We might not have running water in our cabin but we have plenty of books and podcasts. The crib board has seen quite a bit of use. And we’ve got tunes.
The alcohol won’t stretch out the entire 14 days but the oatmeal cookies will see us through.
We’ve got vegan sausages cooking on the fire, plus tequila for sipping and marshmallows for dessert.
Internet is a fifteen-minute walk away so we are very much living in the moment, in the boreal forest of southern Yukon.
The river flows outside our window, mountains loom beyond. We do not tire of the views as light and shadows shift each moment. No moment is alike. Hopes for glimpses of the northern lights make every midnight run to the outhouse hopeful, despite -20C temperatures.
I cherish this simple life. This quiet time. Sure, I’d rather be backpacking but I have my health and a warm place to shelter. I am lucky.
The Yukon makes it easy to self-isolate. It’s easy to stay at home when its -20C outside.
Below are some observations and thoughts from our days spent in isolation.
Today in the neighbourhood, March 26
A family of four river otters are playing on the ice. A pair of common mergansers are fishing nearby. A pair of ravens are collecting sticks for a nest. A flock of common redpolls are providing the evening’s music. And just as I write this, twenty male common goldeneyes arrive, a single male bufflehead among them.
We must stay away from our human friends but we are still in the company of old friends, the red squirrels, the grey jays, the American dippers.
I have always been able to entertain myself and delight in the subtleties of the outside world. I don’t always need to be hiking, paddling, skiing to enjoy the outdoors. Simply sitting outside is enough for my soul.
Today in the neighbourhood, March 30
Watched a coyote trotting across the frozen river, skirting the open leads, making two trumpeter swans swimming around nervous. And there were ravens having sips of fine Tagish River water, collecting twigs for nests and croaking at us for no apparent reason as they fly by. To live in the northern woods is to be in the company of the wise, curious, mischievous raven. A small herd of eight woodland caribou are feeding in the woods near our cabin, just a fifteen-minute walk down a wooded trail. I adore caribou. Seeing them always makes me smile.
Self-isolation, despite not having Internet or television, in the Yukon is no trial for us when wilderness exists outside the front door.
Today in the neighbourhood, April 7
Today is our last day in self-isolation, our last day at our friends cabin in Tagish. It makes us sad to leave. It’s been delightful to watch spring slowly move in, to watch the migrating birds return, to observe the local wildlife. Today on our hike we ran into the caribou again. We kept our distance so as not to disturb them. We also came across a female moose who seemed fairly unconcerned by our presence. She just continued feeding in the willow thicket. Woodpeckers were rapping on trees and the white-winged crossbills, common redpolls and black-capped chickadees were singing up a storm in the woods.
I will miss the sunrises and watching life along the river. I may have been in isolation but I was not alone. The fourteen days went by too swiftly.