Yukon Johann and GrizzLee arrived back to the USA on August 5th. Our odometer tells that we have driven nearly 6000 miles since leaving Seattle on June 23rd.
The drive from Grand Cache to Hinton and then through Jasper towards Tete Juane Cache was amazing. It rained off and on a great deal. It felt good and the Canadians were rejoicing about the rain as this year has been one of worst years for forest fires yet up there.
The last day we found ourselves at the base of Mt Robson, the largest peak in the Canadian Rockies. Mt Robson has some interesting history and is one of the hardest peaks to climb. Climbers only experience a 10 % success rate.
After that we had a rainy drive through Valemount along the Thompson River all the way to Kamloops. We could spot some glaciers along the way and we drove along the east side of Wells Gray Park. The road is a scenic wonder that we will take again --- Perhaps when we head back up to Bowron Lakes again next year. From Kamloops, we drove through familiar territory back to the Canadian/US border where the rain subsided and we found ourselves in sunshine.
Reflecting on The Trip
Some have asked us why do we do such things. The quick answer I suppose is to say, "Because its there". However, I'd like to think these inspirational words from Mark Twain and Robert Service give more profound reasons.
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain
The Call of the Wild
Have you gazed on naked grandeur where there’s nothing else to gaze on,Set pieces and drop-curtain scenes galore,Big mountains heaved to heaven, which the blinding sunsets blazon, Black canyons where the rapids rip and roar?Have you swept the visioned valley with the green stream streaking through it,Searched the Vastness for a something you have lost?Have you strung your soul to silence?Then for God’s sake go and do it;Hear the challenge, learn the lesson, pay the cost.
Have you wandered in the wilderness, the sagebrush desolation,The bunch-grass levels where the cattle graze?Have you whistled bits of rag-time at the end of all creation,And learned to know the desert’s little ways?Have you camped upon the foothills,have you galloped o'er the ranges,Have you roamed the arid sun-lands through and through?Have you chummed up with the mesa?Do you know its moods and changes?Then listen to the Wild -- it’s calling you.
Have you known the Great White Silence,not a snow-gemmed twig a quiver?(Eternal truths that shame our soothing lies).Have you broken trail on snowshoes? mushed your huskies up the river,Dared the unknown, led the way, and clutched the prize?Have you marked the map’s void spaces, mingled with the mongrel races,Felt the savage strength of brute in every thew?And though grim as hell the worst is,can you round it off with curses?Then hearken to the Wild -- it’s wanting you.
Have you suffered, starved and triumphed,groveled down, yet grasped at glory,Grown bigger in the bigness of the whole?"Done things" just for the doing, letting babblers tell the story,Seeing through the nice veneer the naked soul?Have you seen God in His splendors,heard the text that nature renders?(You'll never hear it in the family pew).The simple things, the true things, the silent men who do things --Then listen to the Wild -- it’s calling you.
They have cradled you in custom,they have primed you with their preaching,They have soaked you in convention through and through;They have put you in a showcase; you're a credit to their teaching --But can't you hear the Wild? -- it’s calling you.Let us probe the silent places, let us seek what luck betide us; Let us journey to a lonely land I know.There’s a whisper on the night-wind,there’s a star agleam to guide us,And the Wild is calling, calling. . .let us go. - Robert Service
The Yukon is like a poison . If you get a taste of either her waters, her mountains or the vastness and solitude of the tundra... you will be in trouble immediately. There is no antedote; there is no cure. You'll have to deal with it. Consider this your warning.
Yes, we found ourselves under the spell of the Yukon. As far as the Yukon River is concerned..... well, just read on. GrizzLee has his own thoughts on it.
Just a few miles from the ocean near Skagway, Alaska, the water does something very odd. Water heading downhill doesn't find its way into the ocean immediately. Gathering glacial melt heads down scree covered mountainsides into countless little streams and picking up numerous tributaries along the way. The way it seems, is the same path the natives have taken for thousands of years... a path the miners and steamships have taken. A mighty river forms, running through gold fields, arctic bush while carving a path through a relatively new land before it empties into the Bering Sea. Its beginnings are a mere 15 miles from the ocean, yet it takes a detour and heads inland 2000 miles. The Yukon river starts almost within sight of the cruise ships in Skagway; yet, it defies the odds and nature. Maybe, just maybe, the river wanted to explore and see all it could see, be all it could be, in the north before heading home. Who can blame it. This is our story... our adventure on the river. In the end, we have to agree with the river. The Yukon river is a magical time machine, providing witness of both human history and geological history of the north. At times it is hard to separate them both.
We will be back. You can count on that.