In some peoples’ worlds this is the Year of the Rabbit. In mine this is the Year of the Un-Summer. Through all the places I’ve traipsed this summer I have been exposed to so little Vitamin D that I wouldn’t be surprised if I come down with rickets. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that the only way I’m going to be able to break out my bathing suit this year is if I flee to the Southern Hemisphere for the winter … Which I’m seriously contemplating doing. In any case, yesterday was one of the few days since I’ve arrived in the Yukon that the sun has peaked its sheepish head out to say hello. Here is the The End shot to an entire day spent outside having a hot rendezvous with Mr. Sunshine.
As of yesterday I’ve been alive for a quarter of a century. If I lived in certain states in India it would now be legal for me to consume hard liquor and if I lived in Colonial America I would pretty much be dead. Since I live in a land where life expectancy is high and legal drinking age has long since passed me by I decided to commemorate the day by taking my portrait. Just a quick & serious straight on one shot instead of the usual self-timer funny business. Just a little note for the future saying, “Hey Half Century Jodie, have you met Quarter Century Jodie? She looks something like this.”
There’s a giant speckled bird I keep encountering while strolling along the cliffs that overlook Whitehorse. Yesterday was the closest I’ve ever gotten to him, and it’s the closest I’ve ever been to a bird this large perched in the wild. Both these photos were shot with an 85mm lens, meaning there’s no super telephoto action going on here and I’m close enough that if the bird decided to go all Alfred Hitchcock on me it could have ripped off my face with its razor beak before I even had a chance to protest.
Now, the only thing I know about birds is I like waking up to them better than an alarm clock, so if you know what kind of feather-face this is please tell me.
I’m so excited I’m practically pulling my hair out:
It’s because I was gifted a new old camera from an old family friend. It’s a Pentax 6×7, or as some have said, “The Arnold Schwarzenegger of cameras – everything else is a girlie-man compared to this behemoth”. It’s a schmancy medium format film camera from years & years ago. If this sounds like a load of photo nonsense to you all it means is instead of using standard 35mm film (which is 24mm X 36mm) the camera uses 120 film, which is more than 4 times as large (56mm X 67mm). It’s such a monster that its tripod looks more like a deadly steel bludgeoning weapon than a camera stabilizer:
I don’t know exactly when we’ll have our first rendezvous because I’m currently in the Yukon and it is not, but I’m still excited. This is what the ol’ beast looks like:
Jack Handey said it better than I ever could:
“Is there anything more beautiful than a beautiful, beautiful flamingo, flying across in front of a beautiful sunset? And he’s carrying a beautiful rose in his beak, and also he’s carrying a very beautiful painting with his feet. And also, you’re drunk.”
Click on the photos for a bigger, fatter sunset in your face.
Lately I’ve been spending so much time driving (for my job as Yukon hunting outfit errand wench) that if all else fails I could probably just become a trucker. The last leg of my regular drive is to Seagull Lakes, which is the rendezvous point halfway between base camp and mountain camp. If I were to give you driving directions to Seagull they would go something like this:
Turn down the old mining road after Groundhog Creek. Drive through 4 creeks, past the dilapidated trapper’s shack, past the abandoned mining trailer, and along the rocky cliffs leading over the passes of the Pelly Mountains. When the road becomes so steep and rutted you think it’s impossible to continue, put your vehicular unit in four-wheel drive and continue on until you see a lakeside clearing with a string of waiting pack horses.
The Vehicular Unit
This is Triton, the trusty gas devouring truck in which I’m learning to be a lean mean 4X4-ing machine.
Some of the tamer sections of the old mining road.
The Trapper’s Shack
This is the trapper’s shack where I keep hoping to encounter a mad bearded human who will invite me in to dine on some of the gourmet goods I’ve been finding scattered outside the place (cans of ginger ale and Chef Boyardee, that is).
Once I get over the fear of plummeting off a cliff or being stranded hundreds of miles from civilization by an especially deep mud pothole/punctured tire/other mechanical failure I realize that I have this view all to myself and feel very happy indeed.
Once upon a time the hunting outfit I’m working for in the Yukon thought it would be fun if I trailed in halfway from base camp to mountain camp with the crew. I’m suspicious they were desperate for entertainment and just wanted to see me, who had never really ridden a horse before, bucked right off the mountain pass. In any case, I saddled my trusty steed Banjo (or rather, I had someone else do it for me) and off I went on a 5 hour trail ride.
They were right, it was fun … Except for the part where I couldn’t walk for 2 days afterward.
This is Banjo. Thankfully during the 5 hours I spent on him he was too busy making sure no other horse got near his ladyfriend Dixie to bother bucking me off.
This is Ty doing whatever it is you have to do to a horse before you can ride it because I certainly couldn’t be trusted to do it myself.
On the dusty trail.
Somewhere in the beeeyoootiful Pelly Mountains.
Somewhere else in the beeeyoootiful Pelly Mountains.
Beer of triumph at the end of the trail.
Maybe you’re wondering what exactly it is I’m doing up in the Yukon. Even if you’re not I’m going to tell you anyway. I’m working for a hunting outfit (Yukon Stone Outfitters, if any of you have a hankering for a hunt). Since I’m an embarrassment to my Northern roots and possess the outdoor competency and skills of a city girl, my job is to do what I’m good at. That is, to stay in the city and get shit done. Like pick up hunters, groceries and other supplies and get them out to the mountain camps, do paperwork, answer phone calls, deliver animals to the taxidermist, and so on and so forth.
After the long trip up the Alaska Highway I erroneously assumed I was going straight to my post as errand wench in Whitehorse. Turns out I was going to Lapie Lake with the rest of the crew, which is Yukon Stone’s base camp. This is particularly funny because expecting to be city bound all I did to prepare was not unpack my tour suitcase and bring it along. And this is when I learned my first lesson in outdoorsiness – a polka dot raincoat may be stylish at a music festival, but it’s not so handy when you’re chopping wood and fetching water in the rainy mountains.
Home sweet cabin at Lapie Lake.
An extra bunkhouse.
Outhouse and showerhouse where a gloriously hot splish splash can be enjoyed if you know how to properly hook the propane tank up. I don’t.
Ponies snacking outside the powder room.
Dinner cooking on the outdoor stove in the almighty cast iron frying pan.
Enjoying a nightcap around the outdoor stove. Yes, despite the bright light this is nighttime … Somewhere between 9-10pm, to be exact.
JP standing over her kingdom of kitchen goods to be hauled on horseback to mountain camp. Or, the day I was schooled on the art of packing horse pack boxes.
Sunrise over the dock at Lapie Lake. Or, where teeth are brushed and water is fetched for cooking, washing, and drinking.
Oh look, it’s another picture of how gorgeous Lapie Lake is.
The sun finally setting.
Click on the picture for a better look at sunset panorama action.
Oh look, it’s another beeeyoootiful sunset over Lapie Lake.