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  • Writer's pictureRobert Gidley

We saw a bear!

Aug 5, 2022 (Fri)


Yes, we have seen mosquitoes, although not the “clouds” of mosquitoes that some stories would have. Still, they are very clever buggers—if we open the door for even a few moments, several of them are waiting and dart in.

Robert lathers up with “Jungle Juice” (full of DEET—strong chemical) and still manages to get bit. Fortunately, we have a cortisone roll-on (“Maximum Strength”) which helps with the itching. Of course, when they bite you near an eye (as Gini has experienced), it’s a bit tricky to get that roll-on going.

The most satisfying part is swatting them, although when they’re full of blood, it feels like closing the barn after the horses have escaped. Still, we take some satisfaction in the knowledge that they’ll not be raising baby mosquitoes with our blood!

Harvey in his natural environment in Teslin, Yukon

11:50 am Teslin, YT

On our way out of town, we stop at the Tlingit Heritage Center (since we camped on Tlingit land, it only seems hospitable).

When we pulled into the Center, there were cars everywhere! Parked in all kinds of crazy places and we ended up by the side of the road.

“Wow,” we thought, “This is some happening museum!”

Turns out we picked one of the three times during the year that the Tlingit governing council meets and they are meeting right smack in the middle of the heritage center. It’s actually pretty cool to watch government in action—but like any government action, it’s hard to follow what’s going on.

We liked one report: “We built 18 homes last month. That’s all.” The chair was a bit surprised at how short the report was, but we thought it was perfect.

The Inland Teslin Tlingit have five clans (Frog, Raven, Eagle, Wolf, and Split Tail Beaver). Each clan gets five representatives on the council, so there were 25 folks there in a big circle.

We walked through the exhibits that we could, watched government in action for a bit, bought some earrings, and went on our way.

Robert with the totem for Clan of the Raven

All the clan totems outside the Heritage Center

About those purple flowers

One of our clever readers (thanks, Dave) has informed us that the purple flowers that are everywhere are called Fireweed, because they are one of the first flowers to appear after a fire (so we were right about the “hardy little buggers” part).

They also grow even when there isn’t a fire (we were worried there for a minute, because that would be a lot of fires!). They are the Yukon’s “floral emblem” (which we think is Canadian for “official flower”). In England, they call it “bombweed.”

1:35 pm 50 miles south of Whitehorse

Most of the Alaska Highway for the last zillion days has been what’s called “Bituminous surface treatment,” sometimes called chip seal. It certainly beats the heck our of washboard dirt, or even gravel, but it’s noisy and bumpy and when we suddenly hit a proper asphalt road—Whoo! We’re living it up, now, baby! It got quiet enough we no longer have to yell at each other to be heard. Our nerves calm down right away…

2:30 pm Whitehorse, YT

This is why the road suddenly got nice: Whitehorse, the Capital of the Yukon Territories (YT)!

This is a bustling metropolis of 30,000 people, and 70% of the people who live in the YT live in Whitehorse. Turns out that the Yukon is about the size of California, only with about 1/100th of the population. This certainly explains all those empty spaces…

We breathe deeply because this is the cleanest air in the world! No kidding—Guiness World Records has said that Whitehorse has the least air pollution in the whole world.

5:45 pm Belly of the Bison, Whitehorse, YT

We decide to eat here because of the name of the restaurant (“Belly of the Bison”) and it’s so fancy that we should have made reservations! Also, people everywhere! We’re not used to seeing so many people at once. There must be two dozen people here!

We decide to enjoy the wildlife by eating them, and we order Elk Roulade, which is quite tasty (cloth napkins!). Gini says, “Elk tastes just like beef,” in case you were wondering.

This is what our dinner looked like after we ate it. It was yummy!

7:00 pm We see a bear!

On the way back to the RV park from downtown, on a four-lane road:

“Holy Crap! It’s a bear!” exclaims Robert

“What?! Where?” says Gini, who somehow managed to be looking elsewhere.

“It just ran in front of Harvey!” babbles Robert.

We turn Harvey around (not a trivial maneuver) and head back to watch the bear in the bushes, so Gini got to see him. But neither of us can get our phone cameras out in time to get a picture. It was black and about five feet long, on all fours. We both had the impression it was a juvenile, but we are far from Bear experts.

We saw a bear!

By the numbers

“99 percent of all statistics only tell 49 percent of the story.” Ron DeLegge II

Miles traveled so far: 1,711

Estimated Percentage of total road miles: 50% (Halfway!)

Days so far: 12 days

Estimated Percentage of total road days: 39%

Gini & Robert

Harvey Staff

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