No business like snow business

I am currently rushing back to Britain, as there has been some snow and a bit of cold weather. I’m coming to share the survival and bush expertise I’ve learnt from living in one of the coldest places on the planet. Here’s a quick one for free- wear more clothes, you stupid bastards.

Doesn’t matter if you don’t look cool. Down jackets, woolly hats, big mitts and here’s the one no Brit ever thinks of- insulated trousers! Ski pants, they’ll do. In fairness, who needs a cupboard full of expensive, bulky clothing they only wear for a week every 5 years? Well, despite my extensive travels in the arctic, I have never been as cold as standing on London Bridge Station waiting for the delayed train to Woolwich Arsenal. I’d say it’s worth buying some big, daft, padded trousers.

We’ve had a dump of snow too. Our yard is piled with the stuff. It’s a terrible trip hazard and a danger on the trails as this keeps happening-

Lots of fresh snow makes the trail hard to see and if you come off, the sno…

Wilderness First Aid

Sometimes I find myself thinking, Christ this is hard. When it’s 45 below, and our waterhole has disappeared under glacial ice, and everything we didn’t put upstairs froze solid overnight, and we cannot get warm in the house as no matter how much wood we burn the heat stops 3 feet from the wood stove. It’s times like those when you need to remind yourself just how much worse it could be and go camping.

We didn’t purposefully pick the coldest night so far this winter, we just went “Let’s go test the new tent out on Tuesday.” Tuesday was the beginning of a cold snap that’s kept us between 35-45 below for two weeks.

We set off anyway, late in the day with the 40 year-old wall tent and "hippy killer" wood stove. It was a test to see how it would feel if we’d been travelling all day and then had to stop, find two trees the right space apart to hang the tent, clear the ground, cut firewood and camp for the night.

We'd feel bloody cold. If it weren’t for my amazing discovery o…

Yukon Bingo

The tributary rivers in this part of the Yukon were named by an eccentric mathematician. We have the Fifteen Mile River, which we have just discovered is 21 miles from Dawson. Also, the Twelve Mile and Forty Mile Rivers, 18 and 55 miles from town, respectively and just over the border in Alaska, there is the Seventy Mile River, which is 70 miles from absolutely bloody nowhere at all.

I believe the numerals were plucked from a bingo machine, one drunken night in Dawson City, and randomly distributed down the Yukon (See footnote).

The Twelve Mile River is also called the Chanandu. Mishearing the local accent we thought it was the Xanadu. But the film with rollerskating Olivia Newton-John, that anyone of my age might remember, was apparently not named after a tributary of the mighty Yukon River. What a shame.

It is all very confusing for us incomers but why is it important?

Neil and I have finally finished our trail along the Yukon to Dawson. We only had to get as far as the Fifteen M…