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Uffish Thoughts: Breaking Up is Hard to Do June 2, 2012

Posted by klondykewriter in Uffish Thoughts.
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Uffish Thoughts: Breaking Up is Hard to Do

By Dan Davidson

April 24, 2012

Star, April 27, 2012

When the Yukon River ice decides to dissolve a bit earlier than usual it can create some interesting problems for people. This year, as noted in my regular news filings, the ice bridge softened and was well on its way to becoming unsafe for anything but foot traffic quite a bit earlier than last year and that left some people in West Dawson and Sunnydale rushing to get their supplies in for the interim until the ferry can be launched.

Facebook traffic told me of person after person who had either succeeded and declared they had made their last trip of the season, or had found a place to stay on the town side of the river for a few weeks.

Then there are the intrepid ones.

This is the time of year when watching the river is an attractive community past time.

We cruised down there last night to check out the gap and saw an odd sight. Three figures were coming across the slushy ice. One was walking. One was in a canoe, polling or paddling along in what seemed to be a pretty open channel. The other was a dog.

Arriving at the edge of the ice, the canoeist paddled across to the shore. We’d wondered why his friend wasn’t in the canoe with him until he started unloading backpacks and duffels and all manner of stuff. Clearly there had been room for only one person.

Unloaded at last, the paddler made as if to push the canoe into the water and shove it across the open channel to the ice on the other side of the lead. His friend got a bit frantic at that notion, and the current that we could see made it easy to see why. That canoe would never have made it across with a simple shove.

There was a bit of yelling back and forth, and then the first fellow paddled the canoe back to pick up his friend. They both paddled to the shore. The dog, not to be left behind, jumped in the water and gamely swam along after them. The guys shouted encouragement and it really made a strong effort, but the current drifted it downstream a bit before it could make the shore, confirming that shoving the canoe across the lead would never have worked.


The dog came out of the water looking cold and tired and its body language seemed to say, “Why did I do that?”

The first guy went to a sedan that was parked on the Dawson side, backed it down to the shore and began loading up his goods. The other guy paddled back to the ice and prepared to return to wherever he had come from.

He didn’t take the dog in the canoe, but began to call it as soon as he was under way.

The dog, having a very clear memory of just how cold that water had been, was having none of it.

It sampled the water and backed out.

It danced around the first guy, as if deciding it would rather be in the car.

It came over to our truck and reared up against my driver’s side window as if asking me to come up with a better idea.

It clearly had no interest whatsoever in swimming across that open lead again.

It could hear its master’s voice, but its barking reply and its frantic movements, if translated, would have been something like, “Are you nuts?”

I can’t tell you how this story ends. We had an appointment to get to and another stop to make before we got there. What I hope happened is that guy number two paddled back across and took the dog home in the canoe. While I’m sure it could have swum across safely, the poor thing deserved the ride.





* Crossing 1 – Crossing the remaining ice on foot and canoe.





* Crossing 3 – Paddler and loaded canoe.








* Crossing 6 – Two paddlers and the dog.



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