Friday, August 29, 2008


'high valley' (photo taken Sept. 1)

They predict better weather, but today we even had hail.
I wonder if we just had the coldest summer on record. I jumped in the water only twice this summer. That is an all time low.
But that's not the reason I got wet today.
After feeling all good and such, because I had been thinking about the beauty of life.
Being in a glorious mood, I definitely wanted to be out there.
I would have liked to go out to Kusawa and see if the campground was flooding.( How exciting.)
But I had just washed the car, our road has turned in to a mud hole. And well that would be silly, to drive it through the mud again.
Back on the bike! After Kusawa , I had a longing to go back to the '911 pond', because two days ago I had come upon that interesting yellow flower, Bladderwort. It turns out there are 3 kinds and of course I like to know for sure which one I came upon.
And I would like to see the Swans again anyway.

Today ,still cloudy, but the mountains are visible. As I ride out the sun even tries to peek through.
Turning onto the highway I can see it raining in the distance. Soon enough I am biking in a hail storm, loving it (true).
I am full of energy. And coming onto the meadow, I am not going to be all quiet and slow.
Sure enough I don't get to see the Swans. I don't really know if they sensed me, because nobody else seems disturbed . A big hawk gives beautiful displays. It is a reddish one with a white band on the tail. It flies low , hunting , hovers in the air and dives.

I first doesn't notice, but I think the water in the marsh is a few inches higher.
What is different first, is that the water is alive. As I walk , things jump out of the way through the water, like little fish.???
And then when I come to the channel I crossed yesterday , both my boots scoop water.
But I am mystified when I can't find the Bladderwort. Sure there not that many little ponds.
I check them all out, I am now wet up to my knees. And if you think well that's not bad, you are right, but I am wearing woollen socks , rain boots with felt liners and long underwear.
On one pond in the distance I see something which resembles the bladders of the Bladderwort. I try to get close, and brought a stick to lift out a specimen. But alas, I decide to give up, I am not going to be up to my waist in the water.
It might have to wait till next year, for now I have to be content with... glorious views and
the splendour of Autumn.
As a gift, I find a striped feather. Thank you!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

4 cygnets on the '911 pond'

Another rainy day. I bicycle to the '911 pond'. The bush road to the pond is actually not as wet as I anticipated. I can bike all the way to the last swamp just before the end of the road. I enjoy the fragrance of Fall. There is one lemony smell that I have often encountered around willows,roses and grass. Does any one knows what I mean? I have never yet figured it out.

Today I am going to take a different approach, in relation to the birds. Right as I come into the meadow, I realize there are a lot of birds on the pond. I am not going to go around staying close to the forest. They always notice me anyway. The swans will hide and the ducks fly off. Today I go in a straight line towards the pond, quietly and slowly. It seems to work, no one notices me. And there are a lot of birds! I try to make photos every time I get a little closer, which is hard because it is still raining, my camera is not waterproof.
Maybe tonight I will look at the photos and identify some of the ducks. Most ducks are in the west side of the pond. Straight ahead where the Swans nest, are two ducks diving, showing a white bum.
When I am half way to the pond, the marsh grass is O.K to walk through with my rain boots, I spot the two white heads of the swans sticking out above the grass. I am very happy, as over the summer I sometimes wouldn't even get a glimpse.
Close to the main pond, there is a little pond and I can't get any closer to the main pond. But gloriously a swan appears for a swim, and to my great joy it is followed by 4 cygnets and its partner. I am so happy!
I am not a birder and don't know much, but I found watching the swans, they are so cautious and elegant I guess, unlike the ducks, who when they would see me make a racket and all fly off. The Swan never really lets me know if it has seen me. After a short swim with its brood, it just disappears in the reeds again. One adult remains on the look out it seems.

As I came to a stop at the little pond, I do decide know to move east to higher ground. Crossing the channel of this little pond I do get one soaker. In the mean time it stopped raining, the mountains are trying to show and there are patches of sunlight. As I sit on a grassy spot, the swans come out one more time, for all but a minute.
A flock of brown birds, feeds in the grass and I think I see a Savannah Sparrow. The grasses are turning color and there are not many flowers, but in the little pond there are yellow Bladderworts blooming! (Utricularia intermedia).
Another beautiful time in the wild, Thank you!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

White Mountain Tops

Once in a while we get a little peek, that indeed the mountain tops are white. Today, around here, the mountains are green up to 3500 (roughly) then they are red and it looks like above 4500 feet they are white.
My laundry has been hanging outside for three days now, and is still wet. After a short summer the first two weeks of August, Fall is definitely here now.
And It Is Beautiful!
This morning I left at 10 to climb up 'Maria'. It was raining when I left and it still is. Well dressed in full rain gear, it was an enjoyable hike from the start. My body did feel a little sluggish after sitting in the waiting room of the Hospital all day yesterday. (the person being treated there, is home and recovering very well.)

In the Fall the colors don't come from the flowers , but from the plant transforming into their dormant state. It is neat to see how plants that are all green in the summer, all take on their own color Fall. In the swamp, most vibrantly; the Bearberry plant bright red, the moss almost neon green, Wild Sage light grey, Louseworts brown etc, etc.
Here and there a Grass of Parnassus still blooming.

Going up in elevation, the cranberries are amazing this year, I can see I can pick at several locations close to home. They are ripe enough to snack on, but for serious picking they need to ripen a little longer. As I gain elevation I come upon bright red Highbush Cranberry bushes, these berries are ripe, but at this location in the trees not enough berries to pick in the bucket. On my way down ,to my delight, I encounter Saskatoon berries. Right under the rocks,where the forest start. These are for me, the most delicious berry ( or did I say that about the wild strawberries this summer?) These Saskatoons taste like marzipan.

Maria you rock! In the rain walking on the slabs of bedrock is wonderful. My rubber boots seem to have ample of traction, as long as I don't step on loose sand on the rock, or on black lichen. On the top I make a little fire and enjoy it all. Like I say, sometimes I see glimpses of the snow, most of the time the mountains are obscured in clouds. I do see the valley below. And yes something white in the '911 pond' ; my beloved Swans are obviously still there. How would I love to meet them close up. On the way down I do meet another lovely bird; The Night Hawk, it flies up when I come too close only to fly to the next log. I won't bother it for too long, it seems distressed by the rain. And I assume it will need all its strength to fly South.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Red mountain tops

This morning the mountains are obscured in clouds. I will post a picture from Haines Alaska, where a sight like that is so much more beautiful.
At this moment I am not able to see the mountain tops here, but I wonder if they are red. The last few days I was in town. Friday hiking the Goat trail with Mary; mount McIntyre is red. It is the buck brush in its fall color.Saturday I spent a day standing on top of mnt. Sima. And again the surrounding mountains are red. (one of them mnt. mcIntyre)
My view this very moment through the window of my own home; The poplar trees green and yellow 50/50. Through the trees, clouds hanging low in the Mendenhall valley , a strip of green and above it the mountain tops in clouds.

About Friday; Mary took me up a trail overlooking the City of Whitehorse; called the Goat Trail. (cross country ski trail) Right at the start we are picking blueberries (Vaccinium uliginosum) while hiking. I do have to admit these blueberries are very tasty(the best). We walk by lime stone rocks which are visible from town. We come on sort of a plateau, where we have the choice to go back and pick some berries in our containers instead of our mouths. But I am happy to do another loop on this 'plateau'. Which is just below the treeline. That means it is very nice we are on a trail as the willows are high. The big trees beautiful, Coming to their full potential it seems. The stands of Poplar, the Fir trees, the Spruce like brides. And here and there a beautiful Pine tree.
It is for the smaller stuff, that I always think ; I could sit here for hours and take it all in, but some how when I have a choice, my legs always urge me to keep going.

Amazingly my 'dream' comes true the next day. I volunteer as a volunteer for 'The contagious Mountain Bike Club' and am placed (what luck) at the start of the trail on top of the ski hill. I very much enjoy the energy of the mountain bikers, and in between groups of bikers coming up there is lots of time to enjoy the mountain. The views, the rocks, the crowberries. etc. When my duties are no longer needed I walk down beside the biking trail. I find red-currant bushes, with one red-currant left for me. I wonder if the main volunteers have enjoyed them while making this wonderful trail. (Thank you!) Down at the bottom a not so pleasant surprise awaits me, but I won't talk about that here as it is of a personal matter.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Haines Alaska

August 16 & 17

In Haines the five of us set up camp in the State park at Mud Bay. Its a long ways, but well worth it.
We are camped right in the rain forest. And indeed it is raining, but under the canopy not bad.
Jonathan Lowey, my partner in crime, notices we are surrounded by a certain orchid. He even recognizes it!
I have to look it up again, to type out the name for you; the Rattlesnake Plantain (Goodyera oblongifolia)
The markings on the leaves resembling snakeskin.

In the evening we go for a walk in the rain forest closer to town. What an amazing place this is. We all love Haines.
Definitely for the Ocean, but the trees are just so big, and green and everything lush. And the Berries so abundant,

I will here only mention the Thimble berry. Which I see entering town and right by the campground, they are like a raspberry, but more exotic!

Anyway we go for a walk following a sign that says Battery Point. It is after supper and we decide to go on the posted 0.7 mile walk.
Whatever was at 0.7 mile; it must have been where the gigantic Skunk Cabbage grows. Anyway we keep going till we finally reach a wonderful beach. Battery Point is in the distance. We play around on the Beach. where the kids start flipping rocks.
Cicero told me it is 'flipping rock day' on Sept 7(There is a website).
Well these rocks would make some good stories. It is low tide and under the rocks all sort of outlandish creatures hide.

In the morning Alexander and I take down our tent early to go home. We have never been to the spit at the bottom of the campground, so we take a little d-tour. The views proof to be totally amazing. The spit being a peninsula in the ocean. The morning mist is just clearing.
When we come out of the trees on to the spit, lo and behold; a mother Moose with her grown up calf. At least that is what we think. It could also be two females. What a sight right on the beach with the surrounding mountains appearing out of the mist.

On our drive home we at least have one more stop. Alexander doing some dirt jumping(he brought his bike) and I picking our best beloved berries.
(see my Yukon wild berry blog).

Thanks for a truly wonderful weekend!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Nadahini Glacier

August 16 2008

Good morning Sunshine!
Sue Herbrick and I are camping with our teenagers at Dezadeash Lake Campground.
We all wake up early, have a 'cold' breakfast, break up camp, and an hour later we are on the Haines Summit.
It's a beautiful morning,in the sun, with morning mist in the lower valleys and the mountains peeking out.
It is an ever changing beautiful sight to watch those clouds. I wonder how to call them here in the mountains.
Where I grew up; it was mist(fog) when you were in it, and clouds, when it was above you.

9.30 am. We turn off the highway by Chuck Creek. Since a few years there is a turn off and a parking lot with government outhouses. This is a favorite hiking area.

Here in the Yukon I feel very fortunate, to have so much wilderness surrounding me, only to be shared by a handful of people.
I have lived in the Yukon for 18 years and am not very social as in interacting with people. But when I do meet people in
our gorgeous mountains and valleys, I often do know them. As soon as we get out of the car there is (another) Sue.
at least 3 of our party know her and I probably know 3 of her party (which I didn't meet). They are off back packing in the Mountains for a few days.

Sue wanted to show me all the flowers along this trail. And right as we start hiking they are amazing and very abundant.
The flowers big and showy, Like the River Beauty, which is a Fireweed, with less blossoms, but Bigger!
Tall Valerian and that parsley again and lots of blue flowers. We follow an old cat trail which goes towards Samual glacier.

What we didn't know is that, where we are heading is the Nadahini Glacier. Soon we leave the cat trail and walk on beautiful green meadows, with flowers. We go through a marshy area. It is all very beautiful and we are making many pictures. We climb up a very steep bank. Where I do feel that I am breaking too many flowers.

On top of the bank, we decide to split up. Jonathan and Alexander will go on and Sue and Kathy will go on only a little farther, in a slower pace. That leaves me to choose, with who to go. Of course, if you know me, I choose to go up. And run after
the boys, who are actually happy to have me.

We climb another bank full of flowers. And head up and toward Chuck Creek. Which is a beautiful gorge here, powerful water
rushing down in the bottom,and waterfalls. Higher up we see a snow bridge.
You know, it is really too much to describe it all, I'll take you there one day.

Soon we reach gravel benches, with dark mud creeks, Soft spots where you sink in the mud underneath the gravel,
I think we are still seeing flowers here. Later only dwarf willows, creeping on the ground. And the 'highest' flower we encounter
today is the Purple Mountain Saxifrage, which photo I posted as a header, to honor it's power to bloom in the wildest of wild.
We are now very close to the Glacier.
Where the Glacier has retreated it is flat gravel slope with an incline.
There is so much to marvel about; the polygon shapes in the snow, lined with red "water melon algae".

In just over 2 hours from the start, The boys are elated to reach the Glacier! And instantly climb on it.
I am lugging behind a little, which gives me the opportunity to make photos.
They drink its amazing water which flows over the blue ice.
I climb on too , the blue ice is too slippy for me , but I can walk a ways on paths of snow.
We have lunch here and a little lower the boys make some amazing rock art.

I could be here for hours, actually days( in this kind of weather) Loving it more then totally.


Hunting season started August 1 and that means my husband likes to go looking for a Moose some evenings.
We live right in an area that is open for Moose hunting and open for Sheep. Don has a tag for both.
Everything is totally regulated by the Government.
As we drive away, we agree when we see a Moose we let it be, but if a sheep would happen to come of the mountain we will get it.
For Moose it is too warm and too late in the day, we both work tomorrow.
I feel ambivalent about hunting, but we do live among the animals and I feel very good about eating of the land.

Last week we found all these wood cutting trails and today we decide to walk from one of them up the mountain.
From the highway we turn left follow that road for a while and turn left again on a smaller road, then take the first road
to the right. There is a tree over the road and Don steers his truck through the willows and small poplars.
Breaking a trail, chewing up the trees with our tires, which gives of a wonderful fresh wood smell.
After the tree we come out in the open and take the first left.
The Fall colors are very apparent here, the lower poplars yellow. The Fireweed that never came to bloom ,dark red,
The rose bushes; green ,yellow, orange and red.
Only some white Northern Yarrow still blooming. And here and there some yellow Goldenrod or a mustard.

By now we are in a maze of old woodcutting trails. We follow the ones going towards the highest peak.
When we are close to a ridge we park to continue on foot. Having crossed two ridge we come upon another trail.
On the way back we follow them all the way to the truck. We could have driven on staying to the right which would
bring us from one ridge to the other , higher and higher.

At our end point, we relax and Scan the surrounding area. We did see many animal tracks and scats along the way.
Probably Moose, Elk and maybe Deer. The only animals we see though are two coyotes

Green Comma

Again a beautiful, sunny, August day. Today is 'discovery day', a Yukon Holiday. Which meant Tara was able to join me on a morning walk, we did the regular loop and noticed very much that fall is here with its addition of color.
But the most beautiful (fall)colors I encountered in my garden, in the form of a Butterfly, which I hadn't seen yet this summer. I think it was the green Comma,
Polygonia faunes. Which is on the wing late in the summer, and will hibernate all winter. I will look for it again in Spring.

Keeper of Wild Places

Hi, this is me ,Jozien.
On top of a tongue of the Nadahini Glacier. Where I did get on my own power, as in, hiking up from the Haines road(highway). I have to say though as Keeper of Wild Places, even I leave a foot print. In a Fragile environment as this I am very aware of that and try to be as careful as I can.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Dezadeash Lake

August 15 2008
Tomorrow is Full Moon, but tonight we were given a surprise preview. Surprise, because I am not so much in tune with the moon. Most days I am asleep before dark and up after. It does get dark though these nights.
This evening we left to go camping. Before dark we arrive at the campground at Dezadeash Lake (around 9pm). We set up the tents, start the fire. As soon as we sit down around the fire, Sue calls out,"look at the moon!"
On my first night camping this Summer, what a treat! I do like camping very much but somehow....
I actually love camping. Here in the Yukon the sites are nearly always perfect. This one right on the lake. In between our site and the lake are some willow and Soap Berry bushes and then there is a dark sandy beach. The evening light is beautiful, shining on the ripples in the Lake and the surrounding mountains.
Half of the campsites are occupied, no one noisy, and everything is very peaceful.
We make a traditional campfire snack. I have to ask Sue for the name, but you probably know it, it includes bread, canned cherries and for Sue and me ;chocolate chips. Delicious!
And 'the cherry on top'; two Loons calling.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Bumble Bee

Because of all the buzz around bees, I have wanted to do a post about bees.
Well here it is.
It is a beautiful sunny morning. Still warm enough for bees to be out.(13 C.) In the Yukon it will soon be too cold. I have read somewhere that it has to 9 degrees C.
And having watched 'our' carpenter bees, that seems to be correct.
Although today I don't see a carpenter bee. We know they have a nest in the roof of our porch. They are Big! but very friendly.
This morning I am chasing bees with my camera. the first bee I find is in a patch of Fireweed, it seems easy enough to photograph(this one here). Till I come inside to watch the images. I didn't get one clear picture. Next bee I find is faster, and I can't keep up with it. I walk around the yard for a while, we have lots of Fireweed. That's where these bees love to get their nectar. And they're buzzing everywhere, but the first bee proves to have given me the best shot.

Please let me know if you know what kind of Bumble Bee this is, thanks.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Bear stories

August 12 2008

For my mom, she likes a close up of a bear. And for Jose, she likes scary stories. No, she didn't say that,
she said 'spannend'. It's Dutch;it could mean...thrilling.

For the last three days I have done a lot of berry picking. Wild berries for sure
(see my new blog: But in places not totally wild. It seems to be some berries like to grow, where we humans interfered. Which really is kind of neat. Gravel pits, abandoned roads, ditches and under power lines.
At least that is where I seem to be picking these days. Bears like these environments too it seems, definitely now the berries are ripe. And this year the story goes that the berries are not very good higher up the mountains.

Well what ever the reason I have seen a lot of Bears this Summer! I am counting 9!
(Most summers 1 or 2.)

"Ah mom I don't think I post the picture, it is out of focus."
And Jose, "Sorry". Luckily for me, "this story is not going to be thrilling".

No. 8 showed him or herself at the TV tower clearing on the Haines Road, Sunday. I called out to Don and we retreated to the close by car, and the Bear retreated into the forest.

Yesterday I was picking alone, and was very cautious, at the black currant patch, which is on the power line but surrounded by dark Spruce Forest. Beebed my horn, pepper spray on my hip, singing most of the time and scanning the area
after every picked bush.

Today same precautions, but more relaxed as Don was with me again. Picking berries (7 litres!) nothing occurred, After we went for an enjoyable drive in the woods on wood cutting roads. Don't tell Don, he thinks this driving is so great,
gets me places fast and such, but really on a bush road, you're bouncing around and really don't go that much faster,
"when hunting" we are saying,' "it beats carrying out your moose on your back".

And I love driving when I meet a Bear!

As we bounce down this road, Don hollers... A Black Bear on my side of the cap, on the edge of the road eating soapberries.
It really was only a meter away from me. I should have just looked and enjoyed from the safety of the truck, because while scrambling for my camera, I only got
its buttocks in the picture and as I said not even in focus. It really didn't run away though, it just turned into the woods and leisurely went about his way, still eating berries.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Update on 2 stories

Update on 'Big lake Jenny' and Big White Beauties (St. Elias Mountains).
Thanks to Bonnie Robinson and Sadie Brown, I know now that Big Lake probably refers to Aishihik Lake.
There was man named Big Lake Issac...

For the three white Beauties, I am happy to say that they are Mount Kennedy, Mount Hubbard and Mount Alverstone.
Thanks Mary! I read in Curtis Vos' hiking guide that they are referred to as the 'Ice Palace'.

St.Elias Mountains

St. Elias mountains.
On the highway peeking into the wildest of wild. To me the St. Elias mountains are the ultimate wilderness.
It's where Mnt. Logan is. For me that all is totally inaccessible. I do and will 'scratch' at the edge.
I am always very happy to get a glimpse. Which is not very often, The white peaks you see here are not visible
most of the time.
If anybody knows what I am looking at, let me know.
The one on the left is Martha Black, The right one might be part of Archibald.
Is the dark one in the middle Profile Mountain?
But who are those White Beauties?!

As you guessed, Don and I where on our Sunday drive again. We got as far a Dezedeash lake as we know the Berries are
pretty good there. They were not as good as expected, but I did make some delicious jars of jam, that are now cooling

Its interesting to walk around underneath the Dalton Range and close to the shore of a big lake. I wonder if that is the reason
that the Flora here is different then closer to home. I like the big, white lace of the umbels of a Parsley.
And the bright red berries of the Bane berry (poisonous}.

Driving back,still on the Haines road, we saw a beautiful Beaver dam. As we got out the Beaver jumped in from the dam with
a big poplar branch. Swimming towards its beaver house, where it went under and didn't come out all the time I walked around
the beaver pond.
I approach the pond for underneath the dam. Crossing some dry creek beds. Close to the dam the little creeks are flowing.
They are many ,but small enough to jump across. On an open spot, I climb the dam, which is solid.
Off and on the dam I walk and jump towards the center of the dam, which is totally sticks and a slide for the beaver(made by the beaver)
Even here it is solid and I climb on as the creek below here is to big to cross without getting wet.
It is need to be at eye level with the water, looking at the house in the middle of the pond. I walk to wards the hillside,
which is totally harvested by the Beavers. And as it seems for a very long time, most beaver stumps here are very old.
And only farther inland I see fresher cuts. Beavers can cut very big trees, here the stumps are up to 15cm diameter.
Thank you busy Beaver for letting me enter your beautiful world.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Poplar Burl

On most of my hikes I have a goal in mind, but am always open to change plans.
Today my goal was; a hill close to the '911 pond'. I have to admit I am after those elusive Swans again.
To see if I can spot them, looking down on them. I consult the map and the closest hill is 2 km away from the pond,
and happens to be the hill where my 'beach trail' ends. It is not avery defined hill though , neither very high.
Aproximatically 500 feet higher then the pond. But I yet have to find its highest point. I wonder if google earth can help me.

As it is lovely these days, I only take a light sweater, more as mosquito proofing then anything else.
The ground cover in the forest is already fall like; yellowish leaves, flowers in seed, and colorfull berries.
The timberberries, not intersting for eating, but very pretty, the leaves dark red and the berries bright orange.
I take the time to photograph, the blues(butterflies), which are still abundant. It turns out to be a Northern Blue,Lycaeides idas. I think most of the blues I have been seeeing the last few weeks might be those. As the male is bright blue,
the female brownish/blue and both have distinguished spots and some orange in the edge of the wing.

'Elfin creek'is finally down to its regular summer size, (some summers it even dries up).
From here the trail goes up and actually comes out on a higher beach (Ancient Lake Champagne).
The trail is on top of the open hill side, but the hill it self is higher yet, with mainly poplars growing on it.
I have explored higher by the end of the trail. (I can see the pond, but no Swans, by the way.)

I decide to turn up hill right at the beginning of the exposed slope, turning into the forest slowly going up.
It is a little ways in, when I kind of wonder, if I like this. I mentally make a note that I will be honest with you and let you know that not all hikes are totally enjoyable.
When I am ready to give up; maybe I will never come onto an opening in the forest or open slope or rock face. I know they are there but I could walk right by it and not see it for the trees.

As I turn back, I see a big erratic (rock) . Miracalous! (sorry, again, I can't report un unsuccesful hike to you.)
From the top of the rock, I see an exposed hill side not far.

One, I don't think I have ever been on. It is perfect, a grassy slope and to the west a beautifull rocky ridge.
It is hard to tell if this is the higest point though, but it is good enough for me. I explore it a little bit, but kind of rushed is raining!!! I find a tree, for shelter, with a view.(no Swans in the pond.)

From here I take a different route back, as I now am above 'moose skull lake'. It is on the way back that I come upon this interesting burl. Poplar burls are not as common or as big here as Spruce Burls.
These ones are fairly big and I have never seen the red coloring on them.

Another delightful meeting, in the forest close to our house there are the tiny, Single Delights, they are sooo pretty and smell sooo nice. In all those years I have never seen them here (uhum wet year).
I will post them on my new blog; Yukon Wildflowers.
(oh my , I don't think the spelling check is working, pardon me for spelling errors)

Friday, August 8, 2008

'Soapberry' Bear

A bear in the yard.
Well, off in the bushes 100 meters from the house.
-Sitting on the outhouse...... Yesterday, while ironing (my, for money, job), I happened to watch a program on TV,
about how it is 'modern' to have a glass house. I laughed at them and thought about my outhouse without a door,
not even glass. How transparent is that?
Any way this morning, 'sitting' relaxed, I hear noises in the woods, I have been fooled by squirrels,
but this time ,it is not them.
I suspect deer or elk, And walk quietly towards the sounds. First I see something black with round 'ears',
probably a stump, which now in my fantasy looks like a....
One more step.. It is a bear!!! A cuddly looking (the round teddy bear ears,and a cute, lighter, muzzle) Black Bear. It seems to be looking straight at me.
I am sure it smells me , but might not see me.
Anyway I do the thing I am not supposed to do, I run. Once I realize I am running, I throw my coffee cup in the bushes and run faster.
The house close, and luckily the bear doesn't run after me, They are faster by far!!!
Don and I don't care to go look, but after my husband is long gone. My son safely sleeping (he came back last night).
I take the bear spray, Which is good practice, because now calmly in the house, it's tricky to get it ready for immediate use.
(Read my Bear story, 37 mile) Under real threat it was surprisingly simple and amazingly fast. (I should not count on that, but always be prepared.

The Bear's gone. I don't dare to go to the exact spot it stood, but already here the soap berries are very abundant.
Today I will take the hand mower, and work on expanding the wild lawn. As in not having soapberry bushes close to the house.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Sue Herbrick and I hiked up a ridge above Kusawa lake. The same one I hiked with Mary.
Today we had a warm day! At the bottom on the road we are indecisive about bringing our fleece jackets.
We definitely take our wind breakers. It's just that whole summer we have needed those items. We bring them anyway "you never know".
I am happy to say we didn't need them. And later on after our hike picking raspberries in the gravel pit; it is hot!
25 degrees C. Yes, that is hot up here (this summer anyway).

We walk and talk the whole way up. It is an ATV trail, so we can walk beside each other.
As you see in the photo, because of this warm weather it looks hazy. Kusawa in the distance looks totally calm.
Interestingly we kind of loose the trail and are following a rocky ridge. Which is fine by either of us, there are some small poplars to go through and sometimes we have to climb the rocks. Lower, the ground was very sandy and the
flora not very exciting or different from what we are used to.
On the rocks here, there are some Minuartias still blooming, (Sandwort) and I come up a Chamaerhodos! Which must be the most inconspicious one of the Rose family
The branches bright red.
Everywhere (like the red) we see the first signs of fall. Some willows are yellowish and the poplars, sporadically though, have a bright yellow leaves on one branch.
Sue notices a beautiful big spruce tree, which at the bottom is a big dome and the 10 meter high top of the tree (really a regular tree) , sticking out like a spike.
We come to an end of this ridge, and sit down to have our lunch. The regular trail,
seems to be in the bottom in between this ridge and the mountain.
This rock has Fragrant Fern growing in its crevices. I put my nose into several, and can't smell a thing. I pick one leaf to take home, and sure enough it's fragrant when I take it out of a pocket.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Wood Frog

Rana sylvatica
Common frog in the Yukon

Big Lake Jenny

With my husband, we drove out to Taye lake. On the drive in we stop at a ridge which leads right to the mountain on the west of the Taye lake road. It looks like a wonderful way to go for a hike one day. We stop a few more times, to look here and there, follow some Bison tracks etc. At the Lake we park at the cabins. The forest opening at the bottom towards the lake, is beautiful, full of yellow Cinquefoils. And a kind of Bladder Campion which I had not yet identified. It is the Silene involucrata ssp involucrata. Walking towards the lake following the ATV trail. There is lovely Eyebrights , Euphrasia subarctica. Which is small, and has tiny ,but beautiful flowers. The most gorgeous one today, is closer to the water's edge. A Lomatogonium rotatum, called Marsh Felswort.It is another Gentiaan. As I look up I see the swans in the distance. And before I know it Don is way ahead of me and I have to run to catch up.
The lake water is high and the marsh grass emerged. We sit on the edge by the willows overlooking the lake and the mountains. My 'dream' mountain looks particulary inviting. The weather turned sunny today, but it's peaks are surrounded by clouds, appear and disappear. On the way back we go a little inland, to walk in the forest on more higher ground. We come by a scenic inland marsh where I photograph a frog. I think there are only 2 kinds of frogs in the Yukon. I'll let you know.

As we are wandering into the general direction of the cabins. We come upon a historical sight. First we don't know what it is.And suddenly we see that it is an old grave site. Big Lake Jenny. I've already set in motion to find out more about her and will keep you informed.

Friday, August 1, 2008

please feel free to contact me at my email address.

Here are more mysteries. This is a Siberian Aster. Only it is way more showy, then what it usually looks like. I don't know what happened here. If I would have come upon it in the wild I would have been totally mystified. But here in my garden, among all the Siberian Asters, just this one happened to do a different thing. ???

For the mysterious Elk, I suppose they were White-tailed deer. As the droppings dried up they shrunk considerably.

Today I went to the 911 pond, and luckily at one brief moment I saw two swans swimming. Just their heads sticking out of the tall grasses. I tried to get closer again , but there is no way, I think even with waders on this marshland is impossible to walk in. The water fairly deep and the tufts of marsh grass solid and tall. Not solid enough to step on top of them.
About the swans, if they have an active nest ?????

Many birds, many many mosquitoes and some big birds of prey.
All very wonderful, but can't give you any names. I tried for the plants;
Positively 3 different gentians! Gentianella amerella, as lovely as it sounds
Gentianella propinqua, beautiful enough ,being so common it gives everywhere i go a purple dash. And to my delight the, Gentianopsis detonsa ssp yukonensis, which is past blooming already and now finally looks like the one in William Cody's amazing plant book.
For yellow, there where mustards.
And Senecios, possibly a streptanthifolius.
Solidagos, possibly a simplex.
Potentillas, possibly a pensylvanica.
Arnicas, possibly a chamissonis ssp incana.

This winter I will study Botany.

In the last post, I mentioned, I talk to the animals. I mean that literally.
They might be there that moment are not, I talk in my head or out loud.
Amazingly they do listen. I respect them , they respect me.
How's that for a mystery?

mystery elk

2 fledgling peewees.

Last evening coming home after my two days in town. I wander around the property, and see that the Peewee nest appears to be empty now. I wish them luck on their travels.
My vegetable patch is surrounded by wildflowers, mainly roses and fireweed. I see some broken stalks of fireweed and wonder. Not till I come to my front door, I see havoc in the garden, something has been eating the white roses. I search for more clues, fire weed at several places is been flattened. No tracks , eventually I find 3 fresh droppings, Elk?
In the early morning my husband wakes me up; there is a young porcupine rummaging around in the yard. Nibbling on the raspberries.
I am grateful that the animals of the wild bring me a visit once and a while. When their visits become too regular and invasive, I will talk to them, as with the gophers, woodpeckers and a few years ago the beautiful black bear.