Our adventure in Alaska ended after one month overlanding the state from Prudhoe Bay to Kenai Peninsula. From the last coast town visited in Alaska, Skagway we returned back to Whitehorse in Canada. By this time it was already autumn.
The road from Skagway to Whitehorse spoiled us with the bright fall season colors, beautiful lakes and gorgeous landscapes. We were fortunate to see the same place in different season and the result was a nature show of colors.
You might remember our Canadian friends, Jon and Barbara Bowen that we met more than a month ago while camping in Yukon, the ones that thought me how to kayak. On our way back from Alaska they were kind enough to invite us to their place in Whitehorse. It was perfect timing since we needed to do the service of the truck after 20,000 km crossing North America from east to west, it was a great opportunity to make new friends and to see and learn how the locals live here in Yukon in a province where there are 13.7 square kilometers for one person. As a simple comparison in Romania there are 12 square meters for one person, in Brazil there are 41 square meters per person, while in UK 3.7 meters for one person.
Jon and Barbara’s house is located inside a neighborhood that you can’t see from the main road, exactly those type of houses I mentioned earlier hidden behind the forest. If before we got the chance to experience the city center and its main attractions, now we were lucky to see how locals live here. I was always curious how do they organize their life in a province capital city with 25,000 inhabitants, remote, in a vast territory of wilderness and nature, with very cold and long winters.
The neighborhood where Bowen family lived was covered with trees and in the back of their house there was literally a creek with beavers and trails for running and cross country skying.
Jon explained that they often find bear poo in the backyard of the house. You can’t get closer to nature than this, the bear and beavers in your backyard.
They have a beautiful garden and a green house, most of the vegetables and fruits are produced at home. The proper bbq outside is not missing, a beautiful boutique veranda that is inviting you to chill. Good taste for art and interior design.
Although we met for a short time, they welcomed us like we were their lifetime friends and offered us their home.
To our surprise when giving us the tour of the house, Jon showed us our room. That was unexpected as we were not counting to stay in their house. There was a big fireplace next to our room, perfect place for reading and writing. I was already dreaming to spend time there and cuddle by the fireplace like a cat.
We were very happy to have the chance to regroup a bit, take a break from the road and from the truck. Finally a big bathroom, shower, toilet 24h, high speed internet, comfort. It felt we are in heaven. It was a lesson for us to appreciate things that before we would take for granted.
Jon and Barbara prepared dinner for us: beef steak, potatoes, carrots and red wine. It has been a while since we didn’t have such a treat. We enjoyed so much the dinner and the company. The hospitality and kindness of the people here didn’t stop to impress us.
The following morning Jon prepared fried eggs and coffee, a proper breakfast. I loved the opportunity to drink freshly grounded coffee from the latte machine. Life couldn’t get better than this.
In the afternoon we went to visit Megan and her kids, Jon and Barbara’s daughter and although younger than me she has three lovely boys already: Gaige, Liam and Griffin.
Megan lives much more into the wild than Jon. She is literally inside a forest, no nearby neighbors or infrastructure. Megan and her husband built a dream house in the heart of the nature. We spent the afternoon with the wonderful three sons of Megan. They were really excited about the truck, they would call it the “adventure truck” 🙂
Jon as always prepared fresh wild salmon and I offered to prepare my Romanian style mashed potatoes. The salmon was of course from the local rivers and bought from the local fishermen.
In the afternoon we went to visit the kids cousins and uncle, which built a similar house in the forest and the road that connected the two houses was a trail through the woods. It couldn’t get more natural than this.
Seemed like a healthy place for the cousins to grow up and play together. We had a chat with Megan’s brother Marc and played with their dog and kids in the backyard for a while. We felt like children again in a free natural open space. It was wonderful to be part of their world for a little while.
The following day was JP’s birthday and Jon planned a trip with his boat on Yukon River together with Megan and the kids. The sun was up, the sky was blue, no wind, while the trees with their bright shades of yellow created a wonderful day in the fall for sailing. We were so excited for such an experience.
After a very relaxing boat ride on Yukon river, we stopped in a nice camping spot by the forest, had a drink, chatted and watched the kids playing in the woods. Priceless.
When we returned home we prepared the birthday dinner. Jon cooked a delicious bbq, we sang “Happy Birthday” to JP and indulged into the delicious local baked pecan and maple syrup cake accompanied by vanilla ice cream. What a wonderful dinner, day, company and time spent with Bowen family.
We felt like we were part of their life for a little while. They allowed us to see and understand each aspect of their life here in Yukon and that was invaluable.
We stayed at Jon and Barbara’s house for four days, embraced by true hospitality.
I remember my first question for Megan a month ago while we were kayaking together, was (silly me) : “How is it to live in a city that has only 25,000 inhabitants”? I just couldn't image to live so desolate.
We got the chance to see how it was and it was simply inspiring.
People focus more on outdoor activities, spend time closer to nature, into the wild, they learn how to use their own environment and adapt to it even in harsh weather, they practice various outdoor sports like: kayaking, skiing, cross country skiing , sailing, hunting and fishing.
Their life seemed healthy and build around the nature. They hunt their own moose and caribou and they prepare and store the meat for an entire year.They fish salmon and various other catches from the hundreds of lakes and rivers available in the province and store it for the winter.
They grow their own vegetables in the garden and green houses. They spend time camping, hiking and breathing fresh air.
It’s a whole vast untapped world in Yukon and we really liked its culture, remoteness and solitude. After this experience we understood how lucky they are being born here, enjoying all this universe for themselves. It’s exclusive, unique and it's quality of life.