It just isn’t the Yukon without a bit of snow…
Our first day back on the bikes after our break in Whitehorse, we rode a modest distance to Marsh Lake. There we met Peter, who we’d connected with through Warm Showers, an internet site where fellow bike travellers can offer and receive hospitality.
Peter is a fantastic guy – an adventurer, father and grandfather, carpenter and houseboat captain. He put us right at ease as soon as we arrived and offered us a beer. He took Lucie, friend Don, dogs Polly and Grommet and I out on his homemade houseboat, where we followed Marsh Lake up to the headwaters of the mighty Yukon River! Pasta and great conversation ensued.
We stayed in his tiny guesthouse on the lake – a little home of our own complete with a wood stove (see photo)! Peter, Lucie and I had a great time getting to know one another the next morning over bacon, eggs and coffee. We knew the next leg of our journey would offer no such comforts and appreciated each moment.
Two nights later fat flakes began to fall as we neared Rancheria Falls. We made it to a rest area and called it a (100 km) day. The next morning we woke to a changed world. The snow had not let up, and we rode through the storm. At first it was fine, but the snow turned to wet snow. With 25 km left to ride, I was soaked through. Lucie had caught a cold the day before and was starting to feel it. The shoulder and then the lane disappeared under snow and slush. We made for Big Creek, a Yukon government campground, and capped another 100 km day. We knew Big Creek had a kitchen shelter with a wood stove. Upon arrival we lit and loaded it till it glowed red.
The following day we sat tight, fed the fire, dried our gear, fed Lucie’s cold and waited for the crews to clear the snow off the highway. Then we were back at it and made it out of the Yukon territory, hanging a right at Junction 37 down the Cassiar Highway.
We’re now in Dease Lake, and have filled our food bags once again. We were down to a tin of salmon and some nuts (!) as we can only carry about 8 days of sustenance on our bikes.
We’re not sure if or how we’ll make the weekly Prince Rupert-Port Hardy ferry on October 9th, and may have to wait until October 16th to ship out. Yesterday we woke to -9, and although this a.m. the thermometer read a sweltering 0, the weather could turn again at any time. In any case, with our food stores replenished and a hot shower grabbed in a local hotel, we feel ready and able to embrace the road and challenges ahead. We are pedaling south after all, and will soon take our breaks in the shade of palm trees. At least that’s what I tell Lucie as our feet thaw out in the first few miles before the sun comes up behind the mountains.
To come in the next days: huge galleries of the Yukon and the colossal, desolate Cassiar Highway and more! Check back soon!