Sunday, November 9, 2014

I Met a Cool Old Lady in the Yukon When I Didn't Know Where I Was Going

On the road from Haines, Alaska to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory
Life's lately been a bit overwhelmingly wonderful and cozy (even in the 25 F).

The other night, I found myself in Whitehorse up in the Yukon Territory. I was doing that thing I do called wandering-alone-at-night-on-an-unfamiliar-road.

In this case, I was wandering to my couchsurfing hosts' home. He had offered to pick me up, but I felt confident that I could get there. It was a short distance.

I bundled up for the below-freezing temperatures (base layer + sweater + wool coat + shell) and started walking down Hamilton Boulevard. Along the busy street, a good number of feet away, there was a pathway in the snow for snowmachines, skiers, bikers (snow-biking is pretty big over here), and folks on their feet like me.

It felt like it had back when I was more actively wandering and placing myself in the unknown. Solo-strolls are nothing unfamiliar, even in the dark. Even though it was 6 PM, it was jet black.

Within the first 9 minutes, a very peculiar human came up to me. She opened her eyes wide in a terrifying manner and started to pump her arms and lunged towards me. I gave her a glance, and pressed on, only checking once to see if she was following me.

I kept checking for my turn-off, but it didn't appear.

After a ways, a kind woman stopped me saying, "Have you looked behind you yet?"

At first, I thought she was referencing the creeper, but, as it turned out, she wanted to make sure I saw the moon.

"It's just like a tapestry," she noted.

It did.
Vibrant, illuminating the clouds around it, dodging in and out of the fluff.

"Am I almost to Jade Drive?" I asked.
She looked at me a bit puzzled.

"Where?" she asked.
"Jade Drive," I said, "it should be coming here.

She was well in her 80s and a life-long citizen of this area and told me it definitely wasn't. I told her the neighborhood I was headed to and she told me I had long passed it.

"Are you sure?" I asked.
"Positive," she said.
"Oh dear..."

Google Maps.
You let me down.
You let me down hard.

"You can come back with me to my house and we can look at a map. I live just around the corner."

I followed the sweet woman up Raven Lane into her warm house, her small dog darting around our feet.

It turns out this woman, E, had been living here since the newspapers looked like this one in the 40s, when it was noted that "Mr. Dick White has left for the coast on a business trip." Farewell Mr. White!

We checked over the map and I got familiar with the layout of Whitehorse and the different neighborhoods. Sure enough, I had passed where I wanted to go and there wasn't the road that Google Maps said there was. To get there, via road, it was quite the road around, which E was willing to take me on in her automobile.

"Or," she told me, "There's a lit trail that will take you there that's quite close to here.

We got into her car and she walked me to the start of the trail. I didn't want her to make such a drive just because I had lost my way.

As she bid me farewell with a delicious hug, she told me that I should just come back to her place if things didn't work out where I was headed, that night.

"You can sleep on our couch too."

The path was easy to follow and, within minutes, I was there where I wanted to be and knocking on the door of my host, who quickly answered and welcomed me inside his home - an Army duplex container from the 50s.

It felt good to be unfamiliar with my surroundings again.

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