Squirrel Camp, YT- 5,579 km/ 3,467 mi
Today was the last leg of our journey and I have to say I was sad to see it end. It has been an exhausting 6 days, but there is something really appealing about being on the road and in a new place every night (except when you arrive in a place you are not expecting to go at 3 am). The sense of adventure is intoxicating, as is the break from the day-to-day grind and monotony that seems to define so much of our life.
Last night we stayed at the Dragon’s Den in Watson Lake, but it might have been better named the Lizard’s Pit for all the quality it offered. From the outside it looked cheery enough- with a string of Chinese lanterns around the building, but on the way to our room we were greeted by a hallway containing a broken vending machine, a non-functional washer, bits and pieces of dry wall and a circular table saw. Charming. On the positive side, the walls had just been painted white and the room doors a delightful neon green. Oh and the towels were actually soft and fluffy, although there was a sign accompanying them in the bathroom which said- “Please do not use white towels to wipe muddy boots, use towel provided on laundry rack.” If that doesn’t give an indication of the folks you find staying at the Dragon’s Den in Watson Lake, I don’t know what does. Unfortunately it got worse as the night wore on. It turns out the Dragon’s Den is also a popular bar in town on a Friday night (perhaps the only bar in town by the sound of it). By 10 pm there was a cacophony of drunken voices stumbling around outside our window and in the hallway by our room. Fortunately we were all so exhausted that we hardly noticed the noise. But it reminded me distinctly of living in a freshman dorm room in college. Around 3 am I woke up to a fight just down the hallway and held my breath for approximately 30 seconds, sure that someone was about to come busting through the neon door with a knife or worse, before promptly falling back to sleep again.
This morning we saw a small herd of caribou and then had a mostly uneventful ride from that point forward, except for the man caught in the snow bank at the side of the road just outside of Teslin who we stopped to help. His request was that we “find Mitch, the police officer who is at the restaurant”. Mitch stared at us a little to long when we told him about his friend’s plight and then went back to eating his breakfast. It didn’t appear that he was in any big hurry to go help dig his friend out of the ditch. Likely it wasn’t his friend’s first time getting stuck or Mitch’s first time pulling him out. All that excitement necessitated a Snicker’s bar for the crew and then we were on the road again.
Here are a few photos of the road to camp snapped through the car window. Who knew we were in such a rush to get to the place we will be relegated to for four months?
3, 467 miles later- we finally arrived at camp. It was only 1:30 pm, well ahead of the 3 pm time frame I had anticipated, so we cooked up some scones, muffins, and pizza for the crew when they came in. I think we were all overeager to have a hot meal after 6 days on the road eating cheese and hummus wraps for lunch and dinner. We were supposed to have a “hut crawl” that night, but given the -30 degree weather it turned into a Cook Shack couch crawl… and soon after a crawl to bed. The 6-day ride had taken its toll.
Tomorrow starts our first full day at squirrel camp and we will be helping out with the Silver Dog Sled Race just down the road. (What a life.) So this marks the end of my daily posts (as there is no internet in camp) and begins my weekly posts of all camp happenings. Lots of camp details from week one to follow so stay tuned!