AS A WAY OF LIFE
nomads, writer, speaker, photographer
And the Light is coming back... more intensely every day
From the long boreal nights, we gain more than an hour of daylight each week. Our whole body seems to be jostled by such a rapid change, while in the early morning the temperatures are still -20°C. But everything is changing, ...daily.
One day, by the river, something surprises us, something different that awakens in us an inexpressible joy. For months, we have been living in a snow-covered world, white as far as the eye can see. Today, we perceive the flow of the water, we hear its song. The river has freed itself from the ice, from the constraint that stifled every sound. It has regained its ardour and its melody. It has put on its sapphire- blue hue. Our body seems even more joyful than the smile on our face. A powerful energy seems to flow through each of our cell, an energy of life. Spring is coming and we live it with the intensity that marked the long winter months.
We experience every transformation. We experience the intense green of the leaves that are growing on birch and trembling poplar trees. We hear the birds symphony at 4 o'clock in the morning. We observe the elegant patterns of lichens, the ones that allow the caribou to survive the winter. We hear the loud and surprising cry of a loon, the symbolic bird of the North. It emits a kind of hooting, a mysterious and inspiring spring song, the song of the Yukon. We are experiencing the return of the bears coming out of their long hibernation. They eat the wildflowers that now blanket the ground. These grizzly and black bears wander peacefully, covered with their thick fur, like big teddy bears. The mosquitoes are also coming back. This year, they're formidable, in their thousands. The worst in more than a decade. The woods are infested. Without a breeze, it's sometimes impossible to stay outside unprotected.
We spend time with Andy and his family. Nayla and Fibie are great friends with Sylvia and Rose, their two daughters. This family chose to trap. They own two trapline concessions in the Yukon. Andy explains that it is a way for him to connect to the land. And in the Yukon, it's a way that is culturally appropriate, in addition to being regulated. First Nations people have been trapping for many generations. With winter temperatures, fur is also the best protection against the cold.
When we walk through the boreal forest with Andy, we understand this connection to the land. He has a phenomenal knowledge of the animals and plants. He recognizes tracks, he detects signs and clues, he knows how animals behave. This is what he likes the most: "It's a real game of chess between me and the animals. Out of the two hundred traps I can install, only a few animals get trapped. And I think that's fair!" Andy sets traps for wolves, lynx, wolverines, beavers, muskrats and martens mostly.
Fibie loves to play in the water. At 10°C, she wades in the mud and icy water, while the lake is still frozen and the snowy peaks spread out in the background. She rides around the tent with her balance bike and does yoga. She loves when Xavier throws her up in the air, "higher and higher!" She shouts.
Nayla cycles in the Yukon. She rides through the vast expanses, along the boreal forests, past small dark-blue ponds and frozen lakes. She pedals with breathtaking views of the towering mountains. A radiant smile lights up her face. It is also in the Yukon that she celebrates her birthday. She is now 7. There, in front of Deszdeash Lake, she welcomed some friends to play in the sand, to run with a ball, to grill bison sausages on the fire and to explore the surroundings. Friendship was the center of this moment of sharing, in this sumptuous landscape.
Diocovering the Yukon
With the springtime, we are taking advantage of new activities. We hike to the top of the mountains. We discover the Tors, these strange rock formations, gigantic blocks of rock at the top of a large plateau. We have the feeling of being somewhere else. Yet when we sit on the formations and look at the view, there is all the power of the Yukon in front of us. We breathe in the landscapes, the gigantic rivers meandering through the land like long snakes, the peaks extending in ridges, the rocky cliffs, the hanging glaciers, the slopes of pristine white snow.
We go rafting and canoeing in front of the sumptuous Kluane Mountains. Rivers are the veins of the Yukon. They provide access to remote and wilderness areas. They allow us to fully immerse ourselves in this incredible nature and with the animals that populate these lands. We are carried by the current, carried by the energy of the water through the landscapes. The songs of the river and the birds underline the deep quietness and peace of the place.