summer are left by how many flowers have yet to bloom at the top of the stalk.

It was a really smokey day. There are lots of fires burning in Alaska right now so the conditions must have been right to push the smoke in our area. 20160716-DSC_0002

For the last couple of weeks, we’ve had beautiful sunny days, with blue skies. During the day the thunder clouds start building and by supper time, we’ll have a quick rain. A couple of times these storms turned into little monsoons! On Thursday it was building for hours with lots of rumbling, and then it dumped marble sized hail on us. My tomato plants don’t seem very impressed. After each storm the temperature drops about 10 degrees.

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Here is the head of the Ridge Road trail near King Solomon’s Dome. It has a 360 degree amazing view, but was smoked in a bit today.

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If you aren’t familiar with the placer gold mining we have around here, gold is found in the dirt and gravels from ancient river beds. It can range from small nuggets to flakes and almost flour like little specs. Anyone can stake a claim and find gold by using a gold pan, but most miners do it on a bigger scale using heavy equipment, big wash plants or trommels, and gigantic sluices to separate the gold from the rocks and dirt. Separating the gold relies on the fact that gold is 19 times heavier than water, so they try to catch the gold in riffels and mats while washing away the dirt.

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This gold miner is using big conveyor belts to move the top dirt out of the way of the dirt with gold in it that he’ll process.

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We have pretty wildflowers growing in the most unlikely places, like on the road.

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Swimming hole with an old crane and line to swing on.

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Top of an old dredge

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Because gold mining is so reliant on water for separating the dirt from the gold, active mines usually have access to a creek for water, and then may build a reservoir pond to hold water for them to reuse, and often will have a series of settling ponds so the water is clean when it is released back into the river (rather than muddy).

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Tons of cool mushrooms around. I’ve gotta learn which ones we can eat.

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History everywhere

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I’m going to guess this water piping was used for power generation. Likely for the dredges.

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1937

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Old cabin beside the water pipes. Old electrical lines here too

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Another old cabin in the woods. It had power wired up inside too.

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Old garage beside the cabin

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The tin on some of the roof and garage walls was just flattened tin containers. Inside they used flattened cardboard boxes for wall boards and insulation.

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Of course I went in!

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Cardboard boxes were addressed to the Yukon Gold Corporation in Bear Creek. Most were eggs, meat, milk, and margarine.

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Small hole in the floor. Cold storage? Wasn’t really very deep though.

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Newspaper from the Vancouver Sun was part of the flooring. Couldn’t make out the year.

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Back to the far side of the garage building.

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Looks like someone dumped their burn barrel recently looking for treasures.

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And just found a lot of rotten, rusty old cans.

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Fishing up the Dempster Highway, and watching a wet moose eat lunch

We woke up at 5am to get an early start with our day. We went up to the Elephant Rock lookoff at 221 km up the Dempster Highway and worked our way back, with Jeff fishing and me taking photos, exploring, and for the first time, submerging my GoPro camera!

Jeff was fishing for grayling in this river, but this little immature Dolly Varden (I think) fish was so interested in the GoPro! He kept coming back for his action shot 🙂

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Fog lying low on the Ogilvie River this morning. About 11C @ 9am.

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Bald eagle

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Avalanche area!

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Bald eagle drying his wings. Or flashing his fans.

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The Dempster is such a different world in July! First, well the snow is almost all gone. The vegetation is so green and lush. There are also way more vehicles on the road. Well, still nothing by normal standards, but noticeably more tourists and license plates from outside the territory.

We saw countless rabbits on our drive today. Also  5 or 6 foxes, 3 moose, and no bears!

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Jeff with his first grayling of 2016

There was a moose in Two Moose Lake! She was dunking her head and eating plants off the bottom. She didn’t seem to mind us watching. I could have stayed all day!

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Hee hee wet moose are funny looking

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Sally is home!

I’ve been reunited with our sweet kitty Sally 🙂

If you recall, there were just two things that stopped our move across the country from being the smoothest move ever:

  1. Our house didn’t sell instantly, like we knew it probably wouldn’t, but it would have made everything easier.
  2. The rental house provided by Jeff’s new job allows for just 1 pet only.

My amazing, thoughtful, lovely sister Julie agreed to keep Sally in Ontario until we could get everything sorted out up here and find a way for Sally to join her family. Leaving her was really hard. She’s a member of our family. How could I just leave her behind? It has me tearing up now just thinking about it.

I visited Sally and Julie at Thanksgiving. Sally was doing fine. She didn’t seem to even know me anymore.

In January Monty died. So suddenly. I haven’t talked about it much because I tried to be the tough person and I tried to skip grieving. I did the grieving thing before for my first two goldens. I had no desire to do it all again. I had every trace of Monty put away, hidden, packed, or donated within a day or two. Eventually that grief found other ways to come out and I had a miserable few months with heart palpitations and anxiety and some sort of self-punishing attitude towards work, pushing myself too hard. It was a rough few months but I’ve worked through it.

(Imagine if we had left Monty with someone instead of Sally? That would have been horrible.)

Julie loves Sally and they were doing so well together. I could have flown to get her in January after Monty died and I couldn’t do it. I’ve always felt like my little sister was mine to protect. How could she finally have her first pet, and I’m going to fly in, rip Sally from her life, and leave her to grieve the loss of Sally instead? How could I do that to her? Maybe Sally should just stay. I’d rather be sad than her.

Julie and the rest of my family convinced me that Sally was mine, and it was okay for Julie to be sad. I decided to wait to pick her up until the last week of Julie’s school year (she’s a teacher) so she’d be busy with summer stuff and maybe not miss a cat or all of her hair on the furniture and carpet. I don’t know if that actually worked or not, but that’s what I did.

Sally seemed a bit more like she recognized me this time, and trusted me. She was a feral kitten who I trapped 8 years ago and brought inside with her brother. She was introduced to the life of an indoor cat a little late to be totally tame. She wouldn’t hurt a fly, she’s the sweetest, gentlest cat, but she has spent a lot of her life hiding behind couches or under beds.

I got her a Sherpa bag for travel, so she could go under the seat in front of me on the plane. She travelled with us in our truck from Nova Scotia to Ontario and didn’t get sick, so I was pretty confident she’d do okay on the plane, but I was the most worried about going through security where you have to take your pet out of the bag so the bag would be x-rayed. What if she bolted and was loose in the Toronto airport?

She did fine though! She just let me hold her tight and got right back into her bag. She meowed whenever I moved the bag, but once it was still under the seat, or on the floor on the airplane, she was quiet. She did meow most of the way to the airport in the car though! We change planes in Vancouver with just a couple minutes to spare, but she seemed to be doing ok!

I kept all water and food away from her during the day so there would be no accidents. I was worried about dehydration but I don’t think she was likely to drink during the travel anyway. When Jeff picked us up on Whitehorse, we tried to give her a litter box, food, and water in the truck, but she wanted to hide under my seat instead.

After a couple hours under my seat she was ready for treats. I pulled her out, snuggled a bit, and put her back into her travel bag where it is safer. (Our drive home from Whitehorse is 5-6 hours.)

I really expected she would hide for days. But once we got home she really came alive. She hasn’t hidden at all! She clearly remembers us well. I suppose everything in the house is familiar, just a different house. I felt a bit like she was looking for Monty the first night, as I’m sure his smell is still around (since I still find Monty hairs!). If anything, she is tamer than she ever was, and I’m sure Julie is to thank for this. Now she flops on her side on the carpet and lets you brush her all over, just like my dog Winger used to. She doesn’t care for her ball toys at all anymore, but she likes the feathers on a pole toy, and goes crazy chasing the red laser toy, just like she always did. She even seems to come when she is called now! Although with the midnight sun, I don’t thinks she has any clue when supper time is supposed to be and she thinks it is anytime I open the fridge 🙂

It really feels good to have her back. I was petless since January. Now I have something to care for again, to pick up, to pet (Jeff gets annoyed quickly when I pet him, he was a poor pet substitute), and to love on. I’m taking quick breaks at work, just to hang out with my cat. It is a little weird, almost like she came back from the dead, and I wish all my other pets would show up a year later too, but I’m feeling more whole again and so grateful that I have the best sister in the world. I have no idea how to repay the favour. A kidney? My liver? How do I thank Julie for helping us make this move to the Yukon possible?

I’ve been taking nothing but Sally pics with my phone. Here are a few for you:

Photodump – June 2016

Just dumping some photos from the last few weeks before I head out on another adventure!

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Summer solstice in Dawson City

Two years ago we were visiting Dawson City. We had no idea at the time we’d be moving here a year later!

The summer solstice this year was actually on June 20 (due to the leap year maybe?) but most of us up here waited until the traditional 21st to celebrate, since it coincides with Canada’s Aboriginal Day.

Everyone of my relatives who has been here talks about visiting the Midnight Dome on the summer solstice. Two years ago we spent the night having beers and bar hopping, so we weren’t about to take that rental camper van up the steep climb to the Dome.

Jeff wasn’t wanting to go tonight either, since he has to work tomorrow, but I think he preferred to chauffeur me than letting me drive his truck up solo 😉

We didn’t stay until the sunset, but here are some pictures from 11:40pm – midnight. The sunset doesn’t actually happen until closer to 1am tonight, and then the sky stays in a sunset mode until it rises again in the 3am hour.

Sunset & Sunrise times for June 21, 2016 in Dawson City, Yukon - 12:52am & 3:48am

Sunset & Sunrise times for June 21, 2016 in Dawson City, Yukon

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Almost everyone up here was a tourist, and some must have come from really warm climates because I saw ear muffs, coats, and blankets! (It wasn’t too cold – about 13C.)

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Lots of lawnchairs, GoPros, and beers on the Dome tonight!20160621-DSC_0022 20160621-DSC_0023 20160621-DSC_0025 20160621-DSC_0027 20160621-DSC_0034 20160621-DSC_0035 20160621-DSC_0037 20160621-DSC_0040 20160621-DSC_0041 20160621-DSC_0042

 

With just minutes to go before midnight, an ultralight plane started buzzing by the dome!20160621-DSC_0048 20160621-DSC_0051 20160621-DSC_0058 20160621-DSC_0066 20160621-DSC_0071

Happy Summer everyone!