Posted by Pattie on 9/26/2003 08:28:00 PM


What a summer. I've made some money at least, but I'm really ready to be happy and make money at the same time. I should not complain. I have a better day job than most aspiring creatives. But the more I learn I create radio and film the more I hunger to do it full time.

I've/We've made a decision regarding film and radio: The time has come to be compensated for our efforts.

That means fund raising and syndication.

I'm not ready to write about what that means specifically, but it has put a new spin on most of my endeavours at the moment.

Well, since this is the I'm back from summer vacation entry, I should mention the Yukon trip.

It was fantastic. I've never driven in such a vast open space before. It is beautiful to the point of spiritual. The people in Whitehorse were down to earth and friendly. The people in Dawson City were from somewhere else -- it was a bit touristy for me. I have the distinct feeling that after the "season" is over everyone leaves Dawson City and goes elsewhere.

Here are some highlights of the trip:

1. British Columbia is one of the most diverse places I've driven. We went from glacier topped mountains on the coast to the desert (it got up to 38 degrees celcius and 18% humidity on one particular day) and then as we got further north, we were in lush, green mountains that all the German tourists told us reminded them of the Alps. There were even some flat areas (plateaus, I'm sure) that were almost plain like. Each day on the road was an amazing contrast to the previous.

2. The Beringia museum blew me away. About 30,000 years ago was an ice age that left a great deal of the earth unihabitable for mammals. Because water contracts when it freezes, the Strait of Bering became bare land that connected Siberia, Alaska and the Yukon into a continent surrounded by ice, but not frozen itself. Human beings who lived in Siberia, China and Russia immigrated to this continent, now called Beringia, surviving among other mammals, including woolly mammoths, giant beavers, dall's sheep, Jefferson ground sloths and Scimitar Cats among other animals. The indigenous peoples who live there now are descendents of the people who immigrated there so many thousands of years ago. Their oral traditions are full of information about animals and events that have been and continue to be confirmed by archeological discoveries in the region. How amazing. 20,000 to 30,000 years ago people told stories about the flooding that occured when the ice began to melt, stories about the locations of animals who died in the floods and the changes to the land as a result of the flooding. These stories have led to digs where whole animals have been found fully frozen. In other words, these stories are based in verifiable events. Going to the museum made the rest of the trip even more meaningful. We travelled up to Dawson City through the hills and mountains that made up part of Beringia and I swear I could just see the mammoth grass and the animals grazing.

3. This may seem silly, but a highlight for me was this great bakery just outside of Dawson City. We stopped there on the way back after being in Dawson for 2 days. It was a bakery and gallery. The artwork and the baked goods combined to create a wonderful atmosphere that I can only describe as "womyn's space." I can't really explain why, but I had a feeling of being welcomed there in a way I rarely feel. For about an hour or so, I knew it was just okay to be. The butter tarts were delicious, the conversation was ingratiating and the art work was enchanting. It was a special place.

4. The Alaska highway doesn't seem like much when you just look at the highway. The scenery, however, will blow you away. We didn't travel on much of the highway on the way up, opting for what turned out to be quite an adverture on a road that was not always paved (about 260K of the 748K highway was gravel road--and it was raining!--the van is still muddy). On the way back home, we went from where it intersects with the Klondike Highway all the way to mile zero in Dawson Creek, BC (not to be confused with Dawson City, Yukon). Driving along the Alaska Highway was definitely one of the highlights of the trip. The really kewl part is that it isn't that travelled in August, so we spent a lot of time out on the open road with no one in sight. Of course, make sure you have plenty of food and water and the possibility of sleeping in your vehicle if you travel very far on it, especially as late in the season as we were travelling -- we ended up sleeping in the van one night because we couldn't find a place to stay other than RV parks. Several "inns" were closed for the season, already in late August.

5. The animals were incredible. The night we slept in the van, we saw three bears eating berries along the road and actually got a shot of a baby bear that was running in the middle of the highway before we scared her off. We also filmed wild buffalo sleeping on the side of the highway. The road was so deserted that we actually sat the van perpendicular to the road so we could flash headlights on the buffalo in order to film them. They were mostly asleep, but seemed nonplus by our presence. This turned out to be a blessing because all the animals were out in the northern rockys. Though later, it occurred to us that they could have hurt us pretty badly if they wanted to do so. The next morning, we started travelling quite early (around sunrise at 5:00a). The first thing we saw the next morning was wild horses grazing along the highway. Before our battery ran out 45 minutes later we had filmed moose, caribou, deer, a kitty cat in an rv, mountain sheep and a large herd of domesticated buffalo. We missed the shot of a beautiful ram because the battery died when we filmed a ewe and a lamb climbing on a rocky slope. Basically we have about 20 minutes of wild kingdom in the 3 hours of video we shot.

There were other things that pleased me on the trip, but these five things were definitely my favourite parts of the trip. I want to go back and camp next time. The hotel thing was a little more expensive than I expected and this part of the world should be experienced outdoors, at least in the summer time. I should mention that we did see the northern lights one night, but they were faint. We also were blown away by how late the sun was still setting two months after solstice. The northern horizon stayed light till after midnight even though the sun set around 11pm in Dawson City.

Well, no more boring you with the trip. Of course, you are all welcomed to stop by any time your in Victoria and watch the three hours of video. :D

I've been back for nearly a month now, but I can still feel the renewal this trip gave me. With all that is happening in the world, it was good to know that such beauty still exists. Humans are not the only important things on this planet. I needed a refresher course in that perspective.