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Uffish Thoughts: A Seasonal Road trip February 3, 2012

Posted by klondykewriter in Uffish Thoughts.
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Uffish Thoughts: A Seasonal Road Trip

By Dan Davidson

December 29, 2011

– 545 words –

It was twilight on the road between Pelly and Carmacks and the wind was playing odd tricks with the road. Patches of swirling snow crystals were snaking along the surface, then wafting up sideways and shooting past one side or the other of the truck.

There was clearly a wind out there, but it didn’t seem to be affecting the truck directly in any way. There was no push or pull, no impact of gusts against either side. But there was this spooky wind.

It sifted snow off the ploughed ridges at the side of the road. Where there are railings along embankments it caught the snow on the far side and flung it up in a sudden squall almost as blinding as the ones you get when a large truck passes.

There were a few of those, and they seemed to be moving in pairs. If they’re travelling like that, when you see one coming you might as well slow down because the next one will be upon you before you can see again.

This was the week before Christmas? My family and several dozen other Dawsonite were on the road to hit the stores in Whitehorse. No matter how much “shopping local” we may have done in November and early December, the week after school ends for the term is a signal for massive numbers of rural dwellers to descend upon the capital city to finish off their Christmas spending.

Not that Canada Post and the local Sears outlet haven’t already been inundated with parcels ordered shortly after the annual Wishbooks began to appear, but there are some things that a person needs to see in person in order to make a decision about. The Solstice Trip to the City provides one with that opportunity.

This year’s trip was been atypical. The majority of these treks have been conducted on overcast days with temperatures between -20 and -30. This year it was a mere -14 when we departed from Dawson after Christmas Pageant choir practice. By the time we got to Pelly, a few hours later, it was 0, and stayed pretty much that way for the remainder of the trip to Whitehorse.

The roads were so well gravelled that I have a new pockmark on the windshield to get repaired fairly soon. The breeze from our passage was so mild that the snow on the front of the truck was reduced to ice crystals and rattled off the window as the motion of the truck shook it loose. By Carmacks the remaining patches had fused into lumps that might have done as much damage as that high velocity pebble, so I scraped them off.

With sunset due to arrive about an hour after we left town, the hills were already tinged with pink and orange as we headed down the Klondike Highway. An hour and a half into the trip, and several chapters into Sue Grafton’s I is for Innocent, our attention was captured by the splendour of the sunset reflecting off the high cloud cover and silhouetting the mountains in the distance.



* Sunset 1 – Sunsets this nice are rare in the middle of December.




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