Breath visible as I tear down camp, I look at the nearby mountains. Note that had we camped a few hundred feet higher we would’ve awoke surrounded by fresh snow.
Dark skies for as far as the eye can see, this will be a frigid, wet day of riding. Wearing most every layer I own, I quickly realize the limitations of my cold weather gear. Understand why people have heated grips, vests and gloves. Wish I had waterproof shoes for a moment, but feel grateful that at least I have wool socks.
Icy wind cutting deep, every 50 miles logged is a victory. A chance to stop, jump around, regain feeling in my toes. Protected in his sidecar bed, Baylor isn’t cold, but still enjoys each stop. Gleefully runs around with me, laughs as I do jumping jacks in the abandoned Yukon tundra.
Planning to just power through to Whitehorse, I instead veer off at the sign for the Village Bakery in Haines Junction. Keep my fingers crossed that there will be a covered spot for Baylor.
Seeing a dry, roof-covered patio my excitement level rises. Confidently this time, I join the line up of parked motorcycles. The men return to their bikes as we’re unloading. Stand staring for a moment. Ask about the sidecar, about Baylor. Shake their head in amazement at our journey. Just so you know we’re totally in love with you right now. Happily married, but still in love with you. I giggle. Wish them well and wave goodbye.
Warmed by hot tea and friendly people, motivated by the desire to reach the Takhini Hot Springs, we mount up and head out.
100 miles later, I’m thoroughly frozen. Any thought of driving further after using the hot springs dissipates. I happily get a camp spot. Tuck Baylor into the tent and head for the steamy mineral water.
Dark night firmly in place, I head back to the pool for a last soak. Swim laps, tread water. Cause other patrons to wonder about the crazy chick doing exercises in hundred degree waters with a stocking cap on. I pay them no attention, I’m on a mission to absorb as much heat as possible. Stockpile warmth to last the night through.
Hurrying back to camp, I slide into the sleeping bag, filled with gratitude.
I don’t know if Maslow would be impressed or perplexed, but sometimes I like being miserable just so I can fully appreciate the basics. After a day of numb toes, cold-tensed muscles, and shivering it’s simply impossible to take being dry and warm for granted.
Baylor groans as I wiggle my toes under his toasty body. Laughing, I give him an extra bedtime treat to make up for the disturbance.
Fall asleep dreaming of clear blue skies.
58 days down. Many to come.