Good Bye, Dawson City (until next year)

Dear Vi,

Our Yukon summer sojourn is over. We drove away from Dawson City two days ago.

Tomorrow will see the Yukon behind us for another winter.

I took a lot of walks, saw two parades, read a lot of books, made my 60,000 word goal on the next novel, made some new friends, and learned some interesting things this summer. And I still haven’t told you what brought us up here in the first place.

It would be so easy to stay and make a home here…so easy to knit myself into the community.

We’ll be back next summer, for four months this time. Four!I’ve got some planning to do! Maybe I’ll teach a dance class, see if any local writers want to get together, join the fitness club, make a quilt by hand, start another novel…

Life is grand and full of possibilities!

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Autumn Knitting

Dear Vi,

Well, the frost is on the pumpkin here, and our time in Dawson is nearly done. There are so many things I haven’t shown you yet! This is my view out the front window: a dredge pond surrounded by tailings piles left by the dredges sometime in the early 1900s. The rocks make a great background to show you the knitting projects that have kept me busy. We will be loading up the camper and heading south sometime next week. I had hoped to have this sweater finished and a good start on a second one by summer’s end, but my ambition exceeded my capacity. Kelly has one last big trip to fly this weekend, and I will tell you all about it when he gets back. Today I’m off to town in search of warmer clothing. Autumn comes early this far north. I hope you’re keeping warm, too!

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The Streets of Dawson City

Dear Vi,You might have heard that the streets of Dawson City are paved with gold,but the truth is, they aren’t paved at all.Here’s evidence: boot brushes outside the door of every establishment.And miles of boardwalk.This summer has been a writing retreat for me. I left home with a sketchy idea for my next novel, and today I’m well over halfway there. I’m writing about 1,000 words every time I sit down, which has been about 5 days per week. Sometimes more, sometimes less. When I’m not writing, I’m reading All The Books, which is so incredibly delicious – a summer of unlimited time.

And I’ve been accompanying Sam on his walks, of course. We love to walk up and down the streets, the boardwalk sometimes booming under our feet, sometimes squeaking , often soft with age.

I brought quilting projects and everything I need to sew a blouse, but haven’t taken my sewing machine out even once. And that’s just fine. It’s okay to stop once in awhile to wade in the water and smell the grass.

Don’t you agree?

Posted in Blog Categories, Dawson City Yukon, Samson, Walks, Writing | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Dawson City, Yukon: old and new, side-by-side

Dear Vi,

Dawson City sits at the place where the Klondike and Yukon Rivers merge.

The Klondike River is on the left, the much larger Yukon River on the right

In many ways, the town itself mirrors this merging. The rivers flow side-by-side for a ways, the line between the muddy Yukon and the (slightly) clearer Klondike easy to discern. And the city flows side-by-side, too. Old and new holding hands the way you did with your best friend back in kindergarten. Yes, Dawson City is a historic gold rush town, fun to visit.

The community library is located within Robert Service School. How cool is that?

But it’s also a town where people live and work and raise their kids. Old and new are side by side everywhere you look.This is where I buy my groceries:And the liquor store (in the old harness shop!):My favourite restaurant:The local community radio station (with proud show hosts):The Gold Rush, past and present, all coming together where the rivers meet. And the First Nations…don’t assume I’ve forgotten them. Their story is the oldest of all. But I’ll save that for another time, another letter.

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Living Small in Dawson City

Dear Vi,

You probably already figured out that Kelly and I are spending the summer in Dawson City, Yukon, where Kelly is flying for Great River Air, but I heard you were wondering what our housing situation is like. We are living in company-provided housing…a very comfortable 26-foot travel trailer on the company lot in a residential industrial area (that’s an oxymoron if I ever saw one!) four kilometres outside of town.

As you can imagine, it’s a dusty place.

This is our little home-away-from-home. That’s us on the right. We share the outside space with our neighbours, fellow pilots also working for Great River Air.It didn’t take long to settle in. Throw a handmade quilt on the bed and it’s quite homey. This is a scrappy maple leaf quilt with blocks from the We Bee Canadian quilting friendship group I belong to. I finished it just in time to travel north with us.

There’s another handmade quilt on the back of the couch: Garden Party, which I made a couple of years ago. It’s astounding, really, how easy it is to live in such a tiny space.

It’s so easy to get caught up with stuff. We all have so much of it! But living here for these couple of months, I realize how little I really do need.That’s not to say I don’t appreciate or miss the luxuries of home!

Home is where the laundry dries in the sun. No matter where I am living, I still avoid the electric dryer, lol. I’m such a hippie girl.

Doing without certain conveniences for a period of time reminds me to include them on my daily gratitude list.

Things like internet access and not having to conserve water, for example.

What conveniences do you take for granted?

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Dawson Blooms

Dear Vi,

This morning, the radio reported that it was overcast in Dawson City when in reality the sky was blue, blue, blue with not a cloud in sight. Our weather reports come from Kelowna, BC, over a thousand miles south. And this morning we had the news feed coming in from Yellowknife, about 1,000 miles to the East. Serious distances.So how would they know the weather was completely wrong , way over here? Heh heh heh.Well, such a beautiful day requires pictures of flowers, don’t you agree? My neighbour brought me a bouquet from her lovely flower garden:And I even have a few pots growing beside our travel trailer home.One of the things I’ve always loved about Dawson City is the flowers. Along fences and other creative places…Summer is short in the Yukon.The first leaves come out in mid May and they start to change in late July.Mother Nature has a lot to do and not much time to get it done.When you live in a landscape where you’re always dealing with winter or preparing for winter, colour is very important.

Dawson City used to be known for its beautiful vegetables. I remember walking the side streets and alleys, gasping in admiration of the back yard gardens, the giant cabbages and lush trellised peas. But times and priorities change, along with the population. The old timers are mostly gone, and the new people moving in aren’t here for the long haul, and so don’t garden. That’s my guess, anyway.

But thank goodness the flowers remain as bright and plentiful as always.

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