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! 🙂

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.


Last puppy, cemetery research, and starting a Yukon Quest tour — 2 Comments

  1. Geeze Murray, you just can’t keep us without your blog for such a longtime…Glad to read up again and surely can understand how hard it must have been to let Peanut go. What a handsome puppy ! Anxious to follow you and the Quest . That bunch is lucky you still take on such tour guiding. Have a great Quest trip and keep everybody safe.

  2. After being away from your blog for a few weeks (just enough winter adventures to keep me occupied here at home) I checked back tonight and am looking forward to enjoying the dog sled adventure, as I can see a few more days postings. Already know I will be enjoying it!