There I was, I’d done it. I’d landed back home in the Yukon, a dream of mine since going to university 4 years ago. Oh, and how this magnificent landscape didn’t disappoint. For the last 4 years I’d dreamed of the land of the midnight sun, and now, here it was, in all it’s wild, untamed glory.
Every bit as majestic as I’d imagined it to be.
Despite the ruggedness of Yukon’s wilderness, I was able to procure a very nice, cozy lodging at the Lead Dog Backpackers Ltd., complete with a breathtaking view of the mountains. Not as nice as the hotel back in Mexico City but it was comfy.
After a good night’s rest, I set out to complete my mission, catching some of Yukon’s wildlife on film, preserving the unique timeless beauty of the creatures that call it’s mountains, streams and valleys home.
With more than eighty percent of Yukon being open wilderness, and home to such wilderness parks as Tombstone, Fishing branch, not to mention crystal clear rivers like Snake, Firth, Yukon, I knew I’d have no shortage of specimens to photograph. My first day out, I caught sight of a herd of caribou, grazing in the high valley plains where I set up my camera.
Indeed there was no shortage of opportunities to view the wondrous array of animals there. After the exciting find of a caribou herd, I ventured North for a short time, stopping upon a mother red fox and her kids, cavorting about through the high summer grasses, eying my cautiously when I got close, but keeping their positions. Which I was most pleased with, I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to be intrusive in any way. My goal was to photograph, not stampede on.
After a light lunch from my pack, a roast beef sandwich, apples and water from my canteen, I continued my journey, keeping North as planned. Along the way I was treated to many more exciting surprises, salmon diving in and out of the icy blue waters I followed, I even thought I caught a glimpse of one of the most illusive creatures known to man, the wolverine.
Over the next few days, I headed out, further and further each day, my camera, my trusty old notebook handy, ever ready for any wildlife that came my way. And, towards the end of that first week, I seemed to have won the golden ticket. For as I began my lunch for the day, fresh salmon I’d caught an hour before, what emerged out of the deep dense forest around me? A grizzly bear, and her two cubs. I froze, both astounded and frightened, forgetting for a moment, how to move. Should I carefully inch away? Or keep still, they were indeed on the opposite side of the wide river, but I knew the speed at which a grizzly could move, I’d heard horror stories of hunters and fisherman ambushed, when they thought they were far enough away to be able to run for it should the bear charge.. and well. they weren’t always so lucky as to make it out alive. But after several minutes of remaining as still as a statue, I let myself relax a bit.
After the sudden surprise with the bear, I took more caution. Carrying bear mace, a loaded shotgun, moreover, I’d made an acquaintance on my visit to Whitehorse, Yukon’s capital, his name was Morris. I have to admit I felt much better with Morris at my side, and the next time I saw a grizzly, we were both well prepared should it feel the need to charge. Moreover, together we both experienced the wonder of seeing an entire pack of wolves chase and devour a moose, fortunately I was able to get the whole thing on film.
As my time in the Yukon’s vast wilderness came to a close, and I prepared myself for the long plane ride back to the states, I couldn’t help marveling at just how lucky I was to be have come to a place as timeless, untouched as the Yukon. There are truly not enough words in ANY language, to adequately convey the feeling I experienced when I was there. Perhaps what I couldn’t properly convey in words, the hundreds of pictures will be able to explain.