We spent part of the September Labour Day long weekend labouring!
With -1°C forecast for Saturday night, it was time to harvest the garden boxes. We picked all the tomatoes, including the green ones. Last year we had great success with them ripening on their own over the next couple of months, when mixed with a few ripe ones.
I harvested the herb garden too and am trying out Jeff’s new dehydrator rather than hang them this year. Soon I’ll replenish our supply of sage, oregano, rosemary, chives, and parsley.
Jeff cleaned out our gutters again. They get full of birch seeds and clog up. Some needed some repairs and while he was up on the ladder he found some loose roof tin that he re-secured.
It is a rare day when we focus on projects here at home. I’m so pleased with the new paint job, including our old front porch. I know the paint may take a month to cure, but after a week, I had to get our Joe Stock built wooden chairs back outside (and out of our little living room). They look as good as the day they were built!
It really was -1°C on Sunday morning! It doesn’t seem like we had frost though so maybe the garden would have been fine, but no regrets, it’ll frost soon anyway.
We were debating a good boat trip for a few days. Maybe we’d go all the way up river to 60 Mile!? But it is cold!
We hummed and hawed if we should go or wait for another day, but it was sunny! So we bundled up and went for it! Jeff loaded the boat with plenty of gas just incase we went super far.
I wore 3 layers, top and bottom! There is no shield from the wind in this inflatable boat, so the breeze while you’re cruising on the river is chilly!
This flannel buff felt wonderful on my cheeks and kept the wind out of my ears.
I took almost no pictures, because I was also wearing mittens.
At one point, after passing a group of rafters and couple in a canoe, we pulled ashore for a pee break. Only the water was super shallow along that shore so I waded ashore in my rubber boots.
Instead of sitting on the little bench, we’ve graduated to lawn chairs. It works just great when it is just the two of us in the boat!
We journeyed up river for about 3 hours until the navigation just got too difficult. Jeff’s fish finder/depth gauge was on the fritz. The river is a silty one, as opaque as chocolate milk, and becomes rather braided in areas, where you can’t tell which channel is the main navigation channel. We had river maps, but the river is always changing. We had to turn around once when the water turned into just a foot deep, and other times we had to dart from one side of the river to the other, chasing the main channel.
I thought a lot about the old sternwheeler riverboat captains, and how I had heard it was a real skill to read the river, and not many were good at it. I imagine they had a distinct advantage having their wheelhouse higher up to look over the river to read the current. It is more difficult when you are at the river level. Once we started hitting bottom in the middle of the river, and once we started looking around, it was obvious that the water we were in wasn’t moving nearly as swiftly as the water on either side of the river.
I love this chance to see more of Yukon that we wouldn’t otherwise see. We spotted a few old little cabins along the river, a couple of prospector canvas tents, and even a stretch of telegraph wire still mounted!
We turned around before we made it all the way to the 60 Mile River. It was getting late in the day and we weren’t making as much upriver distance after picking the wrong channel a few times. It is way quicker to travel with the river downstream, so it only took about an hour to get back to Dawson.
Monday also started chilly, and we were glad we didn’t postpone the boat trip to Monday because it was much cloudier!
Jeff started out trying to fix our chimney. The spark arrester top cap is flipped off to the side after a gusty day last week, so we really should get it fixed before we fire up the woodstove. Despite my incredible fear of having my husband fall off the roof, he got up top and walked over the peak to the chimney on the far side, but it is pretty slippery up there so I was happy when he retreated and came back down. We need someone with a taller ladder and maybe some fall protection gear to climb up there and fix it before Jeff decides to get up there again.
Back down at ground level, Jeff installed a couple new outdoor lights. The old ones were old and faded and with our new paint job, why not upgrade?
I picked out a couple in Whitehorse last week. The available selection was just 3 outdoor lights, so I picked the least terrible one. It’ll do!
The other one is mounted on the ceiling of the front porch. We rarely use it, but upgraded it too. The old one was missing half the glass.
I’m really seeing lately that you need to set aside a chunk of income every year to maintain an old house, or maybe any house, or else if you don’t, you’ll end up years later with huge, massive repair bills and major replacements needed. It may just be best to maintain and upgrade a bit a year.
Afterwards, I asked Jeff if he wanted to walk to the top of the Dome! I’ve only done it once, early last summer, and Hank really needed an adventure and Jeff was keen!
So we packed up a small pack each with water and snacks for the 3 of us. I thought I’d try the climb with trekking poles this time since Jeff was going to hold Hank’s flexi-leash handle. Jeff tried using just one pole.
The leaves are falling in the woods and we had some rain lately, but the trails were decent. Some wash out, but not bad over all.
The climb is only about 4km, but consistently up. There is a newer section with switchbacks that is quite nice, but upwards from there, it’s probably 2km of steep climbs.
Some of it is quite rocky so you need to twist your foot around in funny angles.
At one point I told Jeff all the hard stuff was behind us, but it really wasn’t, and don’t think he’s forgiven me.
There are long sections where you can walk about 10 steps, and then you have to stop. My legs were doing really well and felt strong, but my cardio fitness leaves much to be desired. When I’d catch my heart rate in the 170’s I’d stop for half a minute to get it back down before I’d climb another 10 steps and repeat.
Once I took an actual break and tried to sit for a few minutes, but it was so steep I was still kinda standing despite lying on the shrubs. I really regretted my choice of pants that didn’t breathe at all. So sweaty!
While an incredibly challenging hike, it wasn’t really hard or unpleasant, just a lot of steep climbing. We navigated it better than I did last time, but the wayfinding up there could still use work. I’ve heard they may add more switchbacks for the hiking trail, which would be nice. There are several downhill mountain bike trails that crisscross the trail so it isn’t always obvious which trail to follow to not get run over by a bike or end up on a bike jump or ramp.
Hank never got tired once, as usual. He just wants to go go go!
Not sure if the trekking poles were much help, but they didn’t *not* help.
I never felt like, I’m not going to make it, but I was thinking, maybe this is just a once a year kinda of hike. Long enough to forget how steep it is.
We made it! It took 2.25 hours to climb up from our house to the top of the Dome.
We both still think walking back down that steep trail, especially holding onto Hank, would be death to our knees. So we opted to take the road back, even though it is significantly longer (twice as long I think? I think just the way down was over 8km). Last time I only made it halfway down before I had Jeff pick me up because my shoes were too small and my toes were getting slammed with every step.
I didn’t have that problem this time, but let me tell you, walking 8km on a steady decline is murder to whatever muscle is on the outside of your legs, in the hip area, where your legs attach to your body. It works as a brake when you are going downhill so you flex and tighten it to brace every step. Let me tell you, that muscle is screaming even louder now, two days later. It takes a few steps every time I get up, to work out the stiffness and hip wobble! I’m still managing to walk each morning before starting work though (I passed the 100km mark today from just my pre-work walks!).
Back to work! And it was the last day of operation for the ice cream store’s season! That means free ice cream for everyone! We went after 7pm so they were scrapping the bottoms of the last flavours, so my bowl is a mix of whatever they had left. Delicious!