Yukon Road Trip Day 1

Wawa, ON- 954 km/ 593 mi

Today started at 6am. It is now almost midnight and I am fading fast. Day 1 is always the hardest- it’s anxiety, excitement, and depression wrapped into one miserable bundle. Today I left for my first cross-country road-trip amid sunshine and more than a few tears, I’m not ashamed to admit. There are 3 of us traveling ever northward on this trek to Kluane National Park in the Yukon, home to the Kluane Red Squirrel Project (KRSP). Shannon and Hannes are my two stalwart companions, both are recent graduates and will be working as field technicians in the Yukon, helping with essential data collection with the red squirrels. Travel today was mostly pleasant, although a mere four hours into the trip I was already ready to be in camp!  We hit a few mini-blizzards complete with blowing snow between Barrie and Parry Sound. This is when it became apparent that our still-frozen windshield wipers might be a bit of an issue. After being splattered by two or three passing semi-trucks I somehow maneuvered the car off the highway, with next to no visibility, and into the driveway of some poor fellow whose sign in the driveway read “sandy rock for sale. call me.” He left no phone number, but I was more perplexed by the question of what sandy rock was. Maybe it was meant to be “Sandy Rock for sale”? Or “Sandy, rock for sale”? Either way our windshield wipers were working when we left which is all that matters. Just past Sudbury we experienced the “empty gas tank panic” that every driver dreads and ended up driving approximately 24 km out of our way in search of a gas station… what an adventure for our first day! Gas stations are turning out to be a rare commodity on this journey northward. Lesson one from this journey- never pass up a gas station on the Trans-Canada highway. The landscape has begun to change from monotonous highway snowscapes to rolling hills and granite outcrops interspersed with wind-swept, ice-covered lakes dotted with miniature ice-fishing huts. It is paradoxically both the loneliest and coziest thing to see one of these huts hunkered on a vast expanse of frozen land that continues as far as the eye can see. Tonight we are staying in the Parkway Motel just south of Wawa and tomorrow we travel north of Lake Superior- through moose country. We will all be keeping our eyes peeled- both for photo opps and for driving safety! For now my pillow is calling and 6am is sure to come early…

4 thoughts on “Yukon Road Trip Day 1

  1. Hi! The last time I ever heard of Wawa, ON was when my father was cursing the scarcity of gas stations on the TC Hwy.
    That was nearly 50 years ago & I guess they are still scarce, well… as scarce as gas stations on the TransCanada Hwy! We were driving west (from, at that time, my childhood home in Kitchener, ON) to my mother’s hometown of Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. We also did one trip in December 1956, when I was about 3 yrs. Then, my parents had two toddlers in the car (a 1949-ish Studebaker) when they were sweating the gas gauge thing. I’ve been to Portage & Brandon & Winnipeg at least twice, but never to Neepawa. Here is what Wikipedia said about it: “Neepawa is the self-proclaimed Lily capital of the world in part because of its Lily Festival. The town has also been named “Manitoba’s Most Beautiful Town”, more than any other community in the province.” And to think you just breezed through, at -30*! Love your blog! Keep up the great work. Glad to hear you arrived at Squirrel Camp safely. Thank your mom for sending us the link!

    • Haha I was cursing the scarcity of gas stations the entire way! Looks like not all that much has changed in 50 years. Given the sleazy little motel we stayed at in Neepawa it’s hard to believe it has been named “Manitoba’s Most Beautiful Town”! Next time I pass through it will have to be in daylight and in temperatures above 0 degrees!

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