River Fog in December

River Fog in December
River fog in the Yukon River Valley in Whitehorse

dimanche 8 juillet 2012

I Wandered

                                 Bird over Carcross, Yukon

 I wandered on the beach of Carcross today. My "inward eye" came back to me as I was processing photos. Here is a great classic.

 I Wandered Lonely as a cloud

          I WANDERED lonely as a cloud
          That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
          When all at once I saw a crowd,
          A host, of golden daffodils;
          Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
          Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

          Continuous as the stars that shine
          And twinkle on the milky way,
          They stretched in never-ending line
          Along the margin of a bay:                              
          Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
          Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

          The waves beside them danced; but they
          Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
          A poet could not but be gay,
          In such a jocund company:
          I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
          What wealth the show to me had brought:

          For oft, when on my couch I lie
          In vacant or in pensive mood,                            
          They flash upon that inward eye
          Which is the bliss of solitude;
          And then my heart with pleasure fills,
          And dances with the daffodils.

William Wordsworth

mardi 13 mars 2012

Peel River in Danger, Yukoners Furious

Ogilvie River, westernmost tributary of the Peel watershed.

The Yukon Party government position on the Peel is clear, despite its sibylline language: open it to "development", mine it to death. Ignoring the Yukoners' opinions, largely in favour of protection, and the recommendations of the Peel Planning Commission, the government position makes many Yukoners angry. Bob Hayes is one of them. I publish the letter he sent to Yukon MLAs, which, I believe, reflects the ideas of many people:

The Peel – Planning for wilderness or not

I am dismayed by the recent move of the Yukon Party government to ditch more than half a decade of land-use planning by the Peel Planning Commission. I did not have an idea about how much of the Peel should be protected, trusting whatever the Commission recommends after an exhaustive amount of considered opinions by government, First Nations, stakeholders, and the public. I think their recommendation to protect 80% of the watershed is good because they followed a fair and transparent process to get there. If they chose 40% or 30%, I would be just as happy.

But I am not happy.

Like the past Yukon Party government, nothing about this new one is any different. With less than 40% of Yukoners voting for them, they continue to ram their agenda down all of our collective throats. The Yukon Party’s decision to deep-six the recommended Peel plan is a fundamental challenge to principles of the Land Claims Umbrella Final Agreement, and democratic process. Their ‘majority’ government ensures there will be little opposition in the legislature.

There is a finite end to mountain wilderness in North America, and we are lucky to be living in it. Most Yukoners I know live here because we want to be part of this remarkable natural landscape.

But those of us who believe in a better Yukon can stand up. I will play my small part. I am about to begin a 13-city tour of Germany presenting a German translated version of ‘Wolves of the Yukon’. I will share my criticism of the Yukon Party’s decision to not protect the Peel wilderness with my audiences and German media. I hope they will be just as unhappy with the Yukon Party’s decision as I am. And I hope they write about it.


Bob Hayes

dimanche 15 janvier 2012

The Lifelong Passion of Marcelle Fressineau, Yukon Musher

Marcelle Fressineau and her dogs

The Yukon is one of the most famous places for dogsledding. Long winters, rugged wilderness, and great distances are some of the best assets of the territory. Every year, in February, the legendary Yukon Quest makes the Yukon the center of the mushing world. For all these reasons, passionate mushers from all around the world have decided to make the Yukon their homes. Marcelle Fressineau is one of them. In the following interview she shares her passion for the dogs and for the Yukon.

Damien Tremblay: You were born in Switzerland. You moved in Canada in 1995. What motivated this move? Then, you moved to the Yukon. Why?

Marcelle Fressineau: In Switzerland, I already had sled dogs but I was living in a village where we were not allowed to have more than 6 dogs. Thus, I was looking for another place to live. Quebec was recruiting French speaking immigrants and I found a place there, outside a municipality, where I was allowed to have as many dogs as I wanted.
I moved to Yukon in 2007. I had already visited the territory several times and I loved it.

DT: When did your passion for the dogs and mushing start?

MF: I have always loved dogs. I love winter and winter sports. I received my first sled dog as a birthday present... in 1988.

DT: How would you compare the life in Europe to the life in Yukon? What does your family thinks of your move to Yukon?

MF: I feel more freedom here because there are less people, I guess.
My mother and father passed away before I left Switzerland and my brothers, sister and nephews know me and know that the Yukon life perfectly fits who I am.

DT: You own Alayuk Adventures. Where is it located? What services are you offering?

MF: Alayuk Adventures is located on Annie Lake Road. We offer dogsledding experience from half day to weeks-long expeditions. In summer, we offer guided experiences, canoeing, hiking or backpacking. More info here.

DT: What are the challenges you are facing in your everyday life as a musher and as a business owner?

MF: This life is a challenge in itself. It is like another business, we have to find customers, deliver a good service, etc. But the difference with other businesses is that we must take care of our dogs (It takes time) and feed them. (It takes a lot of money). 365 days a year.

DT : You love travelling in the wilderness. What is your favourite time when you are mushing in the Yukon landscape?

MF: The most memorable moments are always the “Northern Lights video show” and when the dogs speed up suddenly, smelling a wild animal. Then, I can catch a glimpse of a moose, a caribou or a rabbit…

DT : What emotions are you experiencing when you are mushing through the Yukon wilderness?

MF: In this huge wilderness with my dog team, I feel like if we are a little centipede moving silently...

"Yukon Centipede", dogsledding in Yukon

DT : In February 2012 you will participate to the Yukon Quest. Is it the first time?
MF: It is my third time, but I didn’t finish in 2002 and 2005.

DT : Do you have any expectations respecting your performances during that race?
MF: I hope to finish for the banquet.

DT : What kind of preparation is required for the Yukon Quest? In a few words can you tell us what your training schedule is?

MF: It is the second season that I train this dog team. Last season, the dogs ran 6000 km and this season, my goal is to have them run 4000 km before the race, and I am on my schedule. It is a mix of long runs, up to 6 hours or 8 hours, and shorter runs.

DT : What advice would you give to someone who wants to live the dream of being a musher?

MF: The first season, it is better to start with an experienced musher to learn as many things as possible.

DT: Thanks Marcelle and good luck for the Quest.
More information on Marcelle and Alayuk Aventures can be found at: http://www.alayuk.com