Saturday, June 27, 2009

Yukon Adventure: Seattle to Whitehorse

Day 1 - Seattle to Prince George - approx. 500 miles.
The highlight was our trip up the Fraser Canyon.

Day 2 - We arrived at Smithers BC, where we enjoyed a very pleasant stay at "Chez Josette" B&B. In addition to having a great view of the Hudson Bay Range and Glacier, the B&B was a short walk from the Malkow Fire Lookout trailhead. The peak provided a 360-degree view of the valley and surrounding mountains.

We had made multiple calls to GrizzLee's wife trying to find out where he and Yukon Johann were. Well, we spotted them in a gas station, and snuck up behind them and blew our horn very loud.

From Smithers we headed west toward the Cassiar Highway. Lots of native culture along the way.

We stayed two nights in Stewart, BC. Right next to Stewart is the very small town of Hyder, Alaska. There's actually a Canadian border crossing, but no American one. The weather was quite drippy, so we stayed in a B and B. Glaciers abound in the area. We went up a very high road (in Alaska) and looked down on a glacier. The glacier pictured below was right next to the road on the way to Stewart.

This bear along the Cassiar Highway attracted alot of attention. I guess the driver of this bus-like motor home turned his head a little too long. There are not shoulders along most of the Cassiar, and some of it is gravel.

We took another side trip to Telegraph Creek. What a road!!! Beautiful scenery and 70 miles of muddy road, up to 20% grade. Dawson Dan handled the trusty van very well, but we did have some traction issues up the steep hills.

This is the Anglican church at Telegraph Creek. Still in use today.

This was a particularly dramatic spot where two rivers converged. We are standing on a precipice between the two rivers. It was about 50 feet wide.

This is the Grand Canyon of the Stikine River.
After parting ways at Dease Lake, Dawson Dan and Klondike Kate drove furiously through the rain to the Alaska Highway and further to a small campground (where it wasn't raining), a mere 200 miles from Whitehorse. We did take a few photos on the way.

The next day,July 1, we took a short hike through the boreal forest. The trees are so small here, and the undergrowth is very low. Much of the flora is similar to what we have in Washington.

We're getting close now... this is Marsh Lake.

Finally Dawson Dan and Klondike Kate arrived at Whitehorse and had our first view of the Yukon River! It is a beautiful green color, very clear and fast moving. We can hardly wait to head downriver.

Our trusty van got us there without any problems. We were thankful we didn't have to get there by this sled...transportation around the Yukon used to be quite a challenge.

Flasher??? Mountain man??? No, Dawson Dan is wearing a winter Canadian Mountie outfit. Made of about 40 pounds of bison fur, with a wolverine hat. Cute, huh?
Below is the Klondike riverboat, which went up and down the Yukon River from Whitehorse to Dawson City.
IF they could do it, so can we!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Yukon adventure

Tomorrow Dan and I leave on a five week adventure to the Yukon Territory in northern Canada. We are driving to Whitehorse (about 2000 miles), where we will begin paddling the Yukon River 460 miles to Dawson City. This is the water route taken by the gold miners in 1898. We hope to make it in 14 days. It is not a difficult river; the water moves quickly, but there are only two class 2 rapids in that whole stretch. We are joining "GrizzLee" and his son "Yukon Johann", who did this same trip two years ago. Their experience has been invaluable in helping us prepare for this journey. We are "Dawson Dan" and "Klondike Kate". I couldn't find a good word to go with Joann, so I used my middle name. I since discovered that this name was a popular one for the ladies of the night in Dawson City during the gold rush.

While on the river, we will be reading the poems of Robert Service, who moved to Whitehorse in 1904, 6 years after the gold rush, and began writing about the area and about the tales he heard from the locals (many of which aren't true). We also have Jack London's Call of the Wild and a well written history of the gold rush.

We'll be posting photos on another blog - we have a link to it - so if you want to follow our journey, check it out. We may post on this blog as well.

Dan performs "La Dori"

In June Dan joined the Continuo Ensemble in two performances of an Early Music opera called "La Dori". He played his baroque guitar in the Continuo group and sang as well. Here he is confessing his love to a man who is dressed like a woman. (She's really a woman playing a man dressed as a woman....) get's kind of confusing.

Part of the continuo group.

Gothic Basin

Colin and I went for a fabulous hike up by Gothic Basin. we drove to the end of the road on Mountain Loop Highway, then hiked along a washed out road toward Monte Cristo. from there we journeyed up to higher country and lots of snow!

Celia and Keith graduate!!!

Celia and Keith both received special honors - Celia for her arts thesis and for Hebrew studies, Keith for Greek studies and Old Testament.

Celia and Colin play with their quartet at the tea party for Regent Graduates.

What next?
Celia and Keith are going to Japan for 9 months. They will be working with missionaries there in Sapporo. They have lots more information about their trip on their blog (see links)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Nettle Soup

Yeah, these really are nettles. Dan picked the tops off them - with gloves - and then sprayed the bejeebers out of what was left!

I boiled the nettles for 5 minutes to remove the sting, then made soup and nettle tea (which tastes kind of like grass, but is very healthy)

This soup is really, really yummy. And no sting! (this is not the finished product, btw)

Nettle Soup

3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
½ cup uncooked rice
4 quarts stinging nettle tips, loosely packed
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
6 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

  1. If the nettles have any foreign material in them or if they were picked on a dusty day, you may need to wash them. Wearing rubber gloves, plunge them into a sink full of water, then lift them out of the water, leaving any debris behind.
  2. In a soup kettle over medium-high heat, melt the butter in the olive oil. Stir in the onion and sauté until the onions are soft and just beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Stir in the rice and cook until the grains are translucent, about one minute.
  3. Pile in the nettles, the garlic and the broth and bring the soup to a full, rolling boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the rice is very tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer the soup in small batches to a blender and purée until smooth. Add the salt and pepper and serve hot.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Celia's Arts Thesis

Dan, Colin and I made two more trips to Vancouver for Celia's Arts Thesis, parts 3 and 4. The third of the series was a service for Epiphany with the theme being joy. The music was presented by a group of outstanding musicians. I'm not biased, of course.

As you can see, the weather was rather joyful as well. Here is the Olympic symbol adorned with birds.

A month later we returned to Vancouver, with a slight detour to the north, where we saw another Olympic symbol adorned with birds. Cute.

Celia and her fellow musicians presented music for the Lenten season, along with scripture readings and time for meditation. The use of light and darkness was very effective.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Enjoying the Big Sky in Montana

March, 2009
What a beautiful place! Our ski trip began and ended with clear blue skies. The conditions at the beginning of the week were like spring skiing; not what we expected in Montana. It did give us a chance to go to the very top.

Later in the week we got a dump of new snow. We enjoyed the tree skiing.