Outdoor Running Adventures

Running in northern BC with my dog Kobi


Day 8 of the 12 Days of Yukon

This is a long post so grab a snack! Day 7 is here if you need a catch-up.

Day 8 is the day we go to Inuvik!  The plan was stay one night in Inuvik after Herschal Island, fly back to Dawson City and hit the road to Whitehorse, stay the night there, pick up the trailer first thing and then hit the road back home.

The airport parking lot in Dawson City is across the road from the airport. We were initially a little concerned about leaving our truck parked in such an open area full of most of our stuff, but we were assured by airport folks that it was perfectly safe.

The Dawson City airport is a very small airport, but has daily flights to Inuvik and Whitehorse. There is no security here so we checked in and had a seat. The airport is basically a counter and a small waiting room. I was looking around to see who all would be on the flight with us and there were only 2 other guys waiting.  I noticed that one of the girls who was sitting at the counter when we checked in started walking into the bathrooms and yelling “Inuvik, flight for Inuvik is ready.”  I notice the two other guys waiting had stood up and were following this girl. I had just enough time to tell husband, “looks like we’re boarding.” I grab my day pack and follow the small crowd.

We were quickly out the door which closed behind me.  I look behind me and don’t see husband.  I walk all the way to the plane, constantly looking behind me and still no husband.  I decide I need to take matters into my own hands and walk all the way back to the airport building.  I get back to the “airport” where there is a side door and I see the other check-in counter girl. I talk to her through the door and say, “my husband appears to have not heard that we’re departing.”  She just glances at me and doesn’t acknowledge that she understands the need for him to get on this plane.  I can see husband through this back door just standing in the airport looking lost so I yell through the back door, “Jay!!  Lets go!!”  Well, that gets everyone’s attention.  He finally gets ushered out by the first girl and I’m politely told that she had things under control and I should’ve stayed at the plane. Good thing this was a small airport or I might have been in a bit more trouble.

Now that we’re on the plane and I have husband with me I can relax a bit. I notice that one half of the plane has these weird seat covers.  Then I realize the seat covers or holding cargo.  This flight stops in Old Crow first and then to Inuvik.  Old Crow is a fly in only community so all their supplies come by plane, but this morning appears to be the day that there is an extra large load of cargo.  Turns out unloading all this cargo takes a long time. 

Old Crow is one of the last fly in communities in the Yukon.  It was cool to see locals driving up to the airport on their quads.  The smoke from all the fires was pretty bad this day so the view on the flight wasn’t so great.  Here’s something neat about this community.  One of the priests, Father Mouchet, who lived there way back when, loved cross country skiing so much that he made some trails and set them every winter and made everyone ski.  Turns out one of the residents, Martha Benjamin, was pretty good at it and was a champion level skier in the ’50’s and early ‘60s.  She almost made it to the Olympics, but apparently the Olympic committee decided not to support any Canadians so she never went. 

This was all I saw of Old Crow. It was also very smoky that day.

We re-board 40 minutes behind schedule.  Once at Inuvik, I rush to the bathroom (as I figure the twin otter isn’t going to have one) and hear our names being paged in the airport.  Judi was there waiting for us.  We load up in her giant van with 6 others – 3 Americans, 1 German, 1 Canadian (plus us) and one of Judi’s “volunteer” workers (she sounded French). One thing that stood out was that one of the American’s was eating an egg salad sandwich.  All I could think of was, I hope you fly well as that is going to be nasty if you don’t.

We wait in the hangar for about 40 minutes for our pilot to finally give word that the weather looks good and we can go.  That was a relief as I didn’t want to be the one holding up this flight. We load up and we’re off.  Everyone is pretty stoked at this point as you never know if you are going to get clearance to go.  

We’re all given ear plugs and find a window seat (every seat is a window seat).  Thankfully the lady in front of me (a teacher from Ontario) gave me a heads up to watch for beluga whales on the way.  Our tour guide Judi didn’t offer any information as to what we’d see along the way.  

Twin Otter views

About 30 minutes into the flight we see the odd beluga whale in the Mackenzie Delta.  That sounds so cool, “Mackenzie Delta.” Husband is sitting behind me so I occasionally look back and give a thumbs up.  We’re both glued to the window.  

Somewhere over the Mackenzie Delta

After close to an hour and 6 beluga whale sightings later, we get so close to Herschel Island we can practically see it.  Now, here’s the thing about Herschel Island, it is an island in the arctic subject to sudden weather changes with a very short and rough air strip.  Our pilot gets on the speakers and announces that the island is now fogged in and we can’t land.  I can’t begin to express my disappointment, but I also have to accept that pilots know best and I don’t want to end up in a fiery plane crash on an incredibly remote island in the arctic.  I also try not to dwell on the fact that I don’t get a refund if we don’t land.  The pilot offers us the “scenic” route back to Inuvik.  It was pretty cool.

The scenic route

Shortly after the twin otter is heading back to Inuvik, I notice that the Arctic Chalet volunteer worker has her eyes closed.  I think to myself, who would close their eyes and miss out on this view?  A person vomiting their guts out, that’s who.  Apparently husband and the German fellow behind me were handing her extra vomit bags.  

More scenic route

The view was pretty cool and I saw so many belugas I lost track of how many I saw.  I saw mama belugas and baby belugas and pods of belugas. It was cool.  We were on the look-out for musk-ox, but saw none. That would’ve been very cool.

We get back to Inuvik and everyone is trying to be cheerful, but we’re all mostly pissed off, but what can you do.  While Judi was driving us all back from the airport to her place, I’m listening to a conversation with the American’s about one of them running with some of Judi’s dogs.  She does dog sled tours in the winter and has a pile of white Alaskan malamute dogs.  We get to the chalet and check in and also pay for the twin otter flight, that charge stung a bit. I ask Judi how far it is to town as we have stuff to see and we’d like to have dinner at Alestine’s. Judi says she can drive us there in about 20 minutes as it’s about 3km from her place.  She also says Alestine’s fills up pretty fast as it’s small. I ask if I could perhaps run with some of her dogs as they have a little trail they’ve built up behind their place.  You see, everything is very wet in Inuvik so it’s not very easy to get around in the summer months.  She says feel free to ask the girls that look after the dogs and they’ll set me up (recall vomiting French girl).  I decide I’ll do this in the morning. We quickly drop our stuff off at our cabin, which was really nice and get ready to head to town!   

These are the dogs I might get to run with

Judi drops us at Alestine’s and we were lucky as we get 2 of four remaining seats. Alestine’s place is cool.  She does the cooking in a modified school bus and the restaurant is in a little detached building that holds about 12 people total.  She specializes in the “catch of the day”.  Today’s catch was some kind of whitefish.  I opted for the fish tacos.  They were very very good.  Now if you’re familiar with First Nations, you will know about bannock.  I am a bannock fan, especially fried bannock (who wouldn’t like deep fried bread).  Alestine had her version of fried bread for dessert and I had to have some.  She typically dressed it up with dream whip and sprinkles, but I asked for just the fried bread with some sugar on the side.  It was so good.  

We then ventured into town and hit the local grocery store just to get a sense of how expensive everything was in this place.  Things were terribly expensive.  We bought a small instant coffee, like micro small, and it cost over $5. There wasn’t a huge selection of things and bananas were not the greenish yellow I like, they were nearly all brown. I recall a bag of chips cost $8. Considering the distance groceries have to be trucked in I can see why they were so expensive. We then found the round church and got our bearings for the Art Festival happening in town.  We’d do that before our afternoon flight tomorrow.  I also saw on Facebook there was an Arctic Market happening tomorrow.

We caught a cab back to the Arctic Chalet and I made Jay walk the trail with me located behind the main lodge.  It was about 1km one way.  I’ve never ever ever experienced mosquitoes like I experienced on that trail.  I will never forget that.  Jay doesn’t “walk” with me ever and I doubt he ever will again. The one time he agrees, he gets completely attacked by mosquitoes.

Us getting swarmed

After our pleasant speed-walk back to the cabin we settled in for the night. Of course we had to chase around and kill a few rogue mosquitoes that got in with us. I then laid out tomorrow’s plan with husband: get to the recreation centre to see the art show, hit the arctic market, get to the airport. Easy peasy.

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Day 7 of the 12 Days of Yukon

On Day 6 I neglected to tell you I had dropped into two information centres. First I hit the NWT information centre. I asked the lady there, “what would you do in Inuvik if you only had 4 hours?”. She told me to see the round church, check out the aquatic centre, and go to Alestine’s for dinner. I made notes. Then I hit the Yukon information centre across the street and asked the info dude there about running trails in the area.  He brought out a little map and pointed out a loop around the town that connected back to the dyke that ran along the river beside town.  I asked him if I should be concerned about bears and he said they could rent me a can of bear spray. Translation, yes, you should be concerned about bears. I explained I had my own bear spray, thanked him for his time and took the map he had highlighted for me.

Now back to the early hours of Day 7. I went off in search of the loop and found it after asking for directions from a guy walking his dog. The loop was pretty cool as it went behind town up on the slope where all the prospectors had set up camp around the town in it’s two year hay-day (I’ve included a photo way below that shows you what town looked like then).  You could see evidence of old garbage (cans and bottles)  as well as some rock foundations.  I then ran past moose hide slide.  There’s a bit of a neat story to that slide so check out the link if you have time.

I really liked this little sign along the trail. It made me miss Kobi more.
View from the back of the loop
Another view along the trail
Moose Hide Slide

After my run around town and before heading back to the hotel, I ran to a bakery and purchased the most delicious sticky bun I’ve ever eaten, a loaf of bread (because I threw my other 7 dollar loaf of bread), and some other dessert-like treat I can’t recall thanks to the sticky bun that I still dream about.  We went back to the Alchemy Cafe for breakfast (second breakfast for me) and I had the most delicious cold brew coffee.

This is what it looked like back in the old times (photo credit Parks Canada, Klondike National Historical Sites)

I had been working on convincing husband that we needed to drive at least part of the Dempster Highway and he finally conceded. We drove to Tombstone Park, about 70km up the Dempster.  Holy doodle, what a cool place, but what a lot of people!  I wasn’t expecting that.  It was also kind of smoky from the fires.  We got to the interpretation centre and I asked a helpful staff person where there was a shortish trail that I could run in 30 minutes so as not to annoy my husband too much.  She didn’t laugh, but took my request very seriously. She provided me with directions to this perfect trail and off we drove a little ways up the Dempster. We found the side road and parked where it ended. It was pretty off the beaten path, so much so, that once I started running, I lost the trail.  Then I saw a caribou carcass, freaked out and started running back to the truck. Then I experienced a severe leg cramp and hobbled the rest of the way back.  It was a short run.

This was the trail that just ended
That’s the Dempster down below

Apparently July 2019 was the driest the Dempster had ever been. Perhaps that’s why there were so many fires happening too.

We proceeded back to Dawson City and hit the museum and walked around town a bit more checking out the historic sites. There was also a music festival happening over the weekend so a lot of bands were coming to town and you could hear lots of bands practicing or doing sound checks. I realized I was old at this point as I mostly found it loud.

Robert Service’s former cabin.

For dinner we hit the hotel restaurant and I had arctic char, again! This is my all time favourite fish. After dinner we headed back to the hotel to get organized for our morning flight to Inuvik the next day. We’d be staying overnight at the Arctic Chalet in Inuvik – the place that Judi the Herschel Island tour organizer ran. I had only brought a small day pack with me so it was a bit tricky packing everything I’d need for one night into a very small bag considering I was packing warm gear for Herschel Island, just in case.


Day 6 of the 12 Days of Yukon

I’m sure you’ve all been anxious to continue reading about my 12 day adventure. Perhaps many of us have a bit more spare time on our hands right now too thanks to COVID-19. In case you need something to do, here is some reading for you. Oh, and here’s Day 5 in case you need a refresh.

Day 6 is now Wednesday of the northern adventure.  After a pretty amazing breakfast at a little place called the Alchemy Cafe we (more like I), looked into getting to Inuvik via air vs. driving the Dempster.  Turns out Air North has ridiculously inexpensive flights daily from Dawson City to Inuvik.  

I called Judi from Arctic Chalets and reviewed options once we got to Inuvik.  She needed one more person for the Herschel Island trip or it would cost a bit more than 1000 bucks each (ouch).  I confirmed with her that Air North had a pretty consistent record of arriving on time so we would fly in Friday and she’d pick us up and whisk us to the hangar next door for our Twin Otter flight to Herschel.  Easy Peasy (or Plan FFS).

After all the travel organizing was done we did some exploring around Dawson City.  It’s pretty easy to get around by foot and there are so many cool historic sites to see.  Husband had heard that Dredge #4 was a pretty cool tour.  I looked at tour times and noticed we had over an hour before the next tour so I said lets go to Dome Hill.  We drove up and around to a pretty spectacular view point.  Turns out there was a run up this mountain on Saturday.  Sadly I would miss it because of Inuvik.  

Nice view of Dawson City from Dome Hill

After the Dome, we drove and drove to Dredge #4 and partook of the tour.  Our tour guide was Sue and she assured me the washroom facilities were the second best in Dawson City.  They were pretty decent.  I should note that Sue looked tough enough to have thrived during the goldrush.  She was cool. 

Here are some other stand-outs from this tour: a large pincher beetle landed on me at the start of the tour and it took every ounce of will power not to bust into Matrix style kung-fu trying to fling it off, there was a young child that had absolutely no interest in the tour and screamed his head off the entire time, there was a family with two little girls and the one young girl mistook me for her mom and grabbed my hand during the tour only to nearly break into Matrix style kung-fu when she realized I wasn’t her mom (that was awkward), and our tour guide Sue had a giant gold nugget in her pocket worth about $1500.

If you’re interested in details about Dredge #4, please Google it as there’s a lot of really interesting stuff about it. I will however note some highlights.  Dredge# 4 was built in 1912 and was the last working dredge in Dawson City. It operated until 1959 (with some ups and downs along the way) and sadly paid it’s staff the same wages up until then as it did back in 1913 – about 5 bucks a day (to get to go deaf).  It was 8 storeys high and pulled a lot of gold out of the ground over its 46 years, 9 tons actually.  A dredge digs down about 60 feet and all the gravel and rocks go through some screens and get spit out the back.  Hence all the caterpillar like gravel formations all over the area.  Talk about hard on the environment.  This dredge was abandoned and recently restored, minus a few cool parts that were stolen.  

Dredge #4

After the dredge tour we headed back to town and checked out the museum, but decided we didn’t have enough time so we’d save that for tomorrow.

Stay tuned for Day 7. It’s nearly ready, I promise.


Day 5 of the 12 Days of Yukon

This is the day where things really started to get fun.  

We packed the trailer up, again, dropped it off at the RV place to store and we hit the road.  An hour into the drive husband says, “why don’t we just fly to Tuk?”.  This statement was equivalent to tasting chocolate for the first time.  How on earth did we not think of this earlier??

I tell husband this is the best idea he’s ever had and then say, “how about you make the arrangements?”.  Mostly because I had spent three hours booking hotels and making lists the previous day and I’m a little bit peeved about having to cancel all these arrangements.  

I start skimming through one of the many travel guides we have in the truck and come across a place, Arctic Chalet, that says it does flights to Tuk. There was another company listed as well.  Husband makes a call to Arctic Chalet and speaks to Judi.  Husband is talking, actually getting talked to by Judi.  As he’s talking I try to interrupt and say, “ask her if she’s in Inuvik”.  He gives me the hand.  I say this again.  He gives me the hand again.  I’m sure you know the gesture I’m talking about.  I interpret it as “I got this.”  Then husband is asked where we’re staying and asks me.  I rattle off the name of a place that I thought was in Dawson City, but it was actually an Inuvik hotel.  This did not help.  Husband is still talking to Judi, but now they’re talking about flying to Herschel Island.  If she can get a few more people we could go tomorrow.  We’re having that sort of conversation that I dislike, the one where the person on the phone is just giving you bits of what’s being discussed.

Husband asks me if I’m cool with going to Herschel and I say sure.  He gives her our credit card number and says to Judi, “see you tonight.”  We think we’re flying to Herschel Island – from Dawson City.  

We continue driving to Dawson City.  A few red flags are apparent from this conversation:  

  1. husband did say we were driving in today from Whitehorse.  Judi should’ve done the math, there’s no way you can drive to Inuvik from Whitehorse in 6 hours.  More like 20-22 hours. 
  2. Husband did not confirm where the Arctic Chalet was located (arctic is a bit of a hint), he assumed it was in Dawson City.   
  3. He was told the flight to Herschel Island was only 1 hour.  Looking at the map, I was astonished as to how fast one could get to Herschel Island from Dawson City (it’s far far away from Dawson City) on a twin otter.

Husband called one other place that said they flew to Tuk and left a message as no one answered the phone.  I made a call to a listed Dawson City tour operator and asked about flights to Tuk, she told me catch a Yukon Air flight to Inuvik and talk to Randy at some air line. Another red flag.  For the rest of the drive we had ourselves convinced it was going to be super easy to fly from Dawson City to Tuk or Herschel Island.  I chose to ignore the red flags and the little nagging voice.  

The perfect distraction along the way was a little lodge/campground called Moose Creek Lodge.  They sold cool stuff and had homemade tarts: butter tarts, blueberry tarts, raspberry tarts and strawberry tarts.  I bought six and ate 4 before we even got to Dawson City (the only thing I’m good at pacing at is 100m lengths in the pool). If I ever finish the 12 days, I should write a post on how to lose 6lbs in 3 weeks with a running injury.

The weather was pretty nice too

We get to Dawson City and I pull into the information centre (I’m driving at this point).  We go in and I find the first staff person who will make eye contact with me.  The first thing I ask her is,  “where is the Arctic Chalet?”.  She says, “Inuvik”.  I look at husband and say, “I TOLD YOU!”.  The lady at the info centre burst out laughing.  I leave the centre very fast as I’m pretty livid.  All I’m thinking is why didn’t he ask what town the Arctic Chalet was located in.  I tell him to call and cancel our flight.  For some reason I’m pretty paranoid Judi is going to take my credit card number and make a lot of personal purchases with it.  Husband calls Judi back and explains he thought she was in Dawson City and cancels all our flights.  We get into the truck and drive to the hotel (basically just around the block). 

We get all our crap unloaded and wander around a bit.  Dawson City is pretty cool.  Very historic.  We eventually go for dinner and I have arctic char again.  By this time we can laugh (sort of) about what happened, although I’m still feeling superior and  thinking that if I had made the call, I would’ve known the Arctic Chalet is in Inuvik.  Because I would have asked!

You can go here if you’ve forgotten the previous day.


Day 4 of the 12 Days of Yukon

Day 3 is here if you need to refresh your memory.

Monday morning husband contacted a few RV places.  The first place couldn’t look at our trailer until Thursday, but he found another who said come by now.  Off we went.  Well actually, it wasn’t that simple because it’s a trailer.  First you have to put all your shit away so it doesn’t fall all over the place and then re-connect to the truck.  Eventually, “off we went”.  We found the RV place and then proceeded to quiz the RV repair tech (who just caulked around the windows for us) about driving to Tuk and he said “don’t take a new trailer down the Dempster.”  We asked if they stored trailers and they did. I think that’s called serendipity.

We then decided we were going to drive to Tuk – without the trailer (Plan E).  We’d spend two nights in Dawson City, boot it up to Inuvik in one day, then to Tuk and back to Eagle Plains the next day and then back to Dawson City.  Boom, easy (or so it seemed).  Three hours on the phone later, I had finally booked all the rooms on all the desired dates in all the desired locations.  We’d put Plan E into effect tomorrow.  Now keep in mind that I had to call numerous hotels/motels/lodges in three different communities (Dawson City, Inuvik and Eagle Plains – equates to 3 x 6) to find ones that had availability.  I wrote down all the names of the establishments in all the towns where we’d be staying (there was actually only one choice in Eagle Plains).  

Now we needed to purchase food, but not too much.  I noted that we had a loaf of bread (still the same 7 dollar loaf was with us) so just some pre-packaged Uncle Ben’s rice for variety and stuff to make sandwiches with my expensive bread.

With our remaining time, we visited the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre, Yukon Transportation Museum, Miles Canyon, and I ate a box of some pretty amazing locally made chocolates as well as more arctic char.

Now onto a more sombre note.  I didn’t even want to talk about this, but it happened while we were travelling and had an impact on our trip and lives. It was on this day, that husband learned via social media that two bodies had been found just before the Liard Hotsprings.  This was surreal as that sort of stuff doesn’t happen up here.  There weren’t a lot of details, but a young couple had been found dead.  This was just horrible news.


Day Three of the 12 Days of Yukon

Go here if you need to refresh yourself on Day 2 (I know, this is taking way too long).

We were now executing Plan B: get to Dawson City as fast as possible and lolly gag on the way back to see all the sites. 

It’s now the morning of Day 3 and the rain had stopped and the sun was shining.  Everything in the front of the trailer was soaking wet.  We propped all the dinette pillows and the mattress topper (which weighed a ton) in interesting angles to speed up drying. I realized that we would now need an extra day in Whitehorse.  Husband (the individual formerly known as Mr X read my last post and said please don’t refer to me as Mr X) did some further investigation and noticed large gaps on the side of the front windows.  Not a levelling issue, more a quality control issue.   We needed to speak to the RV place to determine what course of action we could take for warranty purposes.  It was Sunday.  We might need more than one extra day in Whitehorse – Plan C.  I do what any normal person would do in this situation, I went for a run and let husband stew over the RV warranty and wet bedding. 

I stopped at the campground office first and enquired about running trails and local predators in the area.  He pointed me in the direction of a trail I vaguely recalled from several years back when I ran the Whitehorse half marathon.  I made my way towards downtown and found a very secluded single track trail.  It was amazing, but also unnerving as trails like this can offer many opportunities for surprise encounters with large predators and I didn’t have my early predator detection system (Kobi) with me.  I eventually popped out at a beautiful viewpoint a little ways up from Miles Canyon.  I decided to run the road back as the trail had me a bit freaked out.

Miles Canyon is way off to the top right

Once I got back, husband had the laundry mostly dried and had contacted the dealer who said find an RV place and get a tech to fix it.  That would be tomorrow. 

There are far worse places to be stuck.  Whitehorse is a pretty nice place.  I would live there actually.  We went for brunch at an awesome place called Burnt Toast.  Then we went to Canadian Tire to buy a tarp and Walmart to buy toiletries husband forgot to bring along.  We bumped into the same Fort Nelson friends as the night before.  They were grabbing some last minute provisions for their drive to Tuktoyaktuk.  We got all pumped about doing the same thing (hello Plan D).  I also learned there was a grizzly bear sighting around Miles Canyon that morning.  Recall I had been running around on secluded trails near Miles Canyon. 

We went to the Dirty Northern Bastard for dinner that night where I enjoyed a most delicious arctic char main course.  When in the north, I would strongly encourage you to eat nothing but arctic char.  

I should also note that prior to this trip, I developed an issue in my left knee.  It was quite painful to run downhill and I couldn’t bend my knee all the way.  Sitting for long periods of time was also proving very very painful.  I chose to ignore this because that is how you make injuries go away.  I also figured a slight decrease in mileage would make it go away.  

Stay tuned for Day 4 adventures.


Day Two of the 12 Days of Yukon

I can’t believe how long it’s taking me to get these posts completed. If you’ve forgotten about Day 1, it is here. Day 1 will link you to the prequel too.

We departed the picturesque parking lot of the hotsprings early and were on our way. The goal was Whitehorse with a stop in Watson Lake to check out the sign post forest. Has to be done.

While I was driving to Watson Lake (it was my turn to drive) I had thought it might be a good idea to make a reservation at an RV park in Whitehorse considering our luck finding a spot at the Hot Springs the night before.  Of course I thought of this where there was no cell service (pretty much the entire way to Watson Lake) and hoped I’d remember to do this once I had cell service again.  Of course I forgot.  We even stopped in Watson Lake and took some shots of the signpost forest and picked up fuel. 

The sign post forest is huge! This is just one small part.

I remembered about 10 minutes out of Watson Lake as cell service was declining and asked Mr X to make the call (because I was driving).  He declined (he dislikes having to make plans and organize things) so I had to pull over and make the call.  I called what appeared to be a nice RV park based on the ads (Hi Country RV) and after some negotiating (more like begging), they saved us their overflow spot that had power and water connections.  Phew.  

Shortly after the call, I stopped at a small rest area and RV park called the Baby Nugget or something like that.  In the ads it said they sold amazing pastries and fancy coffee.  The fancy coffee turned out to be a programable machine and when I asked for an Americano the girl looked at the machine and read off everything it could make.  Americano was not one of the things it could make.  She looked at me oddly and I said not to bother (I could’ve said espresso and add water, but I was feeling somewhat snooty).  The pastries didn’t look very home made either so I opted for a 7 dollar loaf of whole wheat bread.  This bread becomes somewhat symbolic later on.

Six plus hours later we made it to Whitehorse.  That took way longer than it should have because we stopped at a few too many rest stops.

One of the many stops on the way. There were several fires causing this smoke haze.

We finally got to Whitehorse later that day and found Hi Country RV (after one drive-by) and our little overflow camping spot.  It was quite pretty and private.  I really liked this RV park.  

We met some friends for dinner at a cool little place called Klondike Rib and Salmon. It’s a very cool and very old building. While waiting for our table we literally ran into some Fort Nelson friends on the street who were travelling to Tuk. So random.

After dinner we headed back to the little trailer and settled in for the night.  I took the queen sized bed at the back of the trailer and Mr X took the eating area converted to sleeping area at the front as we both need our sleeping space.  That night it rained, as in the skies opened and it poured rain in such volumes it felt a little biblical.   Thanks to the rain and the fact that Mr X was sleeping in the eating area, he  discovered that the windows at the front of the trailer leaked badly, very badly.  I woke up hearing Mr X heading in and out of the trailer. It was about 12:30 am (so technically Day 3) and because we’re inexperienced travel trailerers I had Mr X convinced the water was pouring in because the trailer wasn’t level.  Mr X tried levelling it and it didn’t help.  We stuffed towels around the windows and went back to bed. We didn’t have a tarp.  Who needs a tarp?


Day One of the 12 Days of Yukon

Finally, I am posting the start of my epic northern Canadian travel adventure that happened in July. If you missed the Prequel, just go here. It will set the stage for you.

Just so you know, I did not grow up camping much or travel-trailering.  I recall one tent trailer trip that left me pretty traumatized. As a result, I have no experience and neither does Mr X, but that’s what Google is for.  Based on my “what to take in your trailer” searches, I think I packed everything that was needed. I think.

Plan A: leave on Friday morning and take a short detour down to Boya Lake, spend the night there and then head to Whitehorse the next day. Boya Lake is one of those turquoise blue lakes full of islands. I’ve always wanted to go there. I did not get to go there.

I got this shot off Pinterest.

We weren’t remotely ready in the morning, therefore onto Plan B: leave at 2PM and get to Liard Hotsprings. We got to the Hotsprings campground and low and behold, it was full. I had no clue you should pre-book sites. We opted for the semi-private (I’m joking), beautiful (gravel parking lot) overflow site across the highway with at least 30 other campers. Welcome to camping. Oh, and it was raining.

I got this shot off Trip Advisor. It wasn’t this sunny when we were here.

Rather than cooking inside the trailer and having our neighbours (some girls in a car camping out of the trunk) enjoy our bickering, we opted to eat at the lodge.  Have I mentioned I’m a fussy eater? Pretty much the only thing I would eat off the menu was fish and chips. They seemed a bit freezer burned.

We didn’t even go in the hot springs because I’m spoiled. If there are more than 10 people present and it’s not a winter month, I don’t like going in. The springs were jam packed full of people (maybe because the campground was full and the overflow was nearly full too). It was nice to walk around and check things out regardless.

Needless to say, it was an early night. I took the queen sized bed option half of the trailer and Mr X opted to sleep on the kitchen table/bed as we both like our space.

Stay tuned, Day 2 will be posted soon. This trip just kept getting better.


12 Days of Yukon – The Prequel

Greetings after a long absence!

This post is the prequel to even more posts (to follow later) about my summer adventures while travelling in the Yukon and Northwest Territories.  But first, I need to set things up for you so you know how it all began.

About 22 months ago I decided I wanted to take some time away from work.  My employer has a “Deferred Salary Program”.  They deduct 10-35% of your salary each pay cheque and after X number of months you have saved up enough to take 6 to 12 months off while receiving full pay.  I went for it.  Well, it wasn’t as simple as “I went for it”, but I’m trying to keep the word count manageable.

It took me 1 year and 7 months of deductions to save enough to take 6 months off work starting June 1.  What’s kind of significant about this date is that it’s the month before I turn half a century.  It’s also the same time that Kobi, my intrepid wing-girl, turns half a century in dog years.  We will be 50 together for 3 months of Kobi’s life.  How cool is that.

During the last three months of work I was doing some loose planning about things I’d like to do while off.  Mostly I just wanted to not work, which really seemed to surprise people when they asked what my plans were.  You see, I’ve never really liked “working”, but because I like wearing Arc’teryx clothes and insist on driving a Jeep (yes, I drive a Jeep because cool outdoorsy people drive Jeeps), I need an income to support these habits.  I’d love it if I could get paid tons of money to showcase my average running skills with my epically cool Rez dog, but unfortunately being average doesn’t draw the attention of high paying sponsorships.  I’m also not particularly entrepreneurial or highly driven so I’ve never landed a job that didn’t feel like work.  I do have a job that I like so I’m not going to complain, besides, they let you take this much time off and still have a job when you come back!

I’ve digressed.  Besides planning on doing whatever I felt like (after waking up WITHOUT an alarm), I thought maybe a trip to the arctic would be cool.  I told my arctic plan to my partner (who didn’t even have a passport at the time and who I will refer to as Mr X from here on in) and he said that sounded cool and he’d like to go with me.  I was somewhat relieved as I figured it would be me and Kobi sleeping in a tent and occasionally getting a motel.  The thought of sleeping in a tent is fine and dandy, if it remains a thought.  When you’re 50, sleeping in a tent is a sleepless painful night of moving from your back, to left side, to stomach, to right side and back onto your back every 5 minutes as there is no air mattress that can offer comfort to an oldish, somewhat arthritic body.  Don’t even get me going if it should happen to rain.  

I’ve digressed again.  Now that Mr X was on board, we decided a travel trailer was the way to go.  Nothing big, just something practical with a toilet.  A toilet was mandatory.  Pooping in an outhouse is something that has lost it’s appeal – can’t say that has ever been appealing.  Mr X spent weeks researching and we landed on a 16.5’ Forest River, No Boundaries.  It looks outdoorsy and the Jeep could tow it.  

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I thought Kobi would love the trailer

10 days before the planned departure date, the Jeep went to the shop for some minor tweaks for the big trip and sure enough they discovered the entire rear end needed replacing.  That took 9 days to fix and cost a quarter of what the trailer cost.  Off to a good start.  With one day remaining before the big departure, we got the Jeep back and noticed the Jeep didn’t have the right towing electrical plug thingy that would fit the trailer. Plan B, take the one ton dodge diesel.

What you may not be aware of, thanks to my blogging delinquency, is that Kobi has developed some pretty significant travel anxiety.  If you follow me on Instagram (@outdoorrunning) you may be aware of Kobi’s anxiety.  It all started last August, I won’t bore you with the details of the circumstances that led up to it, that’s another blog (or two).  As a result of her anxiety and because my amazing dog sitter/cat sitter/garden waterer was available, Kobi stayed home.  

Now you are all up to date on the events that lead up to the start of the arctic adventure. Stay tuned for the next 12 posts about the actual trip to the Yukon (and NWT). Looking back, I honestly didn’t know travelling could be this “exciting”.

Kobi says, “no way am I going with you on this trip human.”


Spring Hasn’t Sprung

I’ve been thinking of posting for months and then came to the realization that winter would be over by the time I got around to it.  Turns out I was wrong.  It is officially spring and has been for a bit now (at least according to the calendar), but winter hasn’t let go yet.

Rather than writing about my adventures since December, which would take at least 5,000 words, I shall summarize my most memorable moments since my last post in photos.  I’ve had some epic moments this winter too.  Perhaps I just attract epic adventure much like James Bond attracts gorgeous women.  It’s more probable that it’s just a natural consequence of running in the middle of nowhere with wild animals (I’ve had about 3 adventures with wild caribou alone).  One very memorable run involved a 95 lb golden retriever colliding into the side of my friends knee.  Now I know what bones cracking sound like.   She ended up with a compound fracture on her tibial plateau and will be a in a cast for 12 weeks.  Lesson learned from this, be careful when running with dogs.

Okay, now onto the photos…

7 caribou encountered on this run

Quick trip to the mountains

A little mountain trip

Just out running on the lake

Can you tell we like winter?

Out on the lake again (that’s Zola with us)

Kobi is keeping it real (and I’m trying to look all cool)

Our pack out in the middle of nowhere (a week before the knee break)

Kobi really likes the mountains

Girl power

Okay, that’s enough photo enjoyment.

I have no races planned (except Emperor’s Challenge – if I can get in).  My feelings towards races have evolved since my somewhat dysfunctional year and a half long relationship with Wolverine (recall my heel spur), but that’s an entirely separate post (or series of posts).

As I was closing this post, Kobi showed up at the door with a part of a white tail deer (it’s tail of all things).  I suspect some larger predators had a meal at the expense of the poor deer.  Life in the wild is harsh.  See, I do live an exciting life.

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Cricket is suggesting I not let that in the house

Has spring sprung where you are or is that still up for debate?

Should I have let Kobi in with the body part?  

Which photo is your favourite?