AS A WAY OF LIFE

nomads, writer, speaker, photographer

YUKON 2019-2020


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Frozen Lands in the Yukon

A Place of Beauty and Extreme

What if it was the Great North that chose us?

What if it guided us to spend a winter in the heart of his icy land? It is the story of a grizzly bear and a powerful synchronicity that opened us the doors to the small community of Haines Junction, as if this place was waiting for us.

We are in the heart of an empire of mountains and ice, at the foot of the rocky ridges and rugged peaks of Kluane National Park, where Mount Logan (5,959 m) rises. The infinity that surrounds us is beyond our imagination. There are no limits to these wild spaces. We are part of a gigantic whole that stretches beyond our understanding. Each step offers us the powerful vibrations of the wilderness, and each glance nourishes us with its beauty, sublime, austere.

Nayla

The snow is so light here, it's impossible to build a snowman. On the other hand, Nayla explores these gigantic icy spaces with snowshoes, cross-country skis, ice skates and bicycle. She builds a quinzhee, a snow shelter, and plays in it with Fibie. She hears the sound of the ice singing and cracking as she skates on a frozen lake. An unreal melody that sounds like the song of the whale. She also has the opportunity to touch a lynx, which was put to sleep by a scientific team researching its behaviour. Above all, she will have the great joy of participating in a hockey, ski and football club in the small community of Haines Junction.  

Fibie

The reality of this land is mostly its hostility. First of all, there is the darkness of those winter days that shrink at a glance. The night is endless and the sun will not even rise above the mountains. Temperatures are also extreme, and that's the difficulty with the children. Everything if fine and then nothing is fine anymore, the cold has already set in their bodies. It's too late. We have to make a fire or go to a heated place. But Fibie is already immersed in adventure. At -40°C, she goes for a bike ride in spite of the polar temperatures. Our passage in the Yukon has also allowed her to learn English, which she now speaks as well as French.   

The Ultimate Experience

-45°C, for a few days, we live in a trapper's cabin at 64° North latitude, without water or electricity. The toilets are outside. The cabin is in the heart of the boreal forest and at the foot of a small lake. A powerful silence seems to inhabit the land, enveloping and protecting it. 

There is an incredible feeling of connection to the earth. To live in a cabin is above all to be present to what is, here and now, in symbiosis with nature. Cutting wood to keep warm, melting snow for water, bringing our child's soul to every action and above all, living together in gentle harmony. The Northern Lights that illuminated the nights brought that touch of magic that settles on this wild and frozen land, as if an enchantment cradled the earth.

Sublime Beauty in the Cold Spell

For 3 weeks, a cold spell settles over the territory. It is between -35°C and -40°C. At this temperature, everything changes.  -40°C is a magic number where the experience of daily reality is completely changed. Everything becomes delicate, including the metal. Boiling water thrown into the air no longer falls down. It vaporizes instantly creating a white cloud.

At this temperature, each breath brings cold air into the lungs, eyebrows begin to freeze and eyelashes begin to stick. As a physiological limit, dementia can also affect decision-making, such as delirium.

Yet this cold offers perfect clarity. The panoramas that unfold are of sublime beauty. Magic and mystery seem to bewitch the landscapes. 

Land of Mystery

In this land of mystery, white as far as the eye can see, immersed for months in the dark night, the sky communicates with the sun. When clear and moonless, the stars illuminate the celestial vault like the guardians of this world. This is when the dance begins, when the sun and the earth correspond. Green, sometimes red or purple veils float in the sky. Light waves break through the dark night. The fabulous spectacle of the Northern Lights. The magic of a world of the invisible offers us an eternal embrace. The dark night, the deep silence, the icy breath of the wind and the largely negative temperatures are the backdrop for this inspiring celestial choreography.