Victoria Diaries: Halloween Shenanigans

“Men and girls came and went like moths among the whispering and the champagne and the stars.”

-F. Scott Fitzgerald

I decided to go with cheap disposable film to document yesterday/last night’s adventures. We had so much fun and looked oh so darling! The girls and I spent the day getting ready and drinking cheap champagne, then went to Corey’s for a bit, then on to Lucky for the rest of the night where live bands and a DJ played. All in all, a good night.

Poppin' pink champagne.
Poppin’ pink champagne.

Fan-Tan Alley, Chinatown.
Fan-Tan Alley, Chinatown.
Hehe Em's lipstick got a little smudged.
Hehe Em’s lipstick got a little smudged.

Space Invaders.
Space Invaders.

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Yukon Diaries: Tombstone Mountains… Again

“Late last night, I lost track of time and I knew I was waiting for the sun to rise…” Snowmine, Columbus

Perhaps my title is misleading. I am writing another post about the Tombstones Mountains – and trust me, I could do a million posts on this beautiful place – but this visit actually occurred earlier in the summer. A week or so before the helicopter trip, Michael and I realized how quickly our time in the Yukon was running out and made our escape to the mountains again – this time for more than an afternoon!

19th August, 2015

We hit the road as soon as we finished work with a car packed full of gear, eager to escape town. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to listen to Snowmine or Bombay Bicycle Club without thinking of that drive, those mountains, and Michael. One of the great things about Tombstones Territorial Park is that you can camp anywhere. With the campground being full and not really wanting to share our experience of the mountains with other people, we kept driving and found a great little spot just off the road.

One of my favourite sections of the park. This part of the road is where the valley really opens up before you.
One of my favourite sections of the park. This part of the road is where the valley really opens up before you.

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The skies became more ominous the further into the park we got. We should have known there would be snow!
The skies became more ominous the further into the park we got. The way the clouds closed behind us like a curtain was uncanny!

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20th August, 2015

It snowed overnight, though thankfully not where we were and not where we hiked. It was a chilly wake-up though. After a 5-star breakfast (who knew camping food could be so gourmet!?) we drove to a pull out near our mountain, Mt Adney. The journey began with bush-wacking through the willows and downy, swampy flats. Then began the gentler incline up the first ridge. It didn’t matter how many times you looked back at the view unfolding behind you, it was sublime every time. From that first ridge we climbed up to the second and had lunch on a flat spot near the peak. Let me just pause and say that I do not have much hiking experience. Though I am skinny, I am definitely not fit, and as I found out that day, I’m a little afraid of heights. I got close to the top of the peak, but absolutely freaked out on the scrambley cliff. Michael climbed to the top and took some gorgeous shots of the view then patiently guided me back down the scary cliff. This mountain was tough for me, but the immense feeling of accomplishment I found when I got to the top (or as close as I dared) was so rewarding. I’m hooked now! To add to that, the view was just stunning – there’s no words adequate to describe the beauty. We made our way back down the mountain (much more quickly than the way up!), pausing to collect some of the unique purple stones, then kept driving to the edge of the park to check out the views.

You can see the snow on the mountains in the distance to the left.
You can see the snow on the distant mountains to the left.

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It doesn't take long to warm up!
It doesn’t take long to warm up!

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View from the first ridge
View from the first ridge. Photo: Michael Maclean
From Michael's film camera
From Michael’s film camera
This photo reminds me of Caspar David Friedrich's Wanderer Above the Sea Fog (1818) - fitting in its association with the sublime.
This photo reminds me of Caspar David Friedrich’s Wanderer Above the Sea Fog (1818) – fitting in its association with the sublime.
Michael realizing how crazy and steep the drop from that cliff is!
Michael realizing how crazy and steep the drop from that cliff is!
Photo: Michael Maclean
Photo: Michael Maclean

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I'm not sure of the name of that range, but the array of shades is quite stunning.
The edge of the park. I’m not sure of the name of that range, but the array of shades is quite stunning.
I got my cheesy sign picture!
I got my cheesy sign picture!

21st August, 2015

Our last morning dawned with warm sunshine, making it even harder to fathom going back to reality. We had one last gourmet camp-stove breakfast and packed up, then drove to our next mountain: Goldensides. This mountain is considerably easier; for starters, there’s a pathway (Mt Adney was back-country hiking) and you drive a fair way up to get to the opening of the trail. On a sunshiney day like we had, you can see why it’s named Goldensides. All the Fall colours were out, with sun highlighting gold, burgundy, russet, and the last green vestiges of summer. Some wildlife made their appearances, including an eagle chasing a smaller bird and some happy sunbathing marmots. We hiked to the end of the short trail, enjoyed a moment there, then made a final stop-in at the visitor centre on the way home.

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Yukon Diaries: Tombstone Mountains and the Yukon Ditch

“Sublime (a). Producing an overwhelming sense of awe or other high emotion through being vast or grand.” – Oxford English Dictionary

Sublime is the best word I can come up with to describe this beautiful rugged and daunting landscape. Their jagged peaks and ever-changing colours, their vastness and the seemingly endless stretch of mountain after mountain is so overwhelming it’s enough to make one’s mind explode! Just over a week ago my Papa absolutely spoiled my sister and I (plus a friend each) with a heli ride to the Tombstone Mountains. Yes, my Papa is a helicopter pilot and yes, he is definitely the coolest Dad you will ever meet. The autumn colours were out in full swing, turning the mountains red, yellow, purple, and orange. We flew to the actual tombstone range first, then took a tour over Azure Lake and Bompass Lake. If I hadn’t seen it for myself, I would think the shocking blue of the lakes in my photos were Photoshopped! After that, we landed near Little 12 Mile Powerhouse, an abandoned little town that used to power Dawson City back in the day, and ate dinner/explored.

As I sit on the ferry taking me back to Victoria, posting these photos brings on a bittersweet mix of emotions — happiness for the great summer I had with such wonderful people, sadness for the goodbyes and the ending of another season, and excitement for the year ahead. As always, just one summer in Dawson City is enough to make me feel as if I’ve grown or changed somehow; I feel a confidence in myself and my abilities that I didn’t feel in the beginning – even if I still have no idea what I’m doing! So much of this is due to the lovely people I was surrounded by this summer – including the very special people featured in these photos. The others, who have not been featured in this blog, are my Riverwest lovelies — especially you, D and Mike! I would like to thank everyone for making this summer one of the best yet. Love you all so much! xo

Without further (emotional) ado, I give you Tombstone Territorial Park and the Yukon Ditch!DSC_1283DSC_1297DSC_1321DSC_1333

The foliage and colours in Tombstones is amazing.
The foliage and colours in Tombstones is amazing.

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The ceiling of clouds were quite low that evening, covering the massive peaks at the top of the range.
The ceiling of clouds were quite low that evening, covering the massive peaks at the top of the range.
Three of my favourite people!
Three of my favourite people!

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Best family photo ever!
Best family photo ever!
It's impossible to capture the sheer scale of these mountains.
It’s impossible to capture the sheer scale of these mountains.
Not sure about the name of this little lake but it's gorgeous.
Not sure about the name of this little lake (if it even has one) but it’s gorgeous.

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Azure Lake
Bompass Lake
Blackstone
Blackstone River Valley
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“The country traversed by this ditch is a rolling woodland indented by the alluvial flats of the Klondike, the Twelve-Mile, and other streams flowing into the Yukon river. As seen from a height the wilderness stretches unbroken from the meandering shimmer of the Klondike, enclosed within high banks on which white scars mark bench-diggings, to the Ogilvie range, where, far to the north, the snow still lingers in token of the gift of water that shall enable man to win the gold from the deposits of gravel strewing the tortuous valleys.” – T.A. Rickard, The Yukon Ditch (reprinted 1909)

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Dinner time!
Dinner time!

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A rare good photo of Michael and I. Thanks Brooke!
A rare good photo of Michael and I. Thanks Brooke!

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Dawson City peeking around the corner.
Dawson City peeking around the corner.

Yukon Diaries: Top of the World

“Life was meant for good friends and great adventure.”

– anonymous

Just over a week ago I had the lovely privilege of meeting one of Michael’s close childhood friends. Jean, a homebody turned adventurer, journeyed from the opposite end of the country to visit Michael up here in Dawson City for two weeks. We managed to cram lots of goodies into her visit, including the DC Music Festival, the DC League of Lady Wrestlers, Tombstones (which I will be posting next!), and a spontaneous drive up the Top of the World Highway to see Castle Rock.

Our mini road trip gave us beautiful views, lots of laughs, and a great chance to get to know one another even better. I’m so happy I got to meet you, Jean! I enjoyed our talks, our hikes in wrong (and right) directions, your willingness to participate in my terrible sense of humour, and most of all your lovely presence. You are one wonderful human being. 🙂

Anyway, the adventure begins!

We ended up going right past Castle Rock, instead finding a beautiful spot to view the smoky mountains.
We ended up going right past Castle Rock, instead finding a beautiful spot to view the smoky mountains.
Brooke, searching for monk's hood.
Brooke, searching for northern monk’s hood.
The lovely Jean.
The lovely Jean.
Michael and I.
Michael and I.

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Two lovelies.

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After that mini hike we drove back to Castle Rock and had a picnic dinner.
After that mini hike we drove back to Castle Rock and had a picnic dinner.

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Yukon Diaries: 5 Mile, Mayo

“Little by little, one travels far.” – J.R.R. Tolkein

Among the seemingly endless days of work this summer Michael and I managed to find time last Wednesday evening to do a quick overnight camping trip to the 5 Mile campground in Mayo. After finishing work Wednesday evening and mucking around with organizing, packing, dinner, etc, we finally gassed up and headed out of town. The drive was 3 hours of gorgeous scenery, great music, too much chocolate, and lots of laughs. When we got there, we went for a midnight swim, drank coffee while watching the semi-sunset (the sun doesn’t really set in the Yukon yet), and drank dark and stormys before going to bed. The next day we lazed in the sun, swam, and hung out until we had to leave. On the way home we saw a forest fire so close by we could see the flames and the smoke rolling up into the sky, but I unfortunately didn’t get any pictures! It was only 24 hours but that lovely little getaway was enough to recharge me for another crazy couple of weeks working!

Normally you would see mountains for miles and miles but the haze from the forest fires covered everything.
Normally you would see mountains for miles and miles but the haze from the forest fires covered everything.
Only 2 seconds before this photo was taken I was inspecting the front of the car for squirrel debris. :(
Only 2 seconds before this photo was taken I was inspecting the front of the car for squirrel debris. 😦
5 Mile Lake

Our campsite, post-breakfast.
Our campsite, post-breakfast.

One full car.
One full car.

Yukon Diaries: The Orchid Trail

“If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.” – Vincent Van Gogh

Last Monday I went on a mini-hike in West Dawson to check out the Orchid Trail. These boreal orchids — Spotted Lady Slippers (Cypripedium Guttatum) — grow in the deciduous forest area bordering the road to Sunnydale and only bloom for a few days.

Spotted Lady Slipper

A creepy looking Balsam Poplar.
Yukon Lupine

Yukon Lupine, Yukon Willow, Spotted Lady Slipper, Wild Rose

Yukon Diaries: The Midnight Dome

“You’re not the same person you were a year ago, a month ago, or a week ago. You’re always growing. Experiences don’t stop. That’s life.”

-Yukon Times

11 May 2015

Last night a few lovely friends, the dog, and I went for our first drive up to the Dome this season. It was a great nerdy evening of tea, hot chocolate, and giant DSLR cameras. We even had our picture taken by a professional photographer, Miv Fournier, who was touring round with a cousin and friends! We stayed until the sun set then blasted some good (and some terrible) tunes on the way home.

P.S. Check out Marina’s blog here and Michael’s here!

Michael, Marina, and Brooke.

Brooke looks like she should be in a Blunstones commercial! Hehe
Brooke looks like she should be in a Blunstones commercial! Hehe

My cutesy pup, Nesta. She's named after Bob Marley (Robert Nesta Marley).

The whole gang.
The whole gang.