For the Discovery Day long weekend here in the Yukon, we went camping to the Five Mile Territorial Park near Mayo.

Not only was the park not full, so we were able to get a few sites for us all, the weather was incredible! Warm, dry, and so sunny.

Our friends headed out early in the day on Friday and picked us a couple spots for the 4 of us, then over the course of the weekend 4 more friends filtered in and out, some with tents, another couple slept in the back of their car, and even a hammock made an appearance!

Between all of us, there were 5 dogs!

We camped here at Five Mile for the May long weekend. This time the snow was all gone 🙂 The lake was warm. I even swam for 20 minutes or so!

Our friends had a kayak and a canoe, so they spent a bunch of time paddling. We don’t have many lakes in our area, so this was a real treat!

On Saturday morning Jeff made sausage and pancakes for all of us!

There is a hike around the lake, just under 4 kilometres long. The problem is, the water is so high, that sections of it were under water, so we got very wet feet wading through it. We spent the first 3/4 of the hike trying to bushwhack around the water holes, then said, f-it, our shoes will dry.

And they did!

Along the trail, there were some old cabins and their outhouses around the lake.

And mushrooms everywhere! Of all sorts and colours. August is mushroom season in the Yukon.

Me hiding in an old outhouse to spook my friends:

We went for a couple other hikes over to the road that goes to the Mayo hydro electric dam, since they weren’t underwater and wet.

On Sunday night all of us decided to walk all the way to the dam. There were a bunch of steep hills to climb, then one steep descent down to the dam.

Climbing back out of the dam area, two of us were out ahead, I was taking my time going up the hill, thinking of ducking into the trees for a pee, also looking over the steep drop off over the guard rail, thinking of how much gravel they needed to build this road, taking this next picture, and two others were back behind, just leaving the dam. I turned around to check that they were coming and thought, “Who brought this big fuzzy black dog” and turned back forward to keep climbing.

Then, I could hear the two friends behind us shouting “LISA!!” and that’s when I clued in that was a big black bear behind me! Its mouth was open and it was smiling, just like a panting dog would be.

I kept walking up hill while I grabbed the bear spray out of the side pocket of my knapsack. For the first time ever, I slide the safety cap off and got ready. While I’m doing this, I’m saying “bear… bear… Bear!” hoping that Jeff ahead would hear me. Our other friend up ahead thought I was just being preventative, and didn’t realize there was actually a bear.

I crested the top of the hill and around the corner so I couldn’t see it anymore. Then we heard banging! Our friends behind were smashing rocks on the guard rail, making a big racket!

Later they told me the bear came out of the woods right behind me and was following me up the hill, but then went across the road, under the guard rail and down the steep slope. They were banging on the metal to make sure it stayed down there so they could pass.

And that was my first bear encounter in person! I’m impressed at how calm I was. Maybe it was because my heart was already pounding from the climb up?

On Monday morning, there was some rain sprinkles and clouds. Guess that helped signal it was time to venture home!

The ride to and from the campground was slow due to so much construction on the Klondike highway, with its mud and long waits for pilot cars, but even that was worth it for such a great weekend with friends!