Back In The Cold Embrace Of The Yukon Winter

It is a difficult transition, to reach the end of an adventure and return to work. After eight months of sauntering and wandering, it is time to work and save our pennies for the next adventure, just four months away. Click here if you’re curious about that adventure.

It is cold and dark this time of year. The nights seem to stretch on, unending. A typical 9 to 5 job means arriving to work in the dark, missing the stunning 10:30am sunrises over the surrounding hills. The sun sets long before the workday ends. The sun holds little warmth. But the woods are charming to stroll in. The chickadees sing, the red squirrels sit in the sun atop their midden. While we fight to keep our hands warm on late night walks the northern lights dance – flickers of green and crimson and violet above us. A coyote might pass by while the rest of the forest remains silent.

We sport frosted eyelashes, rosy cheeks and runny noses. -35C nips at exposed skin. The dry snow crunches and squeaks under each footfall. The forests are silent, no fresh tracks but our own in the snow. Ursus major, the Big Dipper, the North Star, they all shimmer on clear night. The northern lights dance.

We may no longer be in the warm embrace of the Utah or California desert but we have frosty forests and northern lights to embrace.

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-30C Won’t Keep Us Inside

It may be -30C during the day and we may only be getting five hours of sunlight but it is definitely worth all the effort of getting dressed in layers and layers of wool and down and fleece and going outside into the woods, into the mountains. The recent snowfall made wildlife tracks easier to read, easy to follow.

Some nights we scramble up hillsides in search of northern lights. One evening, instead of the aurora we watched an orange moon set behind the mountains. Once sleepiness settled in we hiked home through the spruce forest, headlamps casting eerie shadows. The yellow eyes of a lynx reflected back at us and moved silently around us to sat hidden in the thickets, watching us.  The lynx was so capable of slinking around us silently and perfectly capable of watching us stare into the darkness.

With these long nights trail runs cure my cabin fever. My legs spin over the icy trails and snowshoe hares scatter from my path and any self-doubt that might be gnawing at me ebbs. My mind quiets as it zeros in on my breathing. By the time I make it home, I’m soaring on endorphins and the sun is rising.

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Our wanderings in the woods and hillsides have been less than “epic” this winter but sometimes that is what the mind needs most, calmness and quiet, time for reflection.

 

 

 

 

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