Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Journey Outside and Back

The past 10 days feel more like 30. From knowing we would have to make a dash to Ontario, to doing it and being there, and back again: it's gone by so fast, and yet seemed like forever.

Each time we make the journey Outside (of the Yukon, that is), I am struck by just how remote we are here. As we speed along the winding highway carved out of a vast boreal forest, sometimes seeing nothing else moving but grouse for hours, I can't help but reflect on what this journey would have meant a mere 60 years ago. In winter, it would have meant more than a week on a dogsled, food packed for dogs and people alike, first aid kits, an ax, and your luggage; nights in little log-cabin roadhouses or canvas tents pitched under the flickering aurora. In short, this is not a trip one would have made lightly.

I am grateful that we can answer the call of family, that we are able to make it out of here with relative ease when we are needed. We take these things for granted: pick-up trucks with block heaters, paved highways and government crews to maintain them.

Thankfully, all is well back east.

Our drive home yesterday was mostly uneventful: while P and Aedan both slept, I slowed the truck as we passed a pair of elk at the forest's edge. A little further down the road, we bumped over a glacier that had appeared across the highway in the week since we'd made the trip down. It was a colour of blue that is curiously common only to thick, glacial ice and the Caribbean sea.

We arrived to find the house in a state, though...the housesitter had caught a whiff of propane (the pilot light had gone out on the propane fridge, but she didn't realize this) so she'd cracked open a door and then forgot about said cracked door...it was -10 C in here. The 3 jugs of water she'd left us were frozen solid, as was all of the food in the cupboards. The food in the freezer, however, was all thawed, because the pilot light went out. It was not a nice homecoming. It took about 4 hours to raise the temperature 20 degrees.

In the face of things like this, I count our blessings. A safe drive home. A fire that was still going (it could have been much colder inside if not for that). Groceries brought from Whitehorse. An incredibly adaptable baby who thought it was fun to toddle around the house in his parka.

The house is toasty now, we've opened our stockings and had blueberry pancakes for breakfast, using the last of the blueberries I harvested at summer's end.

It's good to be home, to slip back into the rhythm of my days.


  1. Welcome back to the Yukon and Merry Christmas!!

    Dang about the house though! I hope you didn't lose too much overall.

    1. Thanks, merry Christmas to you and your family, too!

      We were lucky, didn't lose all that much. Close call, though!

  2. I've missed your blog. So glad you're home safely. Your life seems like one long adventure compared to my mine. Thanks so much for sharing. Merry Christmas and happy New Year!


    1. Melanie, thank you so much for reading! Merry Christmas and happy new year to you, too!


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