Monthly Archives: May 2007

Canada’s Seven Wonders: 7+ Reasons to Vote for the Dempster

Seen on the Dempster Highway on Sunday May 27th, 2007 between 11am and 4pm:

    One irritated grizzly bear
    One shy black bear
    One yearling male moose
    One cow (mother moose) and her two calves
    One black fox with a white-tip tail
    Approx. 30 mountain sheep
    Ducks and ptarmigans (sp?)
    One hitch-hiker who clearly has no fear of wildlife
    Two cars, three pick-ups and a grader
    Awesome assortment of flowers
    Tombstone Mountain
    Kilometer 44
    The summer — no sweeter was ever;
    The sunshiny woods all athrill;
    The grayling aleap in the river,
    The bighorn asleep on the hill.
    The strong life that never knows harness;
    The wilds where the caribou call;
    The freshness, the freedom, the farness —
    O God! how I’m stuck on it all.

    -Robert Service (The Spell of the Yukon)

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Orca Books wants YA Fiction: $5000 Cash and a Contract!

Arrived in my mailbox this morning:

At Orca Book Publishers we’re on the hunt for more great Canadian fiction. Already the publisher of many of this country’s most popular writers for teens -Eric Walters, James Heneghan, Carrie Mac, Shelley Hrdlitschka, Katherine Holubitsky, Beth Goobie, Don Trembathand others – we’re looking to add to our fine list.

We invite Canadian writers (new or established) to submit manuscripts of contemporary realistic fiction for readers aged 13 to 18.

The deadline for submissions is October 31, 2007. The prize-winning novel will be announced in spring 2008 and published in fall 2008.

The prize:

A publishing contract with Orca Book Publishers plus $5,000cash.

The rules:

For complete contest details and to download a submission form, please go to Orca’s website and click on Contest

For further information, please e-mail contest@orcabook.com

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Dinner with Dick North

Dawson City is now basking in the heat and light of summer. Barbecues have become common, the Midnight sun is once again hosting Soul Sundays, and everyone, including the bears are out of hibernation. Last night, I went to a rib feast and met one of Canada’s literary icons; Dick North. For those of you who are really ignorant, 😉Dick North and Julie North wrote The Mad Trapper of Rat River, The Lost Patrol , and has recently released Sailor on Snowshoes:Tracking Jack London’s Northern Trail.

This afternoon I am off to The Jack London Interpretive Centre and Museum, where Dick North continues to act as curator, although on a part-time basis. I have recently re-read both the Mad Trapper and Call of the Wild, and it will be an honor to sit in London’s original cabin, (the top half of which is in Oakland and the bottom half here) and listen to one literary icon divulge the story of another.

Dick North is the first recipient of “The Order of Canada,” that I’ve become acquainted with.

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Sourtoe Certificate

On May 16th/07, I became member 23938, when Toe Captain Al Sider guided me through the Toe Ceremony. I shall soon be listed on the website at Sourtoe Cocktail Club, a URL well worth a visit.
sourtoe and Yukon Jack

Witnesses included Dan and Lori, Wally, Karen and the wait staff at the Downtown. All agreed that if I let the toe touch my lips, they would stop teasing me about bears — a worthwhile trade indeed. It went down easily in a shot of Yukon Jack.

Here’s a little background:

“I know a prospector who lost his toe;
Froze it in the deadly cold and snow.
He ran rum with a fast dog team
(from Yukon to Alaska it would seem).

“Deadly Gangrene soon set in.
He cut it off his life to win.
To remember the gruesome task he’d done,
He pickled it in a jar of o.p. rum.


The poem continues on for quite a few verses, but the gist is:
To be a real Yukon captain, each claimed was so;
One had to drink a Yukon Sourtoe…

Mmmmm goes down well

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Dempster Highway Get’s My Vote

There is no doubt in my mind that the Dempster Highway is one of the Seven Wonders of Canada. First Nations people have had an intimate relationship with the Dempster region for a long, long, long time. The Tr’rondek Hwech’in, Na Cho Dun, Teett’it Gwichya Gwich’in, Nihtat Gwich’in are some of the nations who have lived in harmony with this land long before it was discovered by white people. It is home to caribou, bear, eagles, moose, fox, marmots, wolverine, rabbit, sheep (which we saw) and wolves just to name some of the full-time residents.
tombstone It was a jaw-dropping day — magic and because of this, I think I’ll vote for the Dempster.

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Web Albums

I have started to put together some web albums — remember they are works in progress. Check them out at Julie’s web albums.

Had some fun playing the slots at Diamond Tooth Gertie’s — Gertie, who’d been born with the name, Gertie Lovejoy, had a sparkling smile; courtesy of the diamond she’d placed between her front teeth, hence her chosen name. A dance hall girl by profession, Gertie knew better than anyone else how to persuade the men of the Klondike to to leave the dance halls many nuggets lighter, but smiling. Dance Hall Girls at Diamond Tooth Gertie’s

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Breaking up Yukon Style

At exactly 1:32 this afternoon, the siren went off signaling the breakup of the Yukon River. As the word spread, everyone stopped what they were doing and headed down to the river. The students of Robert Service School joined the groups of people lining the dike as great chunks of ice floated by at an incredible speed. Within a short period of time the river reverted to its liquid form. I have never seen such an amazing and powerful event and I think many, if not all of us felt the same way.

And the bonus is, Spring is really here now. The temperature is expected to rise to 17 degrees Open Waterand the sun is strong, so this afternoon, armed with bells and bear spray, we are going to hike up the hill behind us so that we can view the open water from above.

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