It’s a strange world – I hope you’re all okay

Like many of you, I’m hoping that what’s going on is just a bad dream and soon I’ll wake up and life will be normal again. I’m not looking forward any further than tomorrow – things are changing too fast. Cathy and I are okay, and I hope you all are as well.

Winter is just ending here in Whitehorse. This is the period of the most dramatic change of the year, and I thought you might like to see what that has looked like over the past month. And I’ll also tell you a little bit about how the virus situation looks in the Yukon today.

March 22. Winter was still here (the first photo is in my back yard). Snow – even heavy snow – is common this time of year, but most of us have had about enough of it.

Snowstorm in Whitehorse in in late March.
March 25. I find looking close at the beauty of the world is good therapy when “the big picture” gets chaotic and scary. These icicles were hanging by my front door.

March 31. The melt had started, so this was about the deepest the snow piles got. I try to keep my decks clear all winter.

Deep snow around my decks
April 1. I took Tucker and Bella down to the Yukon River bridge for a bit of a walk. It would have been such an awesome day to hit the road (the Alaska Highway in this case). I had planned to be on the road for my 8-9-week season-opener RV about now, but that of course has been cancelled.

The Yukon River bridge, Alaska Highway.
The kids were happy to get out for a bit. Every walking place in town had a few cars parked, but it’s easy to find places like this with nobody around.

My dogs Tucker and Bella playing in the snow.
The Lewes River dam, just downstream from the bridge. The water was incredibly clear.

The Lewes River dam
April 4. There were a lot of happy birds in the feeder today. These are Common redpolls (Carduelis flammea). We don’t get birds very often for some reason, while other people in Whitehorse get lots.

Common redpolls at my feeder.
After getting all excited by birds (she sometimes gets quite noisy), Molly always needs to chill, and a snuggle is particularly welcome.

Snuggling with my cat, Molly
April 8. We haven’t sat in the memorial garden much this Spring yet…

Our memorial garden, buried deep in snow.
April 7. There were some wonderful frost feathers on the deck glass this morning. A frost dragon?

Frost feathers
April 8. With the temperature up to +5°C, the woodpile looked like a much healthier place to be than Facebook.

Working on the woodpile in the Spring
Now the wood room in the basement is in good shape. I was still firing up the wood stove every day at this point.

The wood room in my basement
April 12. I saw my weather station hit +9°C yesterday, but Spring feels like it might be a long way away yet. That’s a 12-inch ruler below Tucker – I dug a little area down to the grass yesterday afternoon so I can keep en eye on the progress.

Deep snow in my yard on April 12th
April 14. I posted on Facebook that “there’s still 3 blocks of snow and ice in the way of getting my bike to dry roads.” Two hours later, the City grader showed up 🙂

Grader clearing the last of the snow from our road
Then it was time to get the bike polished up – now Spring is here! We don’t have any driving restrictions other than a request to stay out of our smaller communities. The importance of social distancing is the primary message here. The Yukon Government says: “Maintain safe physical distancing of 2 metres (6 feet) between people even when you’re enjoying the outdoors.”

Washing my motorcycle - Spring is here
April 17. The biggest part of the job of getting my summer wheels on is getting them from the barn to the driveway! Despite the way the back yard looked, the roads were bare and dry, though.

Getting my summer wheels out from the barn, through the deep snow

I thought that my health was back to about 90% of normal, but as the weather warmed up and I got more active, I discovered that I’m very fragile. I made myself quite sick a week ago, and I’m still “off” – dizzy, headaches, muscle pains, etc, etc. With my therapist shut down for the foreseeable future, I’m searching for other answers, but the main one has to be to slow down.

Tucker enjoys tv time because it means snuggles, but sometimes a particular show will get his attention 🙂 The closed captioning is for me, the deaf one, not Tucker, the really smart one!

My dog Tucker watching tv
April 19. As we were having breakfast, I spotted this fox bedded down in the forest. I bought a game cam a few months ago, but haven’t set it up yet, partly because I’m not sure which is the best way to point it.

A fox bedded down in my forest
We decided to go for a long drive to watch swans, which our first major sign that Spring has arrived. The Tagish Bridge provided what we were looking for, and we had the place pretty much to ourselves.

Swans at the Tagish Bridge, Yukon
I find watching swans to be very therapeutic. They do make me miss my cabin at Carcross, though – they were a significant part of my life there, as for many weeks each year I could always see and hear them. I loved listening to them chatting, especially first thing each morning.

Swans at the Tagish Bridge, Yukon

Swans at the Tagish Bridge, Yukon

The news of the mass shooting in Nova Scotia on April 19th was my breaking point. I still have no words, only tears, and can’t bear to read the details… 🙁

Mass shooting in Nova Scotia on April 18, 2020
April 20. There are a fair number of businesses in the Whitehorse area offering online shopping now. We really like Firebean coffees, so I ordered 3 pounds, and picked it up from an honour-system box on the porch of their home the next evening. I really hope that #supportlocal is an idea that continues when things get back to normal.

Firebean coffees
April 21. I went out for groceries, and this is what the Alaska Highway looked like at 06:50, normally the start of “rush hour.” I shop almost exclusively at Save-On Foods now, and go during their seniors hour from 07:00-08:00, once a week or even 10 days.

Earth Day (April 22nd) didn’t seem to get as much attention as it has is recent years. Many reports, though, show that Mother Earth is loving the shutdown, with greatly-reduced pollution, and animals moving into now-quiet urban areas.

Earth Day (April 22nd)
All Yukon campgrounds and related facilities are closed until further notice, though the hiking trails at campgrounds like Wolf Creek just a mile from my home are open and popular.

Wolf Creek Campground - COVID-19 closure
Though many projects have been shut down, a few are continuing. The electric vehicle charging station at the Yukon Transportation Museum looks great now.

The electric vehicle charging station at the Yukon Transportation Museum.
One of my neighbours posted on her Facebook page that she and her dad had set up signs on the Alaska Highway thanking truckers for keeping our store shelves fairly well stocked. Last night I took a short drive to get some photos of them. The highway is very quiet – I waited just over 20 minutes for this truck to come along. With even the most basic services – coffee, meals, showers – getting tougher and tougher for truckers to access, appreciation is a big deal. Nice work, Kate White 🙂

Thank you, truckers - Alaska Highway signs

As of yesterday, we have 3 active cases of COVID-19, all of them doing well at home. We’ve had a total of 11 cases but 8 have recovered. All have been related to travel, or contact with those travellers. With the Whitehorse airport all but shut down, our biggest challenge is people driving up the highway to Alaska, and regulations there get tighter and tighter. Drivers now get stopped at the Yukon border and have to give a bunch of information about their trip. If they are allowed to proceed, they then can only be in the Yukon for 24 hours – and getting through the Yukon is a 938 km drive, so there’s little time to dawdle.

I know that some of my readers are in areas that are being badly hit by the virus, and I expect that many of you are out of work. I hope that you’re all okay. Each of us has a different situation, and each of us will react in a different way. Please be kind to yourself, and to those around you.


It’s a strange world – I hope you’re all okay — 25 Comments

  1. I enjoyed the post, as always, and found interest in your day to day spring activities, around the house chores, etc. This is certainly a period of time unlike any most of us have experienced (as opposed to say bigger horrors of WWII etc) or any wish to experience ongoing, let again for the near future. I live between NYC and Boston, quite densely populated; the illness and death and daily changes in life and routine are profound. Stay well. And enjoy life along the road as you always do. Thanks.

    • Thank you. Keeping in mind times like the many wars is useful now – as bad as this is, our countries have survived far worse. Stay safe, my friend.

      • Thank You your wonderful post and story. It is interesting seeing the Spring coming to White Horse and the Yukon. Your dogs and cat are the luckiest animals on the planet! I am glad your health is slowly coming back and that you are out & about. That is allot of work chopping all that firewood. Always enjoy your post and seeing what is going on up there in the far north! Can’t wait for your next post! Thank You

        • Thanks, Tommy. Molly, Bella, and Tucker all seem to be pretty happy with their lot in life 🙂 It’s snowing and miserable today but I hope to be back out soon.

  2. Thank you for the pics and please stay safe. We were planning to head up that way at summers end, we will see what happens. Greetings from Asbury Park NJ

  3. A like it verry much the way yuo are telling you things i really apriciat it. Thank you for everything.
    Greetings from us and the people of the Netherlands. Keep safe and thake car.

  4. Thanks Murray,
    You and Cathy stay safe! I’m doing ok although at times I get a bit sad! I just give my head a shake and carry on.
    Take care……..Gail🙏

  5. ALWAYS enjoy your postings so much. 2016 we were in Yukon and Alaska for 3 months in our 31′ motorhome. Even drove our toad to Inuvik and chartered a flight to Tuktoyatuk to wade in the Arctic Ocean. (No road to drive that far back then). Whitehorse was way up there on the list of favorite places. Great restaurants, nice rv park (outside of town, forgot the name), friendly, helpful local businesses. Fireweed RV was one of them. Also drove toad to Skagway several times and drove RV there to stay by the marina. Your postings bring back some wonderful memories. THANK YOU !

  6. Enjoyed the Spring peek at the Yukon. The current travel rules make it challenging for us to get back to AK. Watson Lake to Beaver Creek in 24 hours would be a challenge.

    • Thank you. That 24-hour limit leaves no time for sightseeing, that’s for sure. A bit over 10 hours gets it done, though. Hopefully we can all be back to enjoying relaxing drives soon.

  7. Hello from Ottawa, glad to hear you’re feeling better!

    I know Casey from the Yukon Transportation Museum, and she always speaks so highly of you and The Vault!
    She has two copies of your book!

  8. C’était une belle publication. Merci de nous fournir des nouvelles régulièrement de cette région du Monde que nous avions decouvert avec plaisir par -40° celsius en janvier 2018. Et que nous espérons revoir un jour. Laurent & Carmen, Buis les Baronnies, Drôme, France

  9. Thank you for your post. It was wonderful to see Spring around Whitehorse since it is very different here in Florida. I cannot wait to get into the motorhome for some traveling when this is over and it is safe. Stay safe and thanks for these wonderful pictures.

    • Thanks, Linda. I’ve been enjoying many recent photos from friends in Florida – yes, very different! I hope that we can soon all get back into our RVs.

  10. Hi Murray I am glad to see that you are feeling much better. love your photos as it reminds me of all the places i have been in The Yukon. We had a mild winter hear in Ont.Stay safe and well. We are all ok so far. Isolated at home now for 2 months not going out except for food. Best wishes to you and Cathy Tina and Bruce

  11. Thank you for posting again. I’ve been enjoying your photos and stories for some time. Back in the day (40 yrs ago) I worked as a helicopter pilot in Yukon and then also NWT. Your picture “sagas” and accompanying text make me homesick for those days. Stay well and keep on sharing your extraordinary part of the world. Love it !!

  12. Thank you for your post. I’m from New York State near Syracuse, NY. i’M thankful to God that both my wife and I are working; wife’s at home teaching and my company is making products for the ventilators.

    We have family that have friends in NYC and it’s bad there. People are stuck in 400-600sf apartments and to get food they have to really think about it because all public transportation is shut down and most don’t have cars to drive anywhere.

    We play in the backyard daily and enjoy walks in our neighborhood, practicing social distancing.

    I like your sign thanking truckers!! I’m reminded of the song by Alabama – Song of the South.

    My family took me and my brothers to BC growing up and now I’m working n a model railroad in my basement depicting the CP/CN lines from Vancouver to Lytton BC and the BCR from Vancouver to Pemberton. Should be a fun build and I love your pictures of the mountains.

    I’ve been blessed by everything “slowing down” and it allows us all time to reflect on what really matters. I’ve found inspiration in God’s Word and though David Jeremiah about what is going on around the world.

    Stay Safe and Healthy.

    • Thanks, Paul. I’m pleased to hear that you’re doing well. Yes, the situation is NYC is just tragic. Enjoy your railroad-building! 🙂