crocuses & caribou


We stopped crossing the Klondike River last week. It was rotting and punchy, and now, the Dawson rumour mill has it, as of this morning, the Klondike has broken. Seagulls were spotted nearly a week ago, so according to Dawson lore, it is right on schedule. This time of year is exciting, everyone has theories to help them best predict the date of the Yukon River breakup. The local chapter of the Imperial Order of The Daughters of the Empire (IODE) run a guessing pool each year. Official breakup is recorded when a tripod set up in the middle of the river moves, pulling a cord and triggering a clock and the town fire sirens. Guesses need to be close, to the minute. The winner gets half of the pot, thousands of dollars, while the other  half goes to the IODE, who gives it back to the community, families who need to travel for medical treatments, or who are otherwise in need. Everyone buys a ticket. When there is word the river is moving offices close, and the dike is filled with onlookers. Whole afternoons are spent watching the river, speculating as to its next move. My bet is that the Yukon will break over the next 4 days. You can look at daily panoramic photos of the Yukon and make your own guess here.

We’ve been staying at the in-laws, and we’ve been climbing the hill and ridge behind their home each day, searching for crocuses on the well sunned snow free South facing slope. On Saturday, Deuce and Wiley took off running down the hill, we assumed they were after a grouse. Tink appeared a moment later with her hackles up and hid behind my legs. And then we heard it, something big running fast on the other side of the ridge, getting closer

At this time of year, bearanoia sets in. Every black shape, sound, huff, is a bear. We prepared for the worst, and that was when a caribou- something we hadn’t even thought of, came flying over the hill and past us, tearing up the sphagnum on its way. I think it is always exciting to see a caribou, but it is particularly exciting to see a Caribou in this particular place. The Forty Mile Herd has just started to make its way back into its traditional summer and winter ranges after being nearly decimated in between 1920 and 1974.IMG_6386

We spent hours this weekend strolling, exploring, perching on outcrops and peering at the valley below. It feels good to be outside in the sun. While we miss our property, and are eager to get back across the Klondike and back to work, this is a welcome break, and a great reason to stroll and explore without the nagging feeling that we should be building our home.

The crocuses haven’t appeared yet on this particular hill, but I’m sure they won’t be long. I hope things are green and bursting wherever you are!