Last week while my Mom was visiting Haines, we decided to head out to Chilkoot and check in on Speedy the Bear and her new cubs. Angela joined us and we were treated with a nice viewing of one of Haines’ most beloved and well known Bears. Last winter she birthed 2 new cubs and seeing them for the first time frolicking in the river and eating Salmon was really something to see. Here’s a short video of what we saw…
Here we go again. My mind has spent the day wandering about the empty landscape of my skull and coming up with lots of groovy ideas for trips and adventure in the Great White North. Problem is, I currently have a busted ankle, and no matter how much I work and scrape, I have yet to get a leg (as it were) over these damn house payments and bills to be able to leave long enough to have some time to myself and enjoy the art of traveling, bicycle touring, and mountaineering. This has to change. And it will.
26 months ago, I was sitting in a little shack next to the Ogilvie River, just after breakup, at a time of magnificent high water in the northern Yukon. The ice pack over most of the river was still 36” thick and the water level so high, the mighty stream swelled up, changed course, and destroyed the road not 2 miles from that little shack I sat in to pass the time. The all dirt and gravel Dempster Highway, which leads from Dawson City (essentially) Yukon, to Inuvik Northwest Territories is one of the grandest places I have ever been. It is a spectacle of utterly wild and northern arctic and subarctic landscapes, filled with massive rivers, barren and rugged mountains, tundra, pingos, Caribou, Grizzly Bear, Moose, and Wolf. It crosses the continental divide three times and after traversing the barren and tundra covered arctic landscapes of the far north, ends at the small NWT’s village of Inuvik, a place thanks to the Ogilvie’s bad temperament, I have not yet seen. I reckon August would be a good time for another attempt. Due to broken ankle, no money and other factors, this August is out. I’ve got another year to figure it out and make it happen. I figure riding directly from Haines is an option. On the other hand, driving to Dawson City and starting from there would be best, besides I’ve already ridden all of the way from Haines Junction to Dawson anyhow. Then, when I returned from Inuvik, I could drive the truck across the Ridge Road into Alaska and do a quick jaunt up the Nabessna Road and into the northern portion of the Wrangell Mountains, an area I have not yet become acquainted with.
I miss it up north, I miss the Interior. Haines is a great place to live, but I miss the vast forests and tundra of the far north. I must heal up, make some dough, and get this shit into gear. Three years is too long to have to wait between these adventures. The following months will be challenging indeed. After taking off the air boot today to inspect my “broken ankle”, I have begun to seriously doubt the reliability and integrity of the medical profession. I stiil have yet to even speak to a genuine doctor about this. I was simply told, after 5 weeks of being in a cast, that I was “in need of surgery” by an unknown radiologist whom I have never met or spoken with. That was going on two weeks ago, and still have not heard from anyone in regards to when this supposed operation might take place. After I called the clinic in Juneau a week ago, I was instructed to not call again. “We will call you” I was told. This whole thing is starting to feel like nonsense to me. Looking at my ankle today makes me think it is fine and I should get on with life. I’ll hold out for a while longer I guess, hopefully someone will call soon. All I know right now is that my bicycle is calling my name….