When one gets cocky (see last posts) about ones own existence. It does help when one gets tripped, falls on ones face and sees the light. Which happened to me over the course of today. I (re)discovered a place so beautiful, that it pales everything around here. That place is called Champagne. I know the weather and everything was perfect, but once you go into that community it is so pretty. And as for wild, It's just a few houses etc. dropped in the middle of the wilderness. And whatever is done or not done by man over there is beautiful.
The reason I got 'tripped' is that I felt I was let down. Someone was to come out for a hike around here, tomorrow, but forgot about it. I do arrange myself accordingly when I make plans with someone else. It opened up possibilities for other directions. I felt it was to late to plan a big hike for today and decided to drive out to Champagne and cut a pail of rhubarb, which will make some people very happy! (the pie is in the oven).
First the drive to Champagne is very nice. Past the Mendenhall River I turn onto a stretch of Old Alaska hwy. The road is windy and lined with flowers, purples and yellows. On the left side of Champagne, there are horses in the meadow below. Turning in to the village (is it a Village?) one drives onto the fun, meticulously kept yard.I ask if I can pick Rhubarb, and that's fine. As I am talking to Francis, to make it all totally perfect,a Mountain Bluebird flies into its nestbox in the yard. This bird is to me, without doubt, the most beautiful bird of the Yukon.
The Rhubarb grows on the edge of a meadow which feels like the centre of town. It is surrounded by a glorious, south the forest, east the sandy clay ridge, west Middle Mountain and Bratnober. and north Mount Kelvin. And one can't see the real pearl of town, the Dezadeash River. The late Ed Chambers made a trail up Mount Kelvin and planted a new flag on the top. (correct me if I am wrong). I asked where the trail starts so I can hike it one day.
Some days I am like this: I didn't take a map or for that matter ,I didn't take anything but my pail. Most of all I didn't bring my bear spray, which would have abled me to go for a long walk.I decided to drive to the river and see if I could intercept the trail there and see it.Where I come out by the river, it is right under Middle mountain. Getting out, there is an owl feather beside the car, as a gift for me.
Dezadeash River is a meandering river, the water is slightly muddy. It seems ,to me quite full.It is approximately 20 feet wide. Beside it is a beautiful , very green wetland, full of horsetails, as in plant.probably being the Equisetum fluviatile. I walk on to the high bench, and see that this wetland is an ox-bow,being a bend in the river, that ceased to be part of the river. There is still water in it and there is 1 duck, but on the shore are, the now very familiar Lesser Yellowlegs. and a pair of blackbirds, without binoculars I can't see which ones. In the tree they fly away from. A dead spruce, I see a nest at 3 meters high, It's made of sticks , a least a foot in diameter. As I already have disturbed the birds. I climb the tree. Lucky or not, depends which side you're on, there is nothing in it.
I continue going up the high river banks, which have beautiful wild sage meadows, with grass too and many many little flowers. I'll make a list on a separate post.I try to follow ATV tracks, but the ones I am on change into a horse trail. I go higher up the bank,find another trail again, which goes through a miniature Aspen forest. And then the trail dips under a giant Spruce. I am taken farther and farther, with out my bear spray, which makes me feel a little uneasy. I loose trail again anyway , turn back , find another trail, they all seems to go nowhere. So when I want to follow the trail Ed made I better start at the beginning. As I am walking on the meadows, on the bank, in the sun, in the wind. I suddenly feel a rush of great Joy. This morning I was thinking ;I just like to go for a walk in the wide open, as on the Dutch beaches. (I grew up in Holland close to the North sea). Well this is what I dreamed of.