This is day 3 in the Yukon, and I am staying in a small log cabin north of Whitehorse with a lovely Polish woman named Maria. Her cabin is situated on the shore of Jackfish Bay, off of Lake Laberge on the Yukon River. I’ve never seen such blue water. On the far shores, the mountains are visible, vibrant and beckoning. I immediately saw why people come here and never leave again. This is true wilderness, untamed, untouched, and magical.
We arrived in the evening at her house, Saturday night, and there was a large, baited bear trap out front, like some sort of strange yard ornament, since a black bear has been bothering the few houses in this remote community. Yesterday, a conservation officer came and took the trap away, since the bear hadn’t been seen in several days, and a baited trap could end up attracting other bears.The porch of the cabin is home to about a dozen swallows, with their beehive-shaped clay nests, and they make a joyful racket in the morning, chattering back and forth, swooping in and out. A few black foxes have come up around the cabin, and a small flock of swans is living out on Jackfish Bay, along with gulls and other waterfowl.The flowers are lovely – not so much because there is something different about them, but because they are different. They aren’t my flowers from home. As always, they catch my eye, like little sculptures of stained-glass, with the sunlight gleaming through their translucent petals. The sands are part of a flood plain, and I am told that in a few more weeks, with the continuing snowmelt upriver, the water will rise and the little spit of land jutting into the lake will become an island. Right now, though, we can walk all the way around it, and enjoy beautiful views of Lake Laberge. The endless hours of daylight are maddening and glorious – The sun dips towards the horizon around midnight, and disappears, and the vibrant colors fade to grey. But according to Maria it is light again by 3:00 am. Everything is lush and rich, but always with the edge of harshness, that hint of something at the heart that is not warm, or gentle, or peaceful. This is not land that embraces, but that beckons almost ominously. It is wild. What an adventure. So much scope for the imagination. I’ve always found that God’s Creation in all its glory is my “artist’s muse,” and this area is inspiring. I truly will be sorry to leave!