With four months of unemployment upon us now, off we went hiking and camping along the snow-free sections of the South Klondike Highway. For a week we enjoyed blinding blue skies and an alpine a-bloom with violet crocuses, mountain forget-me-nots and arnica and nesting ptarmigan. We spied two nanny goats with very young kids resting and feeding on the only grassy knoll along the steep cliffs. The first of the swallowtail butterflies mud-puddled and fluttered beneath our feet. Being unemployed means we get to play during the week while everyone else toils at work. We have the silence of the mountains, lakes, rivers and campsites to ourselves.
And while we are out in the mountains without responsibilities of any kind I can imbibe in some Nova Scotia caramel hooch with breakfast while sitting on the shore of Tutshi Lake. A mouse scuttles in the soapberry bushes behind me and a belted kingfisher fishes from a branch above the eddy across from me while red-breasted mergansers fly upstream, ignoring both the kingfisher and me. It’s quite a lovely way to spend a morning as John cooks up breakfast and boils tea. I have very few complaints.
The rest of our week was quintessential Yukon wilderness travel: getting snorted at by caribou, watching Dall sheep travel across scree slopes, black bears graze the first of the green grasses and fresh grizzly bear and wolf tracks in the mud let us know that large beasts roam the hillsides not far ahead. There was so much wildlife to help remind us of our insignificance.
Life in the mountains is so much quieter, calmer, saner. What a shame that we build our cities to scream and rush and yell.