Skip to content

on the alaska highway

I can’t remember now where I camped the day I left Whitehorse – it made no impression on my and I didn’t record it in any way. It has gone completely.

However, the next morning, as I am riding on my way, I pull into an dubious RV camp at Johnson’s Crossing because of the bakery sign – I am developing a serious and often misguided addiction to cinnamon buns. I have bought my bun (one of the more misguided ones) and a couple of indifferent fruit turnovers and am eating them standing by my bike having the same tired “where from/where to” conversation with a couple from somewhere in the ‘lower 48’* when I hear a sudden commotion behind me.

I turn and see a man getting out of an unfamiliar 4WD. It takes a moment for me to the make the right connections but then Renate and the boys also emerge from the vehicle. The couple I was conversing with are instantly and totally forgotten. We are all overjoyed to see each other again – I am heart-warmed by the fact that our previous lunchtime encounter obviously made an equal impression on these people that it made on me.

There is a flurry of addresses exchanged, photos taken, promises made, and I happily learn all the missing names – Gunter, Malte and Jannik – and then we have to go our separate ways again. They are about to set off on the canoeing part of their holiday on some remote lakes and rivers in the Yukon.

Reunited for a moment with Renate and her family.

Reunited for a moment with Renate and her family. (From right to left: Renate, Jannik, me, Gunter, Malte.)

The air is still thick with smoke as I ride on to Teslin Lake and stop after a short day, seduced by the opportunity to swim. I spent the afternoon sitting watching the smoke, the sky, the water.

Smoke billowing over Teslin Lake.

Smoke billowing over Teslin Lake.

Green bushfire light and grey smoky skies.

Green bushfire light and grey smoky skies.

Smoky sunset at Teslin Lake.

Smoky sunset at Teslin Lake.

Red moon in the smoke.

Red moon in the smoke.

The following morning brings a murky haze which testifies to the presence of the numerous blazes burning across the Yukon, Alaska and British Columbia. Having spent February this year in Australia, where fires of unprecedented ferocity destroyed millions of hectares of bushland and destroyed whole towns with massive loss of life the scene was familiar, if not welcome.

The murky view over the lake in the morning.

The murky view over the lake in the morning.

The smoke is so thick that it is impossible to see the opposite shore of the lake.

The smoke is so thick that it is now utterly impossible to see the opposite shore.

* The ‘lower 48’ is how Alaskans refer the parts of the USA that are not Alaska.

{ 1 } Comments

  1. Brent Townsend | September 4, 2009 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    And be sure to check out Ryan Larkin’s ‘Walking” on You Tube – here is clearly one Canada’s most uncelebrated and yet enormously talented artists. Ryan Larkin was heavily criticised for his excessive lifestyle, and this no doubt lead to his most unfortunate passing.

    Really a shame when you consider not that many people have truly photographic memories that can actually recall and manipulate motion into such simple lines. Hard to believe society would turn their backs on someone who creates absolutely amazing animation.

    For the complete story – seek out ‘Ryan’ on DVD.

    PS
    What about the Spirit Bears, you didn’t mention them at all. (Get on it)

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *