Fully cocooned in the sleeping bag, I pull the layers from my face. Peak one eye open, wonder if it will be another frozen day of riding. Orange glowing brightly I sit up, unzip the flaps, smile at the sight of sun streaming through the trees. Taking advantage of the dry skies, we get up, go for a short hike through the forest, pack up camp and head to town.
Sitting on the patio, I give myself away as a foreigner. While locals sit soaking up the sun in t-shirts and shorts, I remain bundled up in my jacket and scarf. Dirty chai in-hand, dog snoring at me feet, I open the laptop. Begin a wifi battle.
I’ll happily stick my head under a sink and call it clean, pee in the woods any day of the week, throw my clothes in a lake and consider them washed. But please, dear god, let there be a decent internet connection. First world melodrama I know, but it’s the truth.
Victorious at last, I call it a day. Looking up I nod approvingly at the cotton-fluff clouds dotting the bright blue skies. Looks like we’ll stay dry.
Awed by the beauty as we drive east, I realize how little of this drive I remember from the first go. It’s obvious that the combination of inexperience driving, oil shenanigans and engine worries so fully consumed my mind that I was unable to appreciate the landscape. This time around is completely different.
Making a lakeside stop, we enjoy dinner and show. Setting sun lighting up the skies, an ever-changing light show. Blue fading slowly to purple. Pale pink turning to bright orange in the blink of an eye. Stacks of clouds highlighting the vibrant colors, reflecting perfectly on the glassy waters.
Succumbing to the cold and dark, I pull off onto an abandoned road. Bump towards the lakeshore. Pass a decrepit cabin that would be interesting in full daylight, but is simply creepy in the abandoned Yukon night. Setting up camp, Baylor and I go about freaking each other out. Ears back, he jumps at every forest sound. Ultra paranoid I peer into the darkness every time he turns his head, certain he sees something I don’t. Nervous energy feeding nervous energy.
Tent almost up, Baylor and I jump simultaneously as the hoo-hooty-hoohoo begins. Zipper barely up, Baylor dives into the perceived safety of the tent. I quickly follow suit. Snuggled into the sleeping bag, heart rate decreasing steadily, I notice the owl’s gone quiet.
Smiling, I drift to sleep imagining him laughing his feather-covered ass off at the wacky duo he was so easily able to terrify. Shaking his head that we’ve been able to make it this far. Wondering where this crazy adventure will lead us next.
59 days down. Many to come.