Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Saturday June 20, 1998 - Yukon

Snafu Lake, from my bed in the back of the truck
Tatchin Creek - sunny to overcast

I woke at Snafu Lake to a fabulous view of the lake. But on the other side of my truck was a little Boler trailer, blocking the way out of my campsite. It must have arrived after I went to sleep. I had a leisurely breakfast of oatmeal and around 10.30 am said goodbye to Ray and Laurena who were headed out. We exchanged home addresses and they invited me to come visit them in Victoria when I got back from my cross-Canada trip. That felt far more complete than at Boya Lake and I haven't felt any regret or sadness since. They were keeping Sparky very close by because there was a large eagle that appeared to have its eye on the little dog. After Atlin they were going to Whitehorse to a clinic to get Ray's lungs checked out, he's been wheezing a lot which he blames on the cottonwood pollen. Then they were going to go to Alaska. Laurena thought we might run into each other again in Inuvik since we both hoped to go there.

The two women in the little Boler trailer did not get up until after Ray and Laurena had left. I chatted with them for a while and ended up exchanging addresses with them as well. They are teachers in Whitehorse and this is the last week of school. On Friday night they decided that they would go kayaking in Atlin over the weekend. But they didn't leave Whitehorse until after 1 am and arrived at Snafu Lake around 3 am. They also liked the campsite on the sandy hilltop and proceeded to back into it with the trailer, nearly hitting my truck which they didn't see there until the last moment. I slept through it and they decided to just stay there rather than find another spot. They showed me around their trailer, it had a double bed which converted to a dinette, a couch and a kitchenette. Very cute. They bought it in Ontario for $3000.

The old Montague Roadhouse on the Klondike Highway
After the women had their breakfast and were ready to leave I was able to get out too and head back up to Whitehorse. I got gas and headed up the Klondike Highway for Dawson.

Yukon River, from the Klondike Highway
Around 5.30 pm I stopped at Tatchun Creek, just past Carmacks. Almost immediately the two women in the next campsite, Charlotte and Nona, came over to ask for bug spray. Then they came back with beer. I met their two dogs, Snorri and Elsinor and got the tour of their trailer which was similar to the Boler at Snafu Lake. It was a Glendale which they bought for $500. They are on the Klondike Highway road crew, chipsealing the highway. Chipseal is a stabilized gravel road with a lot of calcite in it (which rots steel the same way road salt does). Charlotte is from Tagish and Nona from Carcross but in the summer they work on the road crew and live where they work. Right now they are working on the section of highway between Carmacks and Dawson.

Nona and Charlotte went across the highway to walk the dogs along the Yukon River. After I had my supper I headed down to the river too and found them with a couple of young German campers sharing their beer in honour of the summer solstice. The bugs were bad. At one point we heard a rockfall on a loose gravel and sand slope further down the river. Charlotte and Nona debated whether it was spontaneous or caused by someone or something walking on the cliff. A canoe went by, part of a race from Skagway to Dawson, and we greeted them. They must have wondered about five people on the shore in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere.

Later we went back to camp, Nona crashed and Charlotte and I stayed up till 3 am talking around the fire. Charlotte lives alone in a log cabin she built in Tagish Lake. She's very independent and prides herself on being an eccentric Yukoner. She had a black eye acquired the day before at a baseball game. I gather this has been an intense week for her between that, crashing into the chipper truck, and an altercation with the boss's girlfriend. At 3 am Nona got up and they had their supper of sausage, hotdogs and salad. then we all went to bed, around 5 am. It's so easy to stay up late because of the light; it seemed a little dim but I had no idea of the time.

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