When I first pondered on my dream of driving to Alaska, many folks said, “Take a cruise! That’s the best way to see Alaska,” or, “Why not just fly up!? That’s a long drive through Canada!”
Indeed, it is a very very long drive. Admittedly, for me, that was most of the appeal. Yes, I was excited to make it to the great known-to-be-wild Alaska. But I also knew that when I looked on a map of northern British Columbia and the Yukon Territory, that’s what I called wild. Coastal towns only reachable via boat or maybe a long drive down a questionable road, huge white patches covering vast portions of the map as glaciers, very tall mountain peaks, blue green rivers. THAT looked like paradise to me! These were the places that far less people visited. These wouldn’t be overrun by tourists. How many hidden gems await there? The things of a wilderness-lovers dreams & a city slicker’s nightmares – Grizzlies!
Fast forward a bit & the dream has been achieved. I made the journey through BC & the Yukon to Alaska. Once in Alaska, we admittedly turned around rather fast. We hurried back to the Yukon & BC. The hoards of tourists that Alaska sees are much reduced in these places. And for those of you that know us well, we have a way of seeking out the road less traveled.
We’re currently on another recurring migration northward, as the summer heat peaks in North America. Southern British Columbia seemed more crowded than last time. Also, mudslides & wildfires are wreaking havoc on the land & the routes people want to go. One of our main routes was entirely closed. We had a fun detour, though.
We advanced northward rapidly to get away from the crowds, heat, & other issues. Aah, finally, back into the wild, where I feel a sense of belonging.
And so here I sit on the shores of the Telkwa River. It is a magnificent green color from the suspended silt in the water. It makes a great place to lay, stare up at a green tree with a blue sky behind it, to watch a bald eagle soar across it, read some books we just picked up at a thrift shop about Native Americans & industrialized corn (interestingly very connected topics), & to think about our interconnectedness with everything. This is especially a perfect place for the latter.
As I bask in this place I’d call paradise, Kluane dog turns his nose towards the wind. By the way, the wind is an amazing blessing. You see, I mentioned the wonderful things so far but left out one of the trade offs. Here’s two: very cold water & bugs (namely mosquitoes)! We find good use for the bug net here. When the wind blows, reprieve is found. Now, the question remains – why did Kluane dog turn his nose to the wind, follow the smell, & look so startled. Might it have been a fellow omnivore, the great grizzly? Perhaps we were in his fishing spot. This river still had salmon, albeit not exempt from the troubles salmon, & many associated species, are facing due to humans. Here, we didn’t see a ton of wildlife. We saw one black bear on the way in, who hurriedly ran up a hillside away from us, and one bald eagle. That’s it.
Skies have been on and off clear. When the sun comes out it’s quite hot. Yes, way up here in mid BC, it’s hot!
A few nights ago, the sky had a strange dark cloud, brightened by the orange glow of sunset. I wondered if a wildfire was starting up. So far in BC alone, we heard on the radio, hundreds of wildfires have started just in the last week!!! I read that there have been about 1,500 fires since April in BC and that at least a third, probably more, were caused by humans. That’s a sad statistic. This land is beautiful and should be treated like its sacred. A few hours later, this haze fortunately seemed to have passed. We’re hoping between the fires and mudslides that our route south will be open once we need to head down for the fall. Although, being stuck in such a wonderful place doesn’t sound too bad. The problem is, winter would be a whole different story. I do think winter is still a beautiful paradise in these parts – sparkling snowfields and snow sitting stacked artistically upon horizontal rock layers. The problem for me is the darkness. Although, being a lover of stars and the night sky, not the mention seeing those auroras, it would be pretty spectacular regardless. Maybe some year, we’ll take the winter challenge. For now, we’ll continue to migrate southward while we’re still in the Great Escape. That’s the great thing about this life – you just never know what the future holds. Where might this mighty river of life take me tomorrow? Upon what new shoreline will we land?