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Adventures of our Doggie Sitters....

Posted: Feb 05 2014

We know lots of you enjoyed hearing about Deb and Pete, the Australians who lovingly cared for our doggies when we went back to the UK last summer, so we thought you might enjoy reading an excerpt from John and Sandra's blog. Recommended by Deb and Pete, they looked after Simon and Rocky over Christmas and our doggies are smitten! We hope you enjoy hearing about their fabulous adventures in the Yukon, where they journeyed after leaving us....

"The unseasonal warm weather continued for most of our remaining 2 weeks in the Yukon. We were blessed with absolutely glorious sunny days, but on the downside, the melting and refreezing of our driveway made passage almost impossible. After a couple of hair-raising trips, we decided to leave the car at the bottom and walk down in the mornings wearing our showshoes.

On our next visit to Whitehorse, we visited the Yukon Wildlife Preserve after first stopping next door at Bean North for coffee. We had been advised that the 5km walk would take about two hours, but it took us over three, mainly due to the uncharacteristically hot 2 Deg C temperature which brought the Arctic Foxes and Canadian Lynx out of hibernation. The two foxes were fantastic as they would shyly, but inquisitively come right up to us at the fence, then race off. We spent nearly an hour at these two exhibits alone. We also got up real close to a sitting Bull Moose and saw Bison, Musk Ox, Caribou, Elk, Deer, Bighorn Sheep and agile Mountain Goats. It was great to see these animals in their winter coats with their huge antlers on display. We only left when our camera batteries ran flat! We had picked the perfect day for visiting the reserve - bright sunshine with almost no clouds to be seen.

With the promise of another nice, clear day, we set off in the Subaru at 9:00 am for the 110 km drive along the Klondike Highway from Carcross, over White Pass, to Skagway in Alaska. The scenery along the way was absolutely breathtaking and the road relatively flat as we followed the western shore of Tagish Lake, crossed into British Columbia and then along Tutshi Lake. It was difficult to find places for photos as most of the drive along the lakes has steep mountains rising from the road with "Avalanche Area - Do Not Stop" warnings. Avalanches or poor visibility constantly close the road in winter so we were fortunate it was open and in excellent condition. Shortly after Tutshi Lake, we arrived at the Canadian Customs Office at Fraser on the shores of Bernard Lake. Next came 27 km of no-man's land as we crossed the US/Canadian border into Alaska. While driving through this no-man's land, we pondered what might happen if we did not have our passports and were stuck, unable to enter the US, and unable to return to Canada - a scary thought! We arrived in Skagway just before Noon to a clear, but very cold morning with a mist settled over the bay. The sun had not yet fully risen and the small town was totally deserted. As we walked along the main street, only one in twenty establishments was open even though it was Saturday morning. In the summer, the town plays host to 10,000 tourists dropped off by the cruise ships. In the off-season, however, everything is closed. After a nice fish and chip lunch, we drove the nine miles along one of the many inlets to the old and now deserted town of Dyea. This was a single lane dirt road, but it offered some spectacular scenery and three sightings of American or Bald Eagles.

My favorite toy of all time is now a Bobcat. I spent another couple of days trying to dig up the solid ice on the driveway and then lay woodchips over the top. I even used it to carry a water tank up the driveway after the plumbers could find no other way to do it.

The warm and often windy weather had completely removed all the snow from Crag Lake, and the cold nights had refrozen the lake to a mirror-like finish so when the sun had burned off the morning fog and cloud, we were invited down to the local lake front settlement to try our hand at some skating. We spent a fantastic four hours on the late watching the skating, but declined the offer to participate and instead walked across on snowshoes and photographed all the action! As the sun began to set, Theo lit a fire in a pan on the ice and we stood around chatting till the sun disappeared behind the mountains and the temperature once again plummeted. We ventured out again a few days later for ice hockey, but the incredibly thick frost that covered the trees, had also left a thin crust on the lake. We had to walk to the other side to find clear ice, but the wind was also blowing on this side, making the -15 Deg C air temperature very unpleasant, so after a cold walk back into the biting headwind we enjoyed a roaring fire and hot chocolate on the ice, sheltered from the wind as we soaked in the last rays of sunshine.

The maximum Aurora Borealis activity forecast during our stay was only 4/10. As this also occurred on a clear night, we set out at 10:30 pm and drove to the nearby Carcross Desert which would give us the best views north. After setting up our cameras, we retired to the warmth of the car and a thermos of hot chocolate. At around midnight, we saw some faint green lines in the sky that lasted for about thirty minutes. We stayed until just after 1:00 am and then headed home. Although we could barely make out the Aurora, our cameras did a much better job of picking up the color.

After a superb five weeks, we once again reluctantly said goodbye to the donkeys, dogs, budgies, cat, and fish, along with lovely family and all the friendly people of the Crag Lake settlement. After a five-day layover in Vancouver, we will head off to our next month long housesit in Calgary.



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