Yukon Gold In Fall Landscapes
A Modern Gold Rush
There is gold in them thar’ hills. Yukon gold. And it is free for the taking, once you discover it.
The gold rush of the past still haunts the other gold rush that has long outlasted the mineral quest of the last century. But unlike the former, wherever you venture in the fall are golden poplars, smattered with red shrubbery and purple hills and, if you are lucky, blue is in the skies reflecting off of the water. The yellow and blue make a colour palette marriage known by artists to create interest. Complementary colours. Intrinsically high contrast, warm yellow and cool blue. In the Yukon, at the beginning of September, warm may be the days but cool is biting the back of your neck and crawling down your spine as soon as the heat of the sun fades.
Head to the rivers and lakes and bogs and ponds for the most dramatic gold and blue landscapes. There you can reflect in the drama of early morning mist or late afternoon sunset, ideal for the sweetest light. As you scout locations for these warm hours, be mindful of the critters that can give you a bad time when you are least expecting them. Even in Whitehorse, with its far reaching suburbs, a grizzly sow and cubs are known to wander through the hood, giving no one any notice.
The essence of the north, breathtaking, dramatic and wild. Always a rush!
For more on the Yukon and golden fall landscapes, see also:
Yukon Fall Landscape ©heathersimondsphotography.com
Yukon Sled Dogs Up Close and Friendly
Dense Sled Dog Living
“The sled dogs are all friendly”, the towering, young Swiss staff member offered with utmost confidence.
Our field of view is a foreground of vigilant sled dogs against a snow dusted mountain backdrop. An atypical yard for dogs, well over 120 in number, all within mere inches of each other by chain. That is dense dog living. Close quarters communing. Considering the famed strong-willed personalities of sled dogs, it sounds and looks like a canine war zone. And this man is telling me that every one of them is friendly with such resolve that a challenge to test his proclamation is on.
Surprisingly, harmony, more or less, prevails over the dog yard. Only a few are curled inside their just big enough dog houses, heads protruding, keeping a wary eye on potential action. Alert to any sign of potential action, poised to spring, if only to the end of their chain tethers. Almost as intimidating is the vocalization of barking, whining and howling. Then, as if the choirmaster has motioned silence, the chorus subsides with a few off-key renditions. Most dogs are sitting on their homes, pacing their allotted space, or making deep circles around their allotment. All are ready for any indication that action in the form of running, chasing, or exercise in general, is about to happen. It is the calm before the hiatus, an opportune time to get to know these indefatigable canines.
After a month of Yukon rain the muddy mire that the dogs are living in gleams with stickiness. “Some may jump up on you” he cautiously warns. Images of gooey, sticky, brown muck pawing all over me clouded my dog loving brain. Momentarily the conflict is overcome. If that is all I have to fear then life is good as they say. Bracing for the inevitable gritty encounters, the only way to experience gregarious personalities of Yukon sled dogs is to embrace it up close. Even if it involves a face freckled with mud splatters.
For more on dogs and the Yukon, see also:
British Columbia Rainforest Walk
Almost any day a walk can invigorate the soul, so what makes this British Columbia rainforest so special?
In the autumn the sprinkling of big leaf maples among the firs and ferns makes a sauntering stroll particularly magical. No matter if your jaunt is interceded by precipitation. The protective canopy keeps the ambiance fresh without overwhelming. Thankfully, the rainforest is known better for it’s dampening effect than its bracing downpour. Around every corner are enchanting surprises, leaf strewn pathways, inukshuks, peek a boo falls, artifacts from the coal mining era and always moss laden logs in various stages of decomposition. Fungi make a home in the ones lying prone on the forest surface and it isn’t unusual to find ferns sprouting from mossy branches still hanging on to the mother tree. It is the stillness that is haunting. If you come without noise props you can hear the forest sing of peace in the land, quietly absorbing your cares away.
With that much power, a rainforest walk can be more tempting than a cinnamon bun. However, you may feel you deserve one at a local bakery after your mental and physical workout. For bakeries in Ladysmith near Holland Creek (where these photos were taken) check out Old Town Bakery or In The Bean Time to quell the appetite you worked up on the rainforest trail.
For more on the British Columbia Rainforest see:
New York City – High Line Trail
Let’s go for an urban walk. How about taking on one of the largest, most famous cities in the world? Then, let’s set as a basic requirement that it must be outside and elevated; with at least 2 hours of continuous trail. And, just to mix it up, let’s be immersed in nature as a foreground AND architectural styles spanning 200 years as the backdrop. Now, with the stage set, let’s go for a walk.
New York City? Can it be?
Everyone knows about Central Park with its ponds and bike paths and runners and dogs and marathons and grass and the overly impressive reservation it has offered generations of locals and visitors. If you head away from central to Lower West Side Manhattan a unique trail has been making a mark in the urban walker’s guidebook since 2009. Take an abandoned rail line, let ambitious locals run with a plan and, now, the Big Apple can boast a promenade that treats around 5 million visitors annually to year round gawks at cityscapes from an elevated perspective. The High Line or High Line Park deserves further inspection so don your pacers and launch this 2.3 km rails-to-trails find. Aloft and jaunty, the trail offers views of the Meatpacking District and Chelsea, meadows waving in the foreground of transit rail yards and sweeping views down streets with iconic buildings holding up the rear. On a fall day, at either end of your ramble, end an extraordinary urban walk in a small cafe with more people watching on offer.
For other walks in unusual places see: