Last puppy, cemetery research, and starting a Yukon Quest tour

It’s been 3 weeks since I’ve talked to you, but it’s not because I’ve just been sitting around watching TV and drinking beer.

When I wrote back on December 17th, that our puppy-fostering had reached a happy conclusion with everyone having found a forever-home, I was a bit ahead of myself as it turned out. Two weeks later, on December 30, I got a call saying that another of Blue’s puppies needed a better home. He’d been adopted before YARN and I got involved, and it hadn’t worked out – a foster was needed until a new home was found. We of course agreed to take him.

The boy we called Peanut turned out to be my favourite of all 8, and he was with us for 22 wonderful days. Letting him go was extremely difficult and I tried many times to rationalize keeping him, but he has a great home in Dawson now.

My foster puppy Peanut
Once I got de-puppied, my attention turned back to history. A discussion on Facebook led me to discovering that in my collection I have about 700 photos of graves and cemeteries, most of them in the Yukon, Alaska, the NWT, and northern BC. So, I started building Northern Cemeteries and Graves pages on ExploreNorth. I got about 1/3 of the way through them when the date to begin guiding a Yukon Quest tour arrived.

Yukon cemeteries Web pages
The tour I’m guiding is organized by Jerry Van Dyke Travel, a company I’ve been working with for many years. There’s a long list of reasons that this is the only tour I still guide for. Yesterday, February 1st, I picked up my tour van from Driving Force and to keep things comfortable in the van, a trailer for our suitcases and the extra winter gear that’s supplied for our guests. I drove down to the SS Klondike to get this “start-of-the-tour” photo, and then went home to await the 3:30pm flight.

Jerry Van Dyke Travel van at the SS Klondike
The temperature was sitting at -24°C (-11°F) by the time I got everything together. That’s pretty much the perfect temperature for the Yukon Quest sled dog race, and to get a great “Yukon” experience. This was the Yukon River in front of the SS Klondike.

The Yukon River at Whitehorse in February
Lots of papers and other important stuff to keep track of.


Murphy’s Law – the longer your day has been, the more likely that your last flight of the day will be delayed.

Late flight

The group is staying at the Westmark Whitehorse. We normally allow for a rest before dinner, but the delayed flight eliminated that. A small group (6 people) makes the initial meeting much easier, and a good dinner put the Yukon part of the trip off to a fine start.

At 7:30, we drove up to the Meet the Mushers event, always a fun event that sets the stage well for the main event. Each of our guests sponsors a mile on the race route, thus joining the Thousand Mile Club and getting a very nice jacket, and also sponsors a musher. This event allows them to meet the musher they’ve sponsored.


There was cake, too! πŸ™‚


With clear skies and a very good aurora forecast, I offered to take anyone who was interested out on an aurora hunt at 01:00. On the way back to the hotel, I stopped at the SS Klondike to set my camera up and make sure everything was working okay.


I drove about 20 km west on the Alaska Highway, far from the lights of the city, and we spent about an hour waiting, and watching a fairly faint aurora trying to make a good show. This was about as good as it got, but it was still a good experience (I think).


Day 2 begins as soon as I post this – a city tour this morning, and the Yukon Quest start banquet tonight.



A Dog’s Purpose – the movie and our experience with Reincarnation

This morning, a friend sent me the trailer for the movie “A Dog’s Purpose” that’s going to be released on January 27th. I’d seen it before, but its theme of reincarnation really struck a deep chord with me this morning. Click on the video below to watch it to start off.



I first had an experience with human reincarnation during a violent storm on the North Sea off the coast of Germany in 1991, and maybe some day I’ll tell you about that. Shortly after watching the trailer, though, I came across this photo of my Kayla, and the look in her eyes made me decide to tell you about our personal experience with canine reincarnation.

Kayla looking into my soul

My belief about reincarnation is pretty simple. First, reincarnation is earned – not every soul comes back. If you have a strong spirit, and if you leave the Earth better than when you arrived, you get to come back and try to get better yet.

Like all of the dogs who have become members of my family over the past 25 years, Kayla was a rescue. How she came to me in 2000 is a long story, but what was intended to be a brief fostering of a registered wolf-hybrid from Florida became instead my first “foster fail” πŸ™‚

Kayla and Murray
Kayla was the most completely beautiful dog, inside and out, that I’d ever met. While her bad-boy brother Kodi got most of the attention because of his postcard-husky looks, some dog-lovers noticed that special something in Kayla and got to meet her. Kayla loved everybody, and had a particular soft spot for one of her cats, Latimer.

Kayla at the Carcross cabin

When Kodi vanished in 2003, Kayla took the loss very hard. The sparkle left her eyes, and she had no real interest in doing anything. Seeing her so deeply depressed made the situation even more difficult, and I soon began the search for another husky who needed me. That’s when Monty came into our lives. He and Kayla had wonderful lives together for nearly a decade.

In 2013, 6 weeks before her 13th birthday, Kayla had to leave us. The message on one of the cards of condolences we received following Kayla’s death would hold an even more special meaning in the not-too-distant future.

Kayla's gone
Cathy and I knew that Monty needed a partner, and we began the search. It was almost a year before we saw something in the eyes of a puppy in Canmore, Alberta. It was a look that made us know that she was the puppy who wanted to adopt us, and we obliged. Soon, the puppy who we named Bella was enjoying Yukon adventures with her new family.

My dogs Bella and Monty canoeing in the Yukon

By the time she was a year old, we knew why the new puppy had looked at us the way she did. Kayla had come back to us. I can’t even describe it properly, I expect, but there was something in her eyes, as well as her behaviours, that has never stopped convincing us that Kayla’s reincarnation had happened. It’s easy to shrug this off as people’s need to fill the void left by a death, but Bella is unique, despite the fact that I’ve had many dogs die over the years.

I mentioned at the beginning that my belief is that If you have a strong spirit, and if you leave the Earth better than when you arrived, you get to come back and try to get better yet. Unfortunately for us, we believe that by the time his life on Earth ended this last time around, Monty had Life perfected, and so he won’t be coming back again. We often say that there will never be another Monty. And that makes me very sad – the world needs more Montys. He and I were deeply connected, and as he perfected his life, he made me better. Now, 10 months after Monty’s death, talking about him still often makes my eyes wet.

Monty in the White Pass
Bella continues to mature beautifully, and as Kayla did, she loves everybody, and loves life. Her comical little side-kick Tucker is her particular joy, but even our puppy-fostering that’s about to end (we have one left of the 8), as overwhelming as it was, hasn’t stopped her from being a great mommy-dog to these little souls.


So, there you have it. Will I go to see “A Dog’s Purpose”? Maybe, but given my reaction to the trailer, it won’t be in any public venue πŸ™‚



Heritage BC Stop of Interest Signs

While I’m puppy-sitting so am not very mobile, I’m going through many thousands of photos from this past summer. They need to be captioned and put in categories so I can find them when I need them. I usually do this soon after shooting, but never sat still long enough this year. There are so many great memories in these files, and there are also lots of ideas for travel, for photo subjects, and for articles/posts, including a few on BC history.

This morning, I went through the files to see how many of BC’s heritage signs I’d gotten photos of over the years. I was surprised how few I have, and will try to rectify that in 2017.

In a program started to commemorate BC’s centennial in 1958, Stop of Interest signs were erected around the province to increase people’s knowledge of significant historic people, places, and events. Over 140 signs were erected between then and 2008, but many have been moved, damaged, and apparently even lost. A list of what is termed “the 139 known signs” can be downloaded here – but you’ll see 3 signs below that aren’t listed in that inventory.

An article in The Chilliwack Progress on June 29, 1977, said that 35 signs had been installed in 1958, and another 98 between 1958 and 1977. They were made of cast aluminum with a baked enamel finish, with the text limited to about 50 words. At that time, a guide to the signs could be picked up at tourism offices.

In September 2016, the B.C. Government announced its intention to create 75 new Stop of Interest signs around the province. Building on Heritage BC’s 2015 assessment project to locate all the existing signs, the government is also repairing signs that need work. The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (TranBC) adds: “In some cases, they need to be replaced because the language is out of date. Really, really out of date. So we’ll work to update these signs and start replacing them this fall [2016].”

Until January 31, 2017, you can suggest sites, people, and/or events that you think should be included among the 75 new Stop of Interest signs – visit this Web site to make your suggestions.

The signs that I’ve found in my files so far are below, listed roughly from the south to the north of BC. The location, the full text of the sign, and the date of installation when known, are included with each.

Hedley, Famous for Gold – located on Highway 3 at the western edge of Hedley, this sign was installed in 2008 to replace one from about 1958, “Gold in Nickel Plate”.

Nestled between Stemwinder and Nickel Plate Mountains, the historic gold mining town of Hedley sprang up shortly after the yellow precious metal was discovered here in 1897. The town was named after Robert R. Hedley, mining engineer. Both the mountain top Hedley Mascot and Nickel Plate mines extracted millions worth of gold, silver and copper before finally closing in the 1950s after the ore body was exhausted. Today tourism brings new life to the town famous for gold.

BC history: Hedley, Famous for Gold

BC history: Hedley, Famous for Gold
Engineers’ Road – located on Highway 3, sixteen miles east of Hope, this sign was installed in about 1958.

A wagon road across B.C. – this was the ambitious scheme of the Royal Engineers in the 1860s as miners clamored for better access to the Southern Interior. Sent from England, these military engineers replaced the first 25 miles of the Dewdney Trail with a wagon road. Their work halted when attention shifted to the gold-rich Cariboo.

Engineers' Road

BC history: Engineers' Road
2003 Okanagan Mountain Fire – located on Highway 97 at Antler’s Beach Park, just south of Peachland, the sign was installed in 2008:

Directly across Lake Okanagan, on August 16, 2003, lightning 2008 struck a tree at Squally Point. The ensuing blaze consumed over 25,000 hectares as it spread to Kelowna, Myra Canyon, and Naramata. More than 33,000 people were evacuated and 238 homes were destroyed or damaged. The Myra Canyon section of the Trans Canada Trail saw 12 historic wooden railway trestles destroyed and 2 steel ones damaged.

BC history: Okanagan Mountain Fire sign
Fraser Canyon – located at the Hell’s Gate Air Tram, the sign was installed in 1966:

This awesome gorge was always been an obstacle to transportation. Indians used ladders and road builders hung ‘shelves’ to skirt its cliffs. Canoes rarely dared its whirlpool; only one sternwheeler fought it successfully. Railroads and highways challenged it with tunnels and bridges, but today men and nature still battle here for supremacy.

BC history: Fraser Canyon
Canadian Northern Pacific’s Last Spike – located on Highway 97, ten miles north of Spences Bridge, the sign was installed in 1967:

Canada’s third trans-continental rail link was completed near Basque on January 23, 1915. In a simple ceremony the last spike was driven, witnessed by a small group of engineers and workmen. The line later became part of the Federal Government’s consolidated Canadian National Railways system.

BC history: Canadian Northern Pacific's Last Spike

BC history: Canadian Northern Pacific's Last Spike
Steamboat Saga – located on Highway 1, fourteen miles east of Kamloops, overlooking Kamloops Lake:

Smooth rivers and great lakes once were the highways of travel. On them plied stately paddle-wheelers, helping exploration and settlement of the Interior. They speeded goldseekers bound for the ‘Big Bend’ rush of 1864-65. They freighted grain from the Okanagan. They were vital in building the C.P.R. – and doomed by the railway they helped to build.

BC history: Steamboat Saga
B.X. – located on Highway 97, six miles north of Cache Creek, the sign was installed in 1967:

Connecting Barkerville with the outside world, the ‘B.X.’ stage coaches served ‘Cariboo’ for over 50 years. The terminus was moved from Yale to Ashcroft after the C.P.R. construction destroyed the wagon road through the Fraser Canyon. The red and yellow coaches left Ashcroft at 4:00 A.M., and 4 days and 280 miles later reached the end of the road at Barkerville.

BC history: B.X.
Paddlewheels North – located on Highway 97, ten miles north of Soda Creek and 32 miles north of Williams Lake (this photo with one of the famous “Garbage Gobblers” was shot in July 1997):

Down river lay the perilous and unnavigable canyon. Up-river the Fraser was swift and strong, but sternwheelers could travel for 400 miles from Soda Creek. Men and supplies embarked here in the 1860’s for the fabulous Cariboo goldfields. Later, and the G.T.P. Railway was forged across the Province, nine paddlewheelers formed a life-line to the north.

BC history: Paddlewheels North
Overland Telegraph – located on Highway 16, three miles east of Burns Lake:

Perry Collins, an American, envisioned a land route to link America and Asia by telegraph. All attempts to lay a cable across the Atlantic had failed. Western Union had completed 800 miles northerly from New Westminster in 1865-66, when the ocean cable was successful. The overland project was abandoned but the line to Cariboo remained.

BC history: Overland Telegraph
Moricetown Canyon – located on Highway 16, twenty miles west of Smithers:

This site, once the largest village of the Bulkley Valley Indians, later was named after the pioneer missionary, Father Morice. Salmon, staple food of the Indian, concentrated in the canyon and were caught with basketry traps, dipnets, and harpoons. Indians still catch salmon with long gaff hooks and smoke them at this historic native fishery.

BC history: Moricetown Canyon
Yukon Telegraph – located on Highway 37 at Km 288 (from Highway 16), the sign was installed in 1974 (but it is not listed in the 2015 inventory):

Born of the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898, the 1,900 mile Dominion Telegraph Line linked Dawson City with Vancouver via the CPR wires through Ashcroft. Built in 1899-1901, the line blazed a route across this vast northern section of the Province but gave way to radio communications in the 1930s. Today, some of the trail and cabins used by the isolated telegraphers still serve wilderness travellers.

BC history: Yukon Telegraph
Cassiar Gold Rush – located on Highway 37 at Km 618 (from Highway 16), the sign was installed in 1975 (but it is not listed in the 2015 inventory):

The prospect of quick riches lured hundreds of placer miners to the Cassiar, where gold was discovered first at Dease Creek in 1872. Rich claims were later found at Thibert Creek and here at McDame Creek. From this creek in 1872 a 72-ounce solid gold nugget was recovered – the largest recorded to date in British Columbia. By 1878 much of the gold had been removed and the fortune seekers moved on.

BC history: Cassiar Gold Rush
Lifeblood of the Tahltans – located on the Telegraph Creek Road at Tahltan (Km 91.3 from Dease Lake), the sign was installed in 2008 (but it is not listed in the 2015 inventory):

The Stikine River at the Tahltan has always been the lifeblood of the Tahltan Nation. Each year the Tahltan returned to the Stikine when the salmon were running as the fish it provided was a main food source. One fishing method involved using a gaff (long pole with a large hook at one end) to catch the salmon, which were dried in smokehouses. The Tahltan has been a main gathering place for meetings, potlatches and other ceremonial traditions.

BC history: Lifeblood of the Tahltans
Atlin Cemetery – located at the Atlin cemetery, the sign was installed in 1973:

In 1898, Fritz Miller and Kenny McLaren found gold on nearby Pine Creek, triggering British Columbia’s last placer gold rush. The boom subsided by 1908, but gold has kept Atlin alive. Now Miller and McLaren lie here among hard-bitten prospectors, young miners, northern aviators, brave women, and new-born infants, all part of Atlin’s pioneer heritage. R.I.P.

Atlin Cemetery

BC history: Atlin Cemetery


The happy conclusion of our experience fostering puppies

When I last talked to you, our family of 4 rescued puppies and their mom had only been with us for a couple of days, and we were all trying to understand how it would all work. We got it figured out, but then 3 more puppies arrived and had us really scrambling. It all worked out in the best way it could have, though – as of last night, all 7 puppies and their mom have loving homes. As I start writing this, we still have 3 puppies and mom with us, but that number will be dropping by at least 2 this afternoon, and the other 2 will move on in the next couple of days.

My Facebook friends have gotten used to seeing a LOT of puppy pictures lately. There are over 30 in this post, with more of the story of this wonderful experience.

The rescues that the Yukon Animal Rescue Network (YARN) is using “berry” names for arrived on December 2nd, and on the 5th, I felt confident enough in Elderberry to let her explore our fenced acre by herself.

Rescued Yukon husky Elderberry
That was a breakthrough day for Elderberry, and she very quickly understood her role as a house dog. Our little Tucker looks like he could be one of her puppies!

Rescued dogs Tucker and Elderberry
The loan of a friend’s kennel got the puppies moved inside during part of the day starting on December 7th.

Rescued puppies
Strawberry. OMG what a character! Always laughing and boinging up and down to get out of the kennel πŸ™‚

Rescued puppy
Cathy getting a better introduction of our Bella and Tucker to the puppies – in this case Strawberry. Neither Bella nor Tucker were quite sure what to make of them. That didn’t surprise us with Tucker, but it did surprise us that Bella didn’t go maternal as she did when Tucker arrived.

Rescued puppy meeting our dogs
Blackberry was the best snuggler right from the start. She was so timid and underweight when we got her, it’s unlikely she would have survived once the deep cold hit.

Rescued puppy
On December 8th, I started bathing puppies. I actually enjoyed it, and neither Blueberry nor Strawberry objected to it a lot πŸ™‚

Bathing a rescued puppy
They smelled so much better after their baths!

A freshly-bathed rescue-puppy
Good-night snuggles with the boys, Strawberry and Raspberry.

Rescued puppies
Raspberry soon became the puppy that we would have kept if we were going to keep any. His combination of affection and adventure really attracted both Cathy and I, and we were very surprised that he was one of the last to be adopted.

Rescued puppy
Tucker, Bella, and Strawberry. I’ve just noticed that the boys are getting more than their share of photos here. I’m not really sure why – maybe their higher levels of activity just put them in front of the camera more often.

Rescued puppy with my dogs
Oh Strawberry!! He very quickly became the escape artist, and it’s only in the past couple of days that I’ve managed to contain him in the house. In the garage enclosure, any barrier that stopped him also stopped Elderberry, and I wanted her to have some freedom.

Rescued puppy escaping
A tired puppy is a happy puppy. And a happy foster-daddy πŸ™‚

Tired rescue-puppies
The more socialization the better, and I was more than pleased when Karla asked if she could bring her daughter over to help with that.

Rescued puppies
Until this morning, all of our feeding was done in the garage.

Rescued puppies
With temperatures now nearing -40°C, outside wasn’t an option for anything for the puppies. A couple of experiments with having outside time were very short. The garage wasn’t suitable except with very close supervision, and a lot of changes will be made before we foster another litter.

-40 degrees
Yes, the boys again!

Rescued puppies
In the early days, my anxiety level was very high at times. One of those was the first time I let Elderberry out to play with Bella and Tucker. After a few minutes of play, though, Elderberry came back in laughing and very excited. I didn’t worry about her after that. The 3 of them quickly learned to play very well together, though sometimes various pairs would break off.

Rescued husky playing with my dogs
Tucker sometimes got left out, but his insistence that he be part of the play usually got results fairly quickly.

Rescued husky playing with my dogs
Elderberry had a couple of good role models for learning how this house-dog gig should work!

Rescued husky learning to be a house dog
Last Wednesday (December 14th), I got a call that 2 more of the puppies had been captured, and we agreed to take them. That quickly turned into 3 puppies, and at 4:00 pm they arrived from Atlin with another volunteer driver. One of my first jobs was to get photos of them to YARN, and within an hour of me posting photos of Cranberry on my Facebook page, she had been adopted! YARN wondered how the adopting family even knew about her πŸ™‚

Rescue-puppy

Alpine Veterinary Medical Centre once again stepped up and got the new additions – all females – in for their checkups and shots the next day. This is such a huge part of making for a successful story.

As with all of the other puppies, Cranberry got a gold star for this part of her training.

Snuggling a rescue-puppy
Moving the puppies between the house and garage enclosures became much more difficult once there were 7. A storage container became the method of choice – 4 in the first load, then 3 more. Buckets of Berries πŸ™‚Β  All the stuff on top of the kennel was a partially-successful attempt to contain Strawberry. Raspberry and Cranberry were both quickly learning from him.

Moving rescued puppies
In the centre, Gooseberry chilling in the house kennel. We barely got to know her, as she went to her new home in the Whitehorse area last night.

Relaxing rescue-puppies
The whole pack sleeping after a hard spell of play.

Relaxing rescue-puppies
Mornings are pretty exciting! Here, all 7 of them greet me at the garage enclosure yesterday morning. I very quickly got a soft spot for Huckleberry, the second from the left. Within hours of arriving, she had learned to be a first-class snuggler.

Excited rescue-puppies
It’s hard to capture the reality of puppy activity without a video πŸ™‚


Another loaner kennel, this one with 36-inch walls, solved our escape problem. The puppies all like the sleeping-kennel that I attached to it. This used to be our breakfast area – my office is directly to the right.

Rescue-puppies in their kennel
Huckleberry is still with us as I write this, but has been adopted and will be leaving soon. She is so incredibly sweet with that little teddy-bear face!

One of our foster puppies
Getting Blueberry and Cranberry ready for the big trip to their new homes in Nanaimo. Elderberry (we learned that her actual name is Blue) knew that something was up, and wanted into the kennel. She was all over them, licking and nuzzling them. Poor Blue – she did such an incredible job of keeping them safe πŸ™

Two of our foster puppies geting ready to go to their new homes
Blueberry and Cranberry were on last night’s Air North flight to Vancouver, the first stop on their journey. I may have dropped the girls at Air North “Cargo” but all 4 agents on duty sure made it clear that they knew that it was Precious Cargo. Air North, Yukon’s Airline, rocks!

Air North, waiting to transport 2 of our rescued puppies

Last night, things got crazy within minutes of Cathy getting home from work. Among the visitors were 2 families who wanted to adopt and had been approved by YARN. Once they met Gooseberry and Strawberry they concluded the adoptions in our kitchen, and took the puppies home with them!

It was a very quiet morning today. Here, Mom is curled up with 2 of her remaining babies in the kennel beside my desk. Cathy took the 3rd puppy (Huckleberry) to bed with her when we got up for them at 04:30.

Our greatly-reduced foster puppy family

We still have mom and 2 puppies to be picked up, but our adventure is pretty much over. It’s been a very, very special experience that we’ll definitely be repeating.



My New Project – Fostering Rescue Puppies

In my last post, I mentioned a new project that you were going to want to see photos of. Although I’m a bit later showing you those photos than I’d expected because they aren’t many free hours left in my life at the moment, here they are.

The number of dogs needing rescuing is appalling, and rescue puppies often need foster families to get them ready for their forever-homes. The last addition to our family, little Tucker, was a rescue that we adopted through the Yukon Animal Rescue Network (YARN), and I’ve now started working with them in a big way, by fostering a family that’s been rescued from Atlin.

I actually tried to get started with the tiny puppies seen below, a couple of weeks ago. When they got to Whitehorse from Pelly Crossing, though, it was discovered that they had parvo (canine parvovirus or CPV), and I have neither the facilities nor the experience to deal with that awful disease. Luckily, Humane Society Yukon has both at their Mae Bachur shelter in Whitehorse, and agreed to take the puppies and the sick Mom who had been brought down as well. There’s much more to that story, but I don’t know yet whether it has a happy ending, so I’ll move on to one that does.

Rescue puppies from Pelly Crossing

The next request came in to foster 9 puppies (!). I found that initially overwhelming, but offered to take 4, to break into fostering. Things changed, only 4 puppies were caught, and then the mother. Then there was another mother and 2 more pups hidden under a cabin, who couldn’t be coaxed out. I agreed to take the puppies, but not the Mom, as I couldn’t figure out how to keep her separated from Bella and Tucker, whose safety is paramount.

When a photo of the family was sent to me on Wednesday via the man in Atlin who had rescued them, Cathy and I both melted and said that we’d take them all. They would be brought to Whitehorse by the rescuer on Friday.

My first requirement was to get a safe place for them. Another YARN foster family in Whitehorse had a large whelping box that was far too big for their one-day-old litter, so I said that I’d build one more appropriate for them, and take the big one.

Building a whelping box for the YARN rescue puppies
I got the box finished off Friday morning, took it into town, and returned with the large box and a bag of food for the new family. The plan was to have them in the semi-heated garage that normally houses our 2 main cars initially, then see how things play out.

Building a whelping box for the YARN rescue group

YARN uses “group” names to keep track of their rescues/adoptions, and mine was to be the “Berry” litter – Strawberry, Raspberry, Blueberry, and Blackberry for the pups, and Elderberry for Mom.

At about noon on Friday, the Berry Babies arrived, and I got them as settled as possible in the garage while trying to figure out how best to house them. The puppies were in a large kennel while Elderberry was loose. Not surprisingly, she was pretty freaked out.

YARN's rescued husky Elderberry
The little female I named Blueberry, the only one that has blue eyes and looks like Mom, was the first one to melt my heart.

YARN's rescued husky puppy Blueberry
A puppy-pile in the kennel, with Strawberry at the left front.

YARN's rescued husky puppies - the Berry litter

My first job was to get the family to the vet for check-ups and shots. As soon as I’d agreed to take them, I’d made an appointment at the Alpine Veterinary Medical Centre for 2:30, a couple of hours after they were to arrive. Dr. Graham Ellingsen was wonderful with them, as always, and in an hour or so I was headed home with my confirmed-healthy family.

The second job was to get photos of each of the puppies for the adoption page. This is Blueberry again.

YARN's rescued husky puppy Blueberry
Strawberry…

YARN's rescued husky puppy Strawberry
Raspberry…

YARN's rescued husky puppy Raspberry
and Blackberry. I’d get a better photo of Elderberry when she calmed down.

YARN's rescued husky puppy Blackberry
A big part of our job as fosters is socialization. It’s a tough job but somebody has to do it! πŸ™‚ The different personalities of the puppies was very quickly apparent – Blackberry is the snuggler.

YARN's rescued husky puppy Blackberry
Cathy with Blackberry.

YARN's rescued husky puppy Blackberry
The big whelping box didn’t work out – Elderberry said that she couldn’t get over the 2-foot-high walls. So I used it as one wall of a containment area that’s worked out very well. It has a gate, but Elderberry discovered that she can easily clear the lowest wall, which is 22 inches. And that was the plan – the area is to contain the pups, while she has some freedom.

Our containment area for the rescued husky family
Strawberry and Raspberry on the dog bed in the containment area. Everybody learned very quickly what the newspapers were put down for, making life much easier for Cathy and I.

YARN's rescued husky puppies Strawberry and Raspberry
The best photos aren’t staged, they’re records of events that just happen when you have a camera handy. The difference in the whole family is wonderful, but it’s particularly heart-warming to see Mom already enjoying her new life, and trusting that it’s all going to be okay.

Rescued husky and one of her puppies
Elderberry is a very patient Mom. We’re pretty sure that there are puppies from 2 litters here, though, and that Blueberry is her puppy. They have a special bond beyond what the other puppies have with Elderberry. Why she only has one puppy is one of those questions that you quickly learn not to ask in rescuing – you very well may not want to know.

Rescue puppies playing on top of Mom
We have deck chairs set up in the garage now, and snuggle puppies and Mom several times a day, and sometimes just sit and watch them. Watching the changes in them, becoming more confident and more affectionate, is a very special experience. It appears that Elderberry has never been in a house, and has certainly never been on a leash. She really wants to come in the house, though, and Cathy got her into the kitchen this morning. Not surprisingly, she has some food aggression issues, but is very, very affectionate.

Rescue puppies playing on top of Mom

Elderberry and the puppies were posted on the adoption page last night, and as I write this at 06:00, there are already 3 applications in from potential adopters. The puppies are probably just over 6 weeks old, so although they can be adopted now, we’re keeping the family together for another coupleΒ of weeks (until December 15th), as Elderberry is doing some important teaching now. Then we have 2 days to get those who have been adopted to their new homes before the Christmas “no-adoptions” period. See an article I wrote quite a few years ago, Puppies for Christmas, to understand why there are no adoptions for 2 weeks.

We’re still open to the idea that if the other mother and puppies are caught, we’ll take them as well. With temperatures nearing -40 coming on Thursday, we actually hope that that’s what happens.

Many of our friends don’t think that we’ll be able to let all 5 get adopted. It’s a simple decision for us, though. In the summer I hike a lot and simply can’t safely handle more than 2 dogs on the trail. So my part in this process is very clear in my mind.

I’m going to finish this post off with a poster I created this time last year, using a photo of baby Tucker.




I have no shortage of winter projects

Being retired is wonderful. I work as hard as I ever did, but I only take on winter projects that I enjoy. Well, mostly. Toilets and woodstoves still need cleaning πŸ™‚

I’ve just taken on a big new project that you’re going to want to see photos of. Before that starts this afternoon, though, I want to show you what’s been going on the past couple of days.

My project to get my collection digitized will be continuing for years. One of the boxes on the floor behind my desk is full of documents that have been organized and are ready to scan. The other is documents that have been scanned, and are of high enough quality that they’re going back on eBay (where pretty much all of them came from).

Getting documents ready for scanning
The breakfast table right now is my sorting table. The vast majority of that material will be scanned and then will go in the recycling bin. I’ll tell you about the manual in the front in a minute…

Sorting documents for scanning
This is my work station, where I spend several hours every day this time of year. The scanner, an Epson V370 Photo, is getting a lot of use, but will be getting upgraded in the not-too-distant future, as I now need one that can handle large negatives. The big SAD light is on for 20 minutes a day now. With clear skies getting to be more and more rare as the climate changes, dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder becomes more and more important to me. That means vitamins and the light, and getting out as much as is reasonable.

SAD light in my office
The other big project involves driving into Whitehorse. While I was in my comfortable car yesterday, these guys were hard at work at the entrance to my subdivision, making sure that my communications work. Brrr!

NorthwesTel workers up a pole near Whitehorse
It’s been staying fairly mild still, but there are some days like yesterday when the Alaska Highway is just ugly.

A snowy Alaska Highway near Whitehorse
The project lives here, at the Yukon Transportation Museum. Luckily, it lives inside.

Yukon Transportation Museum
This early-1950s Austin A-40 pickup is my project. I’ve offered to finish the restoration of it, to be ready for the Canada Day 2017 parade.

Early-1950s Austin A-40 pickup
It’s a pretty cool little rig. It’s solid, but has been banged around a lot. The mechanical work has been mostly done, but the electrical and body work need a lot of hours.

Early-1950s Austin A-40 pickup
It’s not going to be a show car, and for financial reasons, the interior may not see much more than a cleanup.

Early-1950s Austin A-40 pickup
What a cute little motor! I’m hoping that there’s nothing to do with it other than fix a bad leak from the oil filter that was reported.

Early-1950s Austin A-40 pickup
In the back room, there’s an Austin A-40 panel body as well as spare body and mechanical parts for A-40s.

Early-1950s Austin A-40 panel body
The truck has been on display at the museum, in a partly-restored state. This sign was part of that display. In the 1950s, you could buy a long list of vehicles in Whitehorse, including Ford, Monarch, Chevrolet, GM, International, Chrysler, Renault, Morris, and Austin. The Austin dealership, Tourist Services, was a real “Yukon” business, offering not only cars but a service station, a grocery and meat store, a restaurant, a campground and even a cocktail lounge!

Austin A-40 sign at the Yukon Transportation Museum
An Austin arriving at Skagway in the early 1950s, bound for the Whitehorse dealership.

An Austin arriving at Skagway in the early 1950s

Yesterday was my first long visit with the Austin. I wanted to pick up the manual, and have a thorough look at it so I can develop a work plan for it.

On the way home, I made a quick stop to pick up my mail, and was soon poring through the Austin manual.


I was going to be back to the museum this morning to start work on the Austin, but a call came in yesterday that takes priority for a coupleΒ of days. I’ll let you know about the new addition to my list of winter projects tomorrow, and you’re going to want to see the photos! πŸ™‚



It’s not a Dark Sky Park, it’s just the Yukon

Around the world, light pollution is a concern for many people. For some, it’s an aesthetic issue. Many people today will never see a dark sky, so will never see incredible sights like the Milky Way.

For others, health is the main issue. Artificial light at night can disrupt our circadian rhythm, and the International Dark Sky Association says that “research suggests that artificial light at night can negatively affect human health, increasing risks for obesity, depression, sleep disorders, diabetes, breast cancer and more.” Plants and animals can suffer from similar disorders because of the light that humans have injected into their world. See “5 Species Threatened by Light Pollution” for more information about sea turtles, fireflies, Atlantic salmon, tree frogs, and Monarch butterflies.

Energy Waste

There are also huge energy issues with artificial lighting:

There are huge energy issues with artificial lighting
“Losing the Dark” is a 6½-minute film produced by the International Dark Sky Association. The intro to it summarizes the concerns: “Starry skies are a vanishing treasure because light pollution is washing away our view of the cosmos. It not only threatens astronomy, it disrupts wildlife, and affects human health. The yellow glows over cities and towns β€” seen so clearly from space β€” are testament to the billions spent in wasted energy from lighting up the sky.”


Dark Sky Tourism

It’s hard for those of us who live in places with relatively little artificial light to believe, but Dark Sky tourism is an actual thing. The International Dark Sky Places Program currently lists 69 locations – parks, sanctuaries, reserves, and communities – that have been accepted. There are, of course, lots of places with dark skies around the world that aren’t part of the official program. Those include the territories of northern Canadian, and Alaska.

Dark Sky tourism
As amazing as the Milky Way and even a starry sky in general are, during the winter, many of us in the North want to see more than stars. For anyone wanting to see the aurora borealis – the “Northern Lights” – getting away from any other light sources is really important. Without a dark sky, the colours just aren’t as bright as they could be. Avoiding the full moon is one of the considerations, but getting away from town is huge. A strong aurora display can overpower even some city lights or a full moon, but a lesser display gets washed out.

Aurora borealis south of Whitehorse, Yukon
Although artificial lights of any kind wash out the aurora, I sometimes go looking for traffic, as I did this night up at the Yukon River Bridge on the Alaska Highway. The orange light to the right, however, is the lights of Whitehorse, which is about 25 kilometers (15 miles) away from this spot.

Aurora borealis over the Alaska Highway at the Yukon River

Dark Skies in the Yukon

Driving through or flying over the Yukon, dark skies are the the norm. The Yukon has relatively little artificial outdoor lighting, simply by virtue of there being relatively few people. As of June 30, 2016, there were 37,858 people, of which 29,258 lived in Whitehorse. Most of our communities have street lights.

Lighting up our communities is something that we just do. This is Whitehorse in the photo below. Most people probably think that the lights are installed to keep us safer, but do they? The International Dark Sky Association says that “there is no clear scientific evidence that increased outdoor lighting deters crimes. It may make us feel safer, but has not been shown to make us safer.” A 2015 study in the UK found that streetlights don’t prevent accidents or crime despite the high cost. Researchers looked at data on road traffic collisions and crime in 62 jurisdictions, and found that lighting had no effect, whether the lights were turned off completely, turned off at certain hours, dimmed, or replaced with low-power LED lamps.

Whitehorse, Yukon, on a winter night

In Whitehorse, the increase in city lighting has been dramatic in recent years. Some residents, including me, think that the lighting has reached an absurd level. We have kilometers of streets and highway lit in the middle of nowhere, for no reason. When I drove taxi 25 years ago, we had some winter business taking people to Mountainview Drive, 3-4 miles from the downtown hotels, and sitting by the side of the road watching the aurora. Mountainview and all the roads for miles beyond are all too well lit to allow that now.

At the junction of the Alaska Highway and the road into the Country Residential subdivision I live in, their are 8 sodium-vapor street lights removing the darkness from a long stretch of the highway. Then there’s one more lighting the corner where the street that I live on meets the main road. Then we’d have a dark sky except for the huge sodium-vapor “security light” on one of my neighbour’s property.

The bill for outdoor lighting varies dramatically through the year in the Yukon. With nearly 24 hours of light in mid-summer, lights aren’t on for very long each day. This time of year, on a cloudy day, they can be on for 20 hours or more.

Christmas Lighting

For the first time since 2009, I’m adding to the light pollution in my neighbourhood. I have the lights and inflatable bear on a timer so they’re on from 5-10 pm, but turned them on this morning to take this photo. Putting up lights to make people happy makes Christmas somewhat of a different situation.

My outside Christmas lights

Dark Sky Friendly Lighting

Obviously not all outdoor lighting is bad. Some of the dark sky will be destroyed, but there are ways to mitigate that. The graphic below shows some of the basics, and you can read more about minimizing light pollution and finding dark sky friendly lighting fixtures here.

How to help preserve dark sky

What does the night sky look like where you live?



A quick barely-Winter trip to Skagway

I had to go to Skagway on Thursday (November 10th), and once I was on the road it felt like a very long time since I’d been there. Although I’d spent several days hiking in the White Pass this past summer, I don’t seem to have made it right to the coast since taking the bike down in late August.

On the way down, I was watching for a long string of old WP&YR railcars that have been stored at Carcross for many years, having heard that they were being moved to Skagway. They were at Fraser according to the last report I heard, but the lines were empty there.

The weather has been very mild lately, and there’s also very little snow. It was +6°C (43°F) when I left Whitehorse at about 09:00, and stayed close to that right to the White Pass summit where it had dropped to +1/34 and was snowing lightly.

White Pass summit in mid-November
I made the stop at the Skagway post office that was the reason for my trip, then went on a search for the railcars. I found them at the Railroad Dock. The temperature was back up to 6/43, but it was i>very dark, and raining heavily, so I didn’t get all the photos or even the list of the cars that I was hoping for.

Derelict rail cars at the Railroad Dock in Skagway
Most of the cars are tankers that haven’t been used in many years, but there are also some small flatcars and ballast cars. I expect that they’re going to be broken up for the usable parts – in particular the trucks (the axle/wheel assemblies), as narrow-gauge trucks are nearly impossible to find anymore.

Derelict rail cars at the Railroad Dock in Skagway
A quick stop at the White Pass Shops on the way out of town at 11:20. On May 2, 2017, the first of these locomotives will start taking people up to the summit again.

Locomotives at the White Pass Shops in Skagway
Mixed rain and snow at Mile 14 of the South Klondike Highway, with small avalanches coming down the cliffs. Yuch!

Mixed rain and snow at Mile 14 of the South Klondike Highway
At the 3,292-foot summit, Mile 14.4, the snow was starting to stick and the temperature was -1C, but the road was soon wet again.

Snow at the summit of the South Klondike Highway
Dail Peak, near the BC/Yukon border, was the best place to take a shot to show you how little snow there is yet.


Time to get this posted and get outside. There’s some cold weather coming in a few days (highs around -15C/+5F), and I want to get Christmas lights up on the house, as my daughter is coming for a visit over the holidays πŸ™‚



It’s Office-Work Time: Writing and RV Trip-Planning

Despite what you may think from the inactivity on the blog since I got home from Alberta with Cathy’s new Jeep (which she loves!), I’ve been very busy in the office, though trip planning for next summer is keeping my mind on the road as well. I also spent quite a few hours working on the Yukon election that was held on February 7th and resulted in a dramatic change in government for the territory. Although the candidate I worked for didn’t win in my riding, the party now has a strong majority.

What follows is a list of some of the projects I’ve been working on, researching and writing articles, and starting to plan for next summer’s major (ca. 8-week) RV trip, which will go as far as Vancouver Island.

A few days ago, I got invited to share “Unknown Tourism” with you – it honours some of the animals we’ve lost and are in danger of forgetting, using a set of 6 travel posters that were inspired by those created in the 1930s. Click on the poster below to read it.

Unknown Tourism: Alaska - Go Glacial with the Steller's Sea Cow
I’m back into cleaning up and clearing out my files, and among the pieces I came across were two slim volumes of poetry by Thomas Brooks, who spent 40-odd years in Carcross prior to his death in February 1964. My article on him begins: “Only fragments of the story of Thomas “Tommy” Brooks’ life have been found so far, and much of the information about him that has been published over the years has been found to be inaccurate.” Click on the cover image to read more, including all of his published work.

Thomas Brooks, Ballads of the Northwest
Triggered by receiving 2 bound volumes of The Coachways Thunderbird, “a magazine for and by employees of the Coachways System”, I’ve created a new section at ExploreNorth for bus and motorcoach stories going back, at this point, to the first buses running the Alaska Highway. Again, click on the screenshot below to go to that new section.

Bus & Motorcoach History: Yukon & Northern British Columbia
And finally, I’ve started organizing another 8-week RV trip to start the next season off. This will be almost entirely a BC trip, with Vancouver Island being the main destination. I have a lot of family on the Island, and am planning on 3-4 weeks there. I also, though, want to spend several days each in Tumbler Ridge and Bella Coola, and I’ll be exploring along the Stewart-Cassiar Highway for a week or so. The rest of the summer will be spent in the Yukon primarily, though Alaska, the Northwest Territories, and the Muncho/Summit Lakes section of the Alaska Highway in BC will probably get time as well.

2017 BC/Yukon RV Trip Map

Time to get this posted and get ready to go to Skagway for the first time in a long while!



Driving from Calgary to Whitehorse with the new Jeep

The 3-day drive home with our new Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk was much quicker than I prefer, but it’s always an enjoyable trip.

The total distance from my daughter’s home in Airdrie to mine in Whitehorse was 3,101 km (1,927 mi). Click on the map to open an interactive version in a new window.

Calgary-Whitehorse driving map
The day-and-a-half with my daughter and her family was wonderful, even with the “wet blanket” of not feeling well. Andrea always seems to be driving somewhere, so there’s always something new to see. This view of the Calgary skyline is just south of Airdrie. With more time and energy, I’d love to spend a day out shooting fields and tractors.

Calgary skyline and hay field

One of our stops was at Rona. I’d seen a Facebook post by a Whitehorse women desperately looking for some special wood stain that she’d run out of and now couldn’t find. It was in stock at the Airdrie Rona, so I offered to pick it up for her.

This trip turned out to be useful to a friend looking to move back to Whitehorse, too. Teresa was in Red Deer, and I was happy to be able to offer her a ride.

I also got a request to transport a puppy from Fort St. John to Whitehorse, but it turned out to be a very big puppy, and there just wasn’t enough room left in the Jeep when I left Red Deer. The woman really didn’t seem to understand how involved transporting a puppy thousands of kilometers is, so that request may have died anyway.

Year after year after year, the number of homes and related services being built around Calgary is shocking. Where do all these people come from? Most of the housing developments are huge – virtually new towns – like this one, Livingston.

New Livingston community north of Calgary
Sometimes, a handful of acres are developed in the middle of a farm. That usually results in huge home, especially when the location is on a hill with a view of the Rockies, as this one is.

Huge new homes on acreage north of Calgary
When I left Airdrie at 09:00 on Monday, the weather forecast sucked, calling for fog with occasional light snow or freezing rain. Yup, that’d be Jeep weather πŸ™‚

Fog and snow in Airdrie, Alberta
Coming into Red Deer at 10:15. I love the Jeep’s navigation system. When you have a turn coming up, a screen showing the turn approach opens right in front of you, where the speedometer normally lives. My Spot is over on the left side, showing Cathy where I am all the time, and Nanook is still travelling with me.

Navigation system on the 2016 Jeep Cherokee
Teresa was ready to go when I reached her place, and we soon had the Jeep loaded and were on our way. Monday was a flat day, in terms of both landscape and weather. This was the approach to Grande Prairie on Highway 43 just after 5:00 pm. I hadn’t really paid much attention to the approach, and got totally confused trying to find the strip of motels I wanted. I’ve been to Grande Prairie a lot, but very seldom via this route. DOH! πŸ™‚


Once I found the right area, I quickly chose the Stanford Hotel for the overnight – a good-looking property with restaurant and lounge. The room was good value at $110.88 including taxes, but the restaurant was a huge disappointment to both Teresa and I. The manager didn’t charge me for the rubber-chicken pasta dish that I ate part of. I called a nephew who lives in Grande Prairie, and he met us at the lounge for a while. It was the perfect place to meet, so the Stanford got 2 out of 3.

Tuesday started off flat as well, but the weather had started to clear by the time we stopped at Dawson Creek just before noon. I stopped in at Tourism to see my long-time friend Joyce for a few minutes, then got one of the shots I try to take with every vehicle I bring north, at Mile 0.

2016 Jeep Cherokee at Alaska Highway Mile 0
Up around Km 180 at 2:20 pm. There was enough gravel on the road that I cringed every time a semi approached, and whenever possible I moved to the right as far as possible. I really wanted Cathy to see her new car without a cracked windshield at least once. There were lots of small rock hits, but as the miles passed, my luck held.

Alaska Highway at about Km 180
We gained an hour as we continued northwest. West of Fort Nelson, I made a short photo-stop at about Km 550, where the Alaska Highway drops down from Steamboat Mountain to the Tetsa River.

Alaska Highway at about Km 550
Summit Lake, at 5:43 pm. The temperature had been fairly consistent all day again, up and down between -2°C and +2°C (28-36F), even after the sun disappeared behind the mountains.

Summit Lake, Alaska Highway
Just past Summit Lake, with the drop into “The Gorge” just ahead, we met this young bull moose and his girlfriend. He didn’t stand his ground for long πŸ™‚

Bull moose on the Alaska Highway

I had made reservations at the Northern Rockies Lodge at Muncho Lake, but by the time we reached Toad River Lodge I needed some dinner (and eating there is much cheaper than at Muncho).

The dinner stop turned out to be not a very good idea. Cathy and I had seen some comments that the headlights are poor on the Jeep Cherokee, and my summary now is that they’re totally inadequate for Northern driving. There’s a good beam of light down the centreline, but no “ditch light”, which is mandatory here for seeing animals. The short drive from Toad to Muncho was much longer than normal, because I couldn’t safely go much faster than 70 kmh (43 mph). We saw elk twice, but the odds of seeing a lot of wildlife along that stretch is very high.

The rooms at the Northern Rockies Lodge are a bit spendy ($190.97), but the rooms – and the entire lodge – are very nice. We had the breakfast buffet at the lodge Wednesday morning ($18.50 each plus tax and tip), I took this photo from our room at 08:10, and we were soon on our way again.

Our view at the Northern Rockies Lodge, Muncho Lake
The main Muncho Lake viewpoint, at Historic Milepost 463 of the Alaska Highway (now Km 710.1).


I heard Teresa’s camera clicking a lot, but I only stopped for a few photos – this one at 08:36.

Alaska Highway north of Muncho Lake
I almost drove by these sheep – mostly hidden by the concrete – without even noticing them, but then did a U-turn and came back.

Stone sheep (or Stone's sheep), Ovis dalli stonei on the Alaska Highway
There was very little traffic, and after a momentary jaunt onto the highway, the sheep all stayed behind the concrete barrier.

Stone sheep (or Stone's sheep), Ovis dalli stonei on the Alaska Highway
These are Stone sheep (or Stone’s sheep), Ovis dalli stonei. I figured that the lamb probably didn’t want a snuggle, but I sure would have been up for it πŸ™‚

Stone sheep (or Stone's sheep), Ovis dalli stonei on the Alaska Highway
One final portait after spending 9 minutes with the sheep, and it was time to get moving.

Stone sheep (or Stone's sheep), Ovis dalli stonei on the Alaska Highway
A couple of minutes later, we got stopped for a few minutes to wait for a pilot car. Several kilometers of formerly very narrow and winding road in this area is now history. The job of completely tearing up the old road and seeding it is almost finished.

Construction on the Alaska Highway
I stop at Liard Hot Springs less and less often as the years go on. A hot soak might have helped the cold that seemed to be getting worse, but we passed on by anyway – it would be just as likely to make me too tired to reach Whitehorse that night. Just past the hot springs, these bison stopped us a for a couple of minutes. The ones in the middle of the road weren’t moving, so I drove slowly around them.

Bison on the Alaska Highway
Teresa had never seen Smith River Falls, so I made that detour to show her. The road was the roughest I’ve seen it, but it was still worthwhile.

Smith River Falls, Alaska Highway
The hike to the base of the falls is pretty tough since a forest fire burned the network of stairs, but when the weather cooperates, it’s a great hike. I wouldn’t do it on a frosty morning – the very steep slopes would be a challenge!

Smith River Falls, Alaska Highway
The Liard River at 10:15.


The other photo that I pretty much always shoot with the vehicles I bring north – the “Welcome to the Yukon” sign just south of Watson Lake. Teresa took this photo at 11:30.


Swift River Lodge is now gone, one of the many sad stories about Alaska Highway lodges. It was closed in several stages after being unable to comply with new Yukon government regulations. (See this article in the Yukon News)


With the roads gravel-free as we neared Whitehorse, I was really happy that the windshield had made the trip intact. Just before Jake’s Corner, though, a semi spit a rock out of nowhere, and bang! – a little star right in front of the driver πŸ™

We reached Whitehorse just after 4:30. I dropped Teresa off in Porter Creek, spent a while at the car wash, and was home at 5:20, anxious for Cathy to get home to see her new ride πŸ™‚ Her Tracker looks pretty old sitting beside it!

Cathy's new Jeep Cherokee, with her old Tracker

When I turned the Jeep off in my driveway, it had a total of 3,112 km on the odometer (1,934 mi). The computer says that from the time I picked it up at the dealer’s, it had gotten fuel mileage of 10.0 liters per 100 kilometers, or 23.5 miles per gallon. That’s a bit lower than I’d expected, but not bad given the mountains and snow/slush/gravel encountered. That was an excellent break-in run, and I’m very pleased with the Jeep except for the headlights as I mentioned. But it’s extremely comfortable despite the hard ride that’s to be expected with a vehicle built to be a good off-road machine, and the various components of the operating systems are all easy to use. During the trip, I ran into everything from freezing rain, fresh snow, deep slush, and rough ice, to rain and even some warm, dry roads. Even in the worst conditions, traction was excellent thanks to the combination of drivetrain and the Firestone Destination A/T tires. Only once, when I hit a stretch of ice (rough, frozen slush) north of Jasper, did I have actually select the drive option “Snow” – at all other times, “Automatic” did the job.

I took the Jeep to New North Glass first thing Thursday, and they were thankfully able to seal the wildshield rock-star really well.

Cathy has only taken it to work once so far, and she loves it – both the look and the drive. So the summary is that 2016 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk was the right choice for us.