I was at Mountain Market buying a sandwich to eat before mid-terms (it's a celebration? right?) when I ran into the mom of one of my cello students.
She told me that they weren't going to be able to be at lessons, next Friday, because they were going to Whitehorse for a swim meet.
"I wish I was going to Whitehorse," I said, my inner-wanderer (that isn't so inner) doing a loop-de-loop.
"You probably could," she told me.
The next day, I called her up asking, "Hey... so when you said that I might be able to come, did you mean it?"
Turns out she did, and two mornings later, at 7 AM, I was in a car and on my way to Whitehorse.
Ever heard of it?
It's kind of a big deal with a population of 28,000 (less than my hometown in Kenmore, Washington).
The Guinness Book of World Records has it noted as the city with the least pollution. In Haines, they're well known for having the Salvation Army that will take your crap that you want to drop off (nice crap - mind you). To me, it's the last stop I made before I went to Haines for the first time ever.
We passed through and I wrote these words in the middle of the same landscape I was about to travel through -- same mountains, same sites. This time, though Haines was my home.
April 16, 2011 - Monday
We’re in the midst of a snowscape, thick with mountains. It’s incredible and my emotions are on overload as I try to take it all in. I punch the ceiling with excitement. This is my life.
“This is so awesome,” Andrew just exclaimed. I think his words were quite acurate.
We spent last night in below freezing, curled up in sleeping bags in a muddy rest stop parking lot in the Yukon. The night before was spent at another muddy rest-stop, but that night we spent cramped in the Subaru. I switched between reclining from front passenger against the window with my legs surrounding the stick shift and curled up in an extreme vertical fetus position. The first night we got perhaps 4 hours of sleep, but the next charged us up with 9 hours of frozen rest.
I am committed to this trip. I’m going to Haines, Alaska and I am going to live there for the next month or so. I’m not sure what to expect yet.
Oh how amusing it would have been to have revealed the future to past-Margaret.
This time, the drive came with certainty, leg-room, and structure.
On the Alaskan side of the trip, there were eagles everywhere. You could easily count fifteen on a bank or six in one glance. The road was covered with snow.
I felt so excited to be using my passport again. I hadn't needed it since my last Canadian border crossing back in July. Four months, yo! Finally, it was getting some use.
Of course, it took them a while to let us through because I think Canada has had something against me ever since the first time I crossed with Tobbit, my truck. Ever since that day, each crossing is long enough to make you wonder if they really want you there.
As soon as we hit Canada, we hit the pass as well and started to climb upwards in the snow.
There are certain landscapes that I'll never adjust to -- never take for granted. That's why leaving Haines is so hard, the mountains are always awe inspiring.
As we drove on, in the back, the folks I was traveling with worked on some of their homeschooling lessons and practiced the autoharp. Perfect soundtrack.
We passed through British Columbia and then made our way to Yukon Territory.
And, some five hours later, we were there.
Welcome to Whitehorse!