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whitehorse

I spend some days in Whitehorse. The heat-wave continues and I am glad to be off the road.

On my second night in town, Tracy invites me to a dinner at a Mexican restaurant for an early celebration of her birthday. When she arrives home from work, Tracy suggests a swim before dinner and I am as excited as Kita, the resident black Labrador, at the prospect. We drive to the lake in the forest on the outskirts of town. The vehicles of half the population of Whitehorse are parked in the woods and there is a festival atmosphere on the shores of the lake. People are picnicking and soaking up the exceptional sunshine.

Uncommon sun in the Yukon - Whitehorse residents enjoying summer by the lake.

Uncommon sun in the Yukon - Whitehorse residents enjoying summer by the lake.

We arrive at the restaurant only a little late and the evening passes happily in the company of half a dozen women at the restaurant and later for a delicious home-made cake and bubbly white wine back at Priscilla’s apartment.

The following night is another culinary occasion, with a guest for dinner at Tracy’s house. Tracy and Lea come home from work and whip up a quick but scrumptious meal of salmon and avocado rolls (a variation on the Vietnamese fresh spring roll) and a salad with candied pecans. I am designated the role of candying the pecans, which transform a simple salad into something quite luscious.*

During the days, I lounge about the house, making the occasional foray into town to attend to some small adjustments to my bike and minor repairs to my equipment. Tracy is leaving Whitehorse for a two week trip to visit family and asks me if I would like to stay on for a few more days to kitty-sit her aged black and white cat, Sylvester, as Lea is also away for the weekend.  I am very happy to oblige and luxuriate in a house to myself for a while.

Tracy and Sylvester.

Tracy and Sylvester.

I am well looked after by Tracy’s friends in her absence. Chris, from the birthday celebration, is renovating her house and offers me a few hours work scraping lino and glue from the floor. I meet Danusia, Tracy’s neighbour,  while Chris is showing me the wild strawberry patch by the driveway and she invites me to dinner on Saturday night with some friends who also ride bikes.

Everybody knows each other in Whitehorse, it seems, although apparently there are two camps; those who own canoes and those who own ATVs. People who canoe don’t mix with those ride ATVs.

Dinner is at a house out of town on a property overlooking the Yukon, a brighter, greener river here than where I crossed it thousands of kilometres away in Alaska, far north of Fairbanks, cloudy with glacier silt. We scramble down to a wooden landing at the bottom of the steep valley carved out by the water and I swim in the cool, clear, green river.

At dusk we head back to the house to eat sushi rolls and dips, followed by barbequed salmon, salads and home-made bread. The talk is of adventures and travel. Jane and Eric are preparing for a biking and hiking trip around Telegraph Creek off the Cassiar Highway and Jill and her family are leaving for an extended trip to Europe and Africa.

Yum!

Yum!

The following morning Priscilla drives me around town to the supermarket and other shops to stock up for the next leg of my trip. Danusia drops off some lime slice she has baked. I feel very spoilt.

* CANDIED PECANS

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cups pecans
  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cracked pepper
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Melt the butter and brown the pecans over a moderate heat for 5 minutes. Add brown sugar stirring constantly until it has melted. Add spices and stir. Deglaze with the apple cider vinegar and stir until the liquid has evaporated. Spread out on a parchment lined baking tray and bake in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes at a moderate heat.

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