Yukon Diaries: Keno 2016

“And have we room
for one more folded sunset, still quite warm?”

-Elizabeth Bishop, “Questions of Travel”

Yet another year has rolled around and I have still not updated you, friends and fam, with last years adventures! The passage of time and daily life over the past few months has somewhat blurred my memory of last summer, tinging it orange with a warm glow like the flaming sunset Michael and I got to witness in Keno at 11:35 at night. As such, I’ll have to keep the dialogue short and let my snapshots tell you the story.

20th July, 2016

As per usual during my hectic 6-days-a-week work schedule, we squeezed out every inch of free time I had, taking advantage of the late solstice sun, and left straight after work was finished. The familiar scenery of the Klondike Highway and the Silver Trail flashed through the window screen until we reached the Mayo gas station, then from there it was alien territory to me.

The wide, sweeping landscape was bathed in sunlight, and so was the little town of Keno, all shiny and nestled away at the base of the hill like a little gold nugget.

The tiny building on the right was faced with bright copper tiles that reflected the blinding sun.

This church is actually a library. It’s such a shame I didn’t get a chance to go in–although I’ve heard it on good authority that it’s well worth it if you can!

After a quick drive through town (and I mean quick!) we snaked our way up the gravelly, pot-holed road to the dome.

The red sun and barren hills made us feel as if we were on Mars.

As the brightest rays of sun died down, we followed an overgrown dirt road away from the main peak and found ourselves a spot for the night.

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21st July, 2016

The next day dawned with grey and heavy skies, a moody compliment to the dramatic landscape.

The textures of the mountains and scrabbly rock was gorgeous.

Fireweed blooms

Although we enjoyed our brief getaway and hike, the end of the day and the heavier clouds were edging in so we made some hot lunch on the camp stove, took one last look at the moody view before the curtains of rain enclosed the town, and headed back to dodge.

Very different light than the previous night

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Vancouver Island Diaries: Ucluelet/Tofino

“I dig my toes into the sand. The ocean looks like a thousand diamonds strewn across a blue blanket. I lean against the wind, pretend that I am weightless, and in this moment I am happy.”

– Incubus, “Wish You Were Here”

Just this past week I was lucky enough to have reading break and a visit from my one and only, Michael, at the same time! And what an amazing time it was. Our days consisted of beautiful drives, hikes through the coastal rainforest leading down to the beach, frisbee on the beach (even in the pouring rain!), exploring Tofino, barbecued fresh seafood, much arguing between Brooke and I over Game of Life, snuggles on the couch, $20 worth of M&Ms, and the best conversation and laughter. Thanks so much Brooke, Kieren, and Michael for the lovely memories. ❤

P.S. Here is the lovely place we stayed at if you’re ever that way!

9th November, 2015 – phone camera

On day one we took our time road-tripping to get to Ucluelet, stopping for a quick hike at Englishman Falls and Cathedral Grove along the way.

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Englishman Falls

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Cathedral Grove

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10th November, 2015 – 35mm Konica Pop and phone camera

Day two, a full day in the area! First we had a quick look at the lighthouse in Ucluelet. We were interested to learn that the noise in the night was not my snoring, but the whistling buoy system that warns sailors away from the rocks. My inner Famous-Five-reading-child’s imagination was intrigued! Next we hiked to Halfmoon Bay, an aptly named crescent stretch of beach, then over the other side of the point to Florencia Bay. We lunched at Long Beach, had a beer in Tofino, then bought some fresh seafood which we later barbecued.

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Brooke and Kieren preparing lunch.
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The Lighthouse in Ucluelet, BC

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The beginning of the trail to Halfmoon Bay and Florencia Bay.
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Brooke the pirate.

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We made a friend.

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After a good round of piggy (Kieren) in the middle.

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Lunch at Long Beach

12th November, 2015 – Nikon D5000

Somehow my adventures always seem to go by so quickly! For our last day we explored Tonquin Beach, the town of Tofino, Schooner Cove, and South Beach before making the long journey home.

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The trail to Schooner Cove

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Long Beach again – this time in the sun!

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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: 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: 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.

Mexico Diaries: Day 5 & 6

“We’re going where the sun shines brightly

We’re going where the sea is blue

We’ve seen it in the movies

Now let’s see if it’s true.”

– Cliff Richards, Summer Holidays

11th February 2015, Cabo San Lucas, Los Cerritos

Alas, our last full day in Mexico! We had such a lovely summer holiday, and yes, Cliff Richards, the sea truly was as beautiful and blue as it is in the movies. We spent the day in Cabo San Lucas rather than staying the final night there. After the lovely relaxed atmosphere of Pescadero and Los Cerritos, the crazy din and bustle of San Lucas was a little overwhelming. Nevertheless, what kind of tourists would we be if we didn’t grab a souvenir or have a taco at Cabo Wabo!? Okay, technically we didn’t go into Cabo Wabo itself… just a place near it. But still. We did the tourist thing and did a little shopping and sightseeing, made my Papa haggle for us, then got the hell out of there so we could head back to the beach again!

P.S. Excuse the poor quality iPhone pics.

This is where I bought my beautiful blanket from.
This is where I bought my beautiful blanket from.

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Squid Roe. So punny.
Squid Roe. So punny.
Tacos and cerveza. Does it get any better??
Oh yeah, so there was one little mishap on the way back to Pescadero. We got on wayyy the wrong track and ended up heading towards nowheresville.
Headin' back to the beach.
Headin’ back to the beach.

And of course, we ended the day with Los Cerritos. I could never get sick of those beautiful sunsets.

Papa’s last wave of the day.

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12-13th February 2015, Mexico and home.

We wanted to swim in the ocean one last time so got up at sunrise and headed down to the beach. We were greeted with a beautiful sunrise. Many long hours, two flights, one over-nighter in Vancouver, a two hour ferry ride (involving me snoring with my mouth wide open), and an hour bus ride later, I finally made it home! A big thank you to my parents who helped me get there, and to Mexico for your lovely sunshine, ocean, people, and memories. Until next time!

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This so perfectly captures my feelings. Goodbye Mexico! I leave you with a tan and lovely memories.
This so perfectly captures my feelings. Goodbye Mexico! I leave you with a tan and lovely memories.

Mexico Diaries: Day 4

“Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air…”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Alright Emerson, sounds like a plan!

10th February 2015, Los Cerritos (again)

So our fourth day was another beach day. Just swimming, surfing, and tanning from sun-up till sun-down again. If I could spend every day like this, I would be one happy beach bum.

P.S. I recommend listening to the Fat Boy Slim remix from the Blue Crush album, “Front to Back,” while viewing. So summery and so perfect, if a little old school!

My cool Mumma.
My cool Mumma.
My turn!

... and Brooke's turn
… and Brooke’s turn

After lunch and a tanning break, we were back at it. Surf, swim, tan, repeat.

Brooke looking like the surfer babe she was.
Brooke looking like the surfer babe she is.

The perfect end to a beach day, followed by homemade ceviche made with freshly caught local shrimp.

Sick of sunshine yet? More Mexico pictures to come soon!