Yukon River & Man-flu Troubles

Lots of snow has hit this week, and has transformed the cabin and surrounding area into a winter wonderland. As I sit here writing this it is snowing very heavily outside. I find it very hard to stop myself from belting out Christmas tunes as I alternate staring out the window and tapping away at the keyboard. There is something truly magical about this time of year. It’s like a white carpet has been laid, making everything look so clean and inviting. There is a certain innocence about it as well, which sounds strange as I put it down on paper but that’s how it seems to me.  As well as reminding me of Christmas, it also always makes me think of Narnia. We have been transported into a C.S Lewis novel and I’m waiting for Mr Tumnus to appear by a fir tree and lead me off on an adventure. I would have said by a lamp post, but we don’t have one of them, so it can’t happen.

I have been wondering what to write about the last few days. I tend to go on about log chopping because that pretty much sums up my life here at the moment. So, I thought I’d spice things up a bit with a few life stories, due to the fact all I have done recently is be sick with the worst case of man-flu that has ever happened. That’s right I have been laying on the sofa, in front of a roaring fire, feeling extremely sorry for myself. All the time requesting hot lemon and honey or cups of tea in my weakened state. Today, I must be on the mend as I have mustered the energy to type this out, but don’t tell Kaitlyn as I still want to be waited on for a little longer.

Seeing as we’re in the grips of winter, I thought I’d hark back to warmer times and the June of 2011. It was back then on the 6th June that three friends and I hopped on a plane, flew to the Yukon and attempted to canoe the entire length of the Yukon River. This sounds incredibly corny but being lost in the wilderness, I truly found myself. You probably hear things being said like that all the time. Whenever I heard people say it, I always used to think, “oh shut up you knob.” However, having had my own experience I can say with conviction, that is exactly what happened. I have always been a bit of a daydreamer. I would get obsessions suck in my head, and get stuck in my latest craze. I would throw myself into whatever it was and then within 3 months be bored of it and move onto the next thing. A bit like Toad of Toad Hall in the Wind in the Willows book. My dad referred to me as Toady sometimes as I would do this so much. I had friends who had settled down, had good careers, but I just couldn’t seem to find my path in life. Do you remember being asked as a kid, what do you want to be when you grow up? It would annoy the hell out of me, because I have never been able to answer that question. In fact, I still can’t really. I can tell you things I’d like to do, like write books etc, but with no more than a D in my English GCSE I know I probably won’t make a good living out of it. This won’t stop me trying though. Where am I going with this? Well, in my quest to canoe the Yukon I found something in life I will always love and never get bored of. That is adventure. I know without a shadow of a doubt that whatever I end up being when I grow up, it will revolve around the outdoors, hopefully being sat in a canoe or camping on a mountain side. Preferably writing about it along the way. I am covering all bases by saying working outdoors as I could end up as a road sweep and I would still have succeeded in my dream. Although my trash tales might not be as riveting as I would wish for. Back to the Yukon. If you want to read the whole story I did write a book about the trip, all be it a very short book and not written very well. It was called Up The Yukon Halfway To Nowhere, and is available on most eBook stores. I am actually rewriting it but until then, that’s all you’ve got if you want the whole story.

In the meantime, here is a little taster.

The trip had come about due to wanting to raise funds for charity. We drummed up lots of support and even got the likes of The Queen and Sir Ranulph Fiennes to endorse and send words of encouragement. After months of prepping the day finally came to start the challenge, I had dreamt of this moment since I was a kid. Heading along the historic Yukon River following the paddle strokes of the men and women of the gold rush of 1896-1899. I wasn’t to be disappointed. Dotted along the way were relics of times gone by. Old cabins, trading posts, even an entire abandoned town as well as boats half sunk in the waters. The most impressive thing to me were the remains of the paddle steamers. There was even a paddle steamer jacked up on an island that was left halfway through repair. All amazing remnants from bygone days, when the river was a highway of activity, littered with men and women searching for their fortune. Left now for only the fortunate few who boat along the river, as there is no road access to these sites. We meandered our way down the river, camping on the banks and islands along the way. We got beaten up by mosquitos on several occasions but never once had our spirits dampened. After 500 miles we made it to Dawson City and what an amazing place that is. I felt like I’d walked onto a set of a cowboy film. All wooden buildings, dirt roads and wooden sidewalks. We had canoed back in time. Having found a place to stay, we ventured into town. Quickly we found a drinking establishment, we walked through the saloon doors, leaving them swinging as we marched to the bar. Promptly did a shot of whiskey with some dead man’s toe left in it, (sour toe cocktail) then headed off to the gambling hall to watch can-can girls and lose all our money. An amazing experience and one that I can’t wait to do again. I’m heading back in 2019 so there will be more tales to tell in the future.

yukon
Canoeing on the Yukon River back in 2011

Anyway, for now I will leave it at that. A bit of my canoe story to whet your appetite.

Hopefully next week I will be feeling more alive and able to tell you about an exciting week here in Dome Creek. Until then, I hope you all have a great weekend and I will speak to you all very soon.

 

©Nick Hunter

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