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Hiking / Daily Walks

I’ve had to adjust my daily walking schedule. (You knew it was coming.) (No I didn’t quit!)

I grew to love my morning routine of waking at 6:15am and then walking for an hour. Before the ice came, I could walk over 5km in that hour.

But the ice. Oh the ice.

The week before leaving on vacation, the ice was everywhere. It’s been an unusual fall. Our spring was late this year, so I think maybe this fall is making up for it, and it has been mild. The other day it got up to +7C!! But weather like this in November means ice.

I don’t like walking on ice in the dark. Even with a headlamp. I ended up not walking for a few days.

But then I decided to shake things up and walk during the afternoon. Since I enjoyed getting up earlier, I kept doing so, but I’d start work at 6:30am. Then I could go for a walk for 60-90 minutes every afternoon when I’d usually be working. In the daylight!!

And since it was daylight, I could walk up on the 9th Ave trail instead of in town!

But look at the glaciers that have been growing on the trail from the ground water!

Since it isn’t that cold, I decided to keep walking in shoes! I’ve never done this in winter before, but my achilles tendons sure prefer it! I bought new ice cleats for my shoes and since then, hiking in the woods has been a delight!

It hasn’t been that sunny, but that seems characteristic of November here. By the end of the month, the direct sunlight won’t be hitting town anymore, but you can’t really pinpoint a date it happened, because the skies have been dull.

We don’t even have that much snow yet. I don’t think it snowed the entire time we were away, so we didn’t even have to shovel when we came back!

This routine has been working okay – but not perfect. I haven’t found myself super productive in the 7am hour yet at work, but I’ll adjust.

Hiking on the trails is certainly even better exercise than the walking route I was doing along the river. There are many more hills to climb up and down, and stairs and rocks. Some days I’ll do the trail to the far north of town, then do the dyke all the way along the river and back to my house, and some days I’d go the other way, to the south, and get views of the Klondike River valley instead:

One afternoon I scared up a couple grouse! (okay, they made me jump too!)

Last Friday I was busy at work all afternoon so I didn’t get out for a walk until Jeff was home from work, so Jeff and Hank joined me.

I was walking the trail on Sunday afternoon when I noticed a huge pile of poo, right on the trail, up at the northern end of town.

This was no dog poo. Bear? Nah, didn’t look bear. It really did look canine. I think WOLF!

So I snapped a picture and sent it to Jeff back home watching football to see what he thought. It was full of hair. He thought wolf too!

Hmm. Here I am standing beside a big pile of wolf poo – I almost thought about checking if it was still warm, but decided I didn’t want to know the answer, and I kept hiking the trail towards home.

Closer to home, still on the trail, there was a splatter of blood, then regular drops of fresh looking blood all the way back to the trailhead by our house.

And by Monday we heard the news. A big black wolf had taken a dog from a home up on the dome – somewhere above us on the hill. For a couple nights, there are reports on our town’s Facebook page of the black wolf sightings here and there, all within town limits.

So I decided maybe I should stop walking on the trails for a while and have been doing my loop of town and along the river instead.

Tonight another friend told us of a pack of 5 wolves who were trying to get some dogs just south of town. You have to think a dog tied outside is likely a pretty easy meal for them. Just a wolf being a wolf really. Maybe if there are so many wolves around I should carry bear spray when I’m hiking in the winter too.

Anyway, these daily walks I’ve been doing – I really enjoy them as a solitary activity, but I took Hank twice this week, knowing Jeff had other things to do in the evening, and that way Hank would be sure to still get in a good walk. Hank was keen on watching Caveman Bill cross the river in a canoe, back to his cave home on the far side.

The river is a long way from freezing over. We’ll need some much colder weather and snow, but I’m sure it is coming!

If you want to see more of what a walk around town on the 9th Ave trail looks like, I made a little video with some clips – all unedited and raw, just to share early November in Dawson. I just stopped from time to time and put my camera down on a tripod so you can soak in the sights and sounds. Watch below or click here to open YouTube:


For Hallowe’en, I got together with my friends at Janet’s house – a bit of a tradition! She goes all out for the holidays and this was no exception! Costumes, snacks (mummy cookies!), story time, and candy. It was so much fun! She’s an amazing hostess, and even read us some Hallowe’en stories!

It’s so icy at our house that we didn’t even give out candy again this year. We have steep icy steps cut into the ground inside our front gate, plus, the snow slid off the front patio’s roof right onto the front steps and froze solid. I can’t shovel it, and I don’t want to wreck the newly painted stairs by hitting it with an icebreaker, so I guess it’ll stay all winter. We just shut off the lights and bah humbug, sorry kids.

Museum Auction

On November 4th, we had the annual museum fundraising auction! It is the highlight of the year for some of the folks that came out (I know because they kept telling me it’s the best night of the whole year!).

I was a bit worried that when I joined the museum’s board of directors (I’m the treasurer) that this event wouldn’t be as fun, but it turns out it is just as much, or even more fun when you are volunteering!

It is a ton of work though. Many of the people who have historically blessed us with potluck food donations every year have passed away. It isn’t something that the younger generation is that used to doing? So it falls almost entirely on the museum’s staff and board. The theme was the 50’s this year, so we tried to think of foods that would match. But heck if I know, I wasn’t alive in the 50’s.

I made some peanut butter butterscotch confetti squares and a couple of loaves of some chocolate chip buttermilk bread (it wasn’t great). There were also appetizers, sliders, veggies, buns, chips, ham, olives, cheeses, cakes, cookies, meatballs, a real big spread of food! I arrived early to help in the kitchen. Unfortunately, the museum’s ancient old oven wasn’t cooperating and I burned some of the appetizers (well burnt on the bottom and raw on the top).

Jeff came early too and helped get the bar set up. Then I had to switch into my role as banker! For the second year in a row, I give out the paddles and everyone pays me for anything they bought during the auction.

Now there are some weaknesses I have that I just have come to accept. This role of the banker hits on two of them:
1. I don’t know everyone’s name and even if I did, I’m terrible at matching names with faces. I just am.
2. I’m terrible at adding numbers and making change when someone is looking at me.

So this year I found ways to work around those weaknesses! We had little slips of paper that everyone needed to fill out with their name and phone number if they wanted a paddle to be able to place a bid in the auction. They handed that slip to me and I gave them a numbered paddle, writing that number on the slip.

Then, in advance, I had prepared a magical spreadsheet that Laurel, the auction recorder, also had access to (via the magic of Google Docs). I had a vision for how this spreadsheet would work, and with the help of Chat GPT, I figured out how to program it!

So on one sheet of the spreadsheet, I entered the paddle number, name, and phone number. On another sheet, I added a list of the auction items. During the action, Laurel just had to add the winning bid and paddle number. I made the spreadsheet only accept a paddle number that I had entered on the first sheet, and then I had it automatically calculate everyone’s on-going tally of how many items they won and what their current dollar tally was.

Then, as they came to pay, almost everyone used a card, so I just had to enter their total into the credit card machine and they did the rest. Or a few paid with cash and very little change was needed as most of the bids were in $10 increments. It worked perfectly!

Despite one huge panic moment before the auction (when our auctioneer had an emergency and we needed a last minute replacement) everything went really well!! We did two intermissions and people stayed from 6pm until almost midnight! Eating, drinking, and bidding!

As in most years previously, the auction was in the historical (and current) courthouse for Dawson City, up on the second floor of the old territorial office building (now museum).

Humane Society

I used to walk all the dogs at our Humane Society once a week, but then we got Hank and I got busy and it never happens anymore. Despite being on the board (treasurer for that board too), I do very little to help the animals directly. So I recently got trained again so I can take a volunteer night or morning shift and let all the animals out, clean up their pens, get them breakfast or dinner, and help keep the place running. This new volunteer program the shelter is coordinating has been such a great help to our little shelter.

Jeff and I went out last weekend to staff a shift, and we’re doing so again tonight. There are two puppies and two brand new little kittens out there, so we’ll get to put them to bed tonight.