My Attempt at 24 (Caches) in 24 (Hours)

Who’s up for a geocaching marathon? I thought I was, so I gave myself the goal of finding 24 caches in 24 hours.

I was perhaps a tad optimistic. One of the first caches of the day ended up being much further away than it appeared. I was not able to find four of the caches I was seeking, and spent too much valuable time on them when I should have just moved on. And then my phone/GPS app died on me, cutting my day a bit short.

All in all, I walked about 18 kilometres today, found 16 caches, and saw some beautiful parts of our city.

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Geocaches come in all sizes…from tiny pill bottles…
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…to containers the size of picnic coolers!
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They can be hidden in hollowed-out tree stumps…
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…inside equipment or pipes…
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…underneath interpretive signs (magnets hold them in place)…
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…or underneath fallen trees. Lots of other places too.
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This takes the prize for being the cleverest one I found today. It looks like a bolt, right? I glanced at it a few times before I clued in that it was out of place. I reached under the park bench where it was located and gave it a pull. It turned out…
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…the top of the bolt screwed off, allowing a tiny log book to be stored in the hollow bolt! The metal pin is there so the finder can remove the log, sign it, and carefully put it back the way they found it.
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Not that I needed any reminders, but today there was lots of evidence that I share this city with wildlife. The lid of this geocache has had a good gnawing by some kind of animal. I saw deer tracks, fresh but not steaming bear scat, and…
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…was carefully watched by this eagle while looking for a cache. 

Thanks to all those folks who took the time to set up these caches. You provided me with a great day of fun, with only a little frustration. As for those caches that evaded me today, I will be back!

Hiking Back in Time

What started out as driving rain turned, within a matter of about 20 minutes, into a sunny hot evening for my Wednesday night hike. The destination this time was Canyon City, an historic spot on the banks of the Yukon River near the once tumultuous rapids at Miles Canyon. During the time of the Klondike Gold Rush (1896 – 1899) the waters here were the nemesis of many gold seekers trying to reach Dawson City. About 300 rafts crashed against the rocks, and a handful of people died. Some enterprising souls set up a tramline at Canyon City to help people transport their goods around the rapids. They charged 3 cents per pound to have goods hauled on the horse-drawn cars to Whitehorse, about 8 kilometres downstream.

The rapids were tamed once a hydro dam was built near here in the late 1950s, and all that remains of the once thriving community of Canyon City are piles of tin cans and some decaying logs from old buildings. Modern additions include a replica of a tram line and some interpretive signage.

This is a family-friendly walk that should hold interest for anyone. The Yukon Conservation Society provides guided hikes here in the summer. Check their website for details.

Oh, and there is at least one geochache in the area, but I am not going to tell you where it is!

milescanyon4milescanyon2milescayon3Detail of one of the tin cans. Notice the jagged way it was opened.

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An historic photo taken from one of the interpretive panels. This was Canyon City in its heyday and shows the tranway.
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Replica of the tramway

Breakfast With a View

There is a reason that Whitehorse, Yukon is known as ‘the wilderness city’. I woke up early this morning itching to walk. A half hour drive and a one hour hike brought me to this spot, where I enjoyed my breakfast.

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The hike took me above Fish Lake. If you are planning to walk it any time soon, know that the trail is pretty muddy right now. However it is a short hike that anyone in reasonable shape can do. There is also a geocache at the top that I found; an added bonus.

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Walking the Labyrinth

A fellow pilgrim read my lament about the restlessness I have been feeling since returning home from my recent walk in Spain.  She contacted me about a labyrinth she constructed after her first Camino. I decided to seek it out today.

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I was stunned by the amount of work she must have put into creating this, and was grateful for the chance to walk it. Like many people, I find contemplative walking to be strong medicine. If I have a problem I am trying to sort through, or if I am stressed or out of sorts, a walk almost always helps.

While I don’t feel at liberty to share the location of this labyrinth, my friend’s work has inspired me to look for a spot close to my home where I could create a similar one, for use by anyone who could benefit from it. A new summer project.

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On the Trail of Sam McGee

It was a great day of hiking today along the Sam McGee Trail, just south of Carcross, Yukon. The trail was developed to allow for the use of a tramway, built by Sam McGee in 1905 to service a silver mine. Much of the cable and some of the ore buckets are still there.

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It’s a bit of a climb (9 km. of pretty much up) but worth it to see the view over Windy Arm and the surrounding area.

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I am watching you.
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Still some ice on the lake.

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We didn’t make it to the very top since there was still quite a bit of snow up high, but that gives us an excuse to return again later in the summer.

Puzzle Pieces

I went to the book launch last night of my beautiful friend and neighbour, Joanna Lilley. Her new book of poetry, called “If There Were Roads” is an examination of and nostalgia for place and home.

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Listening to Joanna read several of the poems last night, it made me think about how little bits of me are scattered throughout the world, like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. This I find both comforting and heart breaking at the same time. Does a traveller get to the stage where they are so fractured they can’t be put back together again? Or, when leaving a piece of one’s heart in every place they have been, does that old adage apply:  ‘the more you love, the more love you have to give’? Maybe it is a bit of both.

To all of us attending last night’s reading, Joanna provided postcards of Yukon, to be sent to friends and family who want to visit the place I currently inhabit. Who to choose?

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There’s only one way to settle this. Send me a note telling me why you want to visit Yukon. I will randomly select one of you and mail you this postcard, plus if you do end up visiting here, I will contribute $50 Canadian towards your transportation costs.

Joanna’s books are available at amazon.ca or if you are in Whitehorse, they can be purchased at Mac’s Fireweed Books.

The Last Time

I was out for an evening hike tonight and came to a pretty challenging hill. Some people love hills. Typically I am not one of those people. However tonight I decided to take a new approach, playing what I dubbed the ‘last time game’.

I imagined how I would feel if this were the last time I would ever have a chance to climb that hill. I thought about what it would be like if it were the last time I would see the spring buds bursting open; the last time I would see the wild crocuses; the last time I would feel the sand under my feet.

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All of a sudden everything became achingly beautiful and precious. It became a great honour to walk up that hill. In no time at all, I was at the top, feeling happy and grateful.

What a powerful tool it would be if I were to try to live my life like that, if only for a few minutes every day?