Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Day to Relax

While it wasn’t a great day in terms of wildlife sightings or covering scenic mileage, given our mental and physical states, today was truly perfect. First off, the unthinkable happened. We slept 9 hours last night! This is extraordinary in the context of the incredibly long daylight hours this far north. When we went to bed last night at 10:30 pm, it was still very light outside. We’ve been re-taping sheets of aluminum foil to our bedroom windows each night, which turns the bed area into a fairly dark spot, but the rest of the trailer is very bright all the hours we’re awake, and many of those we sleep. If we wake at 3:30 a.m., it’s already light again. This has contributed to our waking at 4:30 or 5:30 a.m. every morning since we left home. One unanticipated benefit of the very long daylight hours is that we almost never use lights in the trailer, so even if we’re camped without electric hook-ups, there’s never an issue with our 100-watt solar panel providing adequate power.

Alaska 20109

Today we went for a drive down the Warm Bay Road south out of Atlin, about 20 kilometers on a well-graded gravel road that took us to Palmer Lake where we saw a loon and enormous swan, Warm Springs (small pools of warm, not hot, water) and The Grotto, which we have no idea from where it took its’ name as there were no caves in evidence. Next we took a walk around Atlin, checking out the historic landmarks and touring the Pioneer Cemetery. We now understand why the incidence of cancer is so much on the increase in the developed world, as most of the people buried in this cemetery died as infants or adults in their 20s, 30s or 40s from things like accidental gunshot wounds (being mistaken for a bear), drowning, starvation or mining accidents, according to the information on their tombstones. Finally, we briefly cruised town with our laptop turned on until we stumbled across a spot where we picked up an unsecured internet signal.

Alaska 201010

And a final note about the Yukon Territory. The entire population of this vast province, which is bordered by the Beaufort Sea to the north, the Northwest Territories to the east, and Alaska to the west, is only 34,000 people. More than 25,000 of them live in Whitehorse, the government seat. There are only 2 towns with close to 2,000 residents (Dawson City and Watson Lake), and the remainder of the towns number under 1,000 residents, often double-digit numbers. There are 93 named towns with fewer than 50 year-round residents.     IMG_2612    

       A View From the Trailer 9 PM

So the activities of today, in this gorgeous, scenic, quiet town, were just what we needed. We’ve sorted out our new itinerary for the next few days and head to Skagway tomorrow.

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