Living and growing a family in the North awards you with a real and tangible connection to the land. As a mother of 5 and as a home baker and wannabe chef, it is this connection that seeps into everything - motherhood, food, harvesting, and experiencing the very heartbeat of the bit of earth that sustains us.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
This summer, we have set aside one week a month for camping trips. Our June trip was scheduled for Kathleen Lake, in Kluane National Park. We have always wanted to camp there, it is a beautiful location with a lake full of record size trout. We travelled to Haines Junction to meet up with our friends who were coming with us, and T.J went to the Visitor Centre to buy our federal fishing and camping permits.
Camping in the Yukon is cheap. We buy a $50.00 camping permit every year that allows up to camp in any territorial campground all summer. The campgrounds are generally well kept, clean, with stocked wood piles and majestic views. Because Kathleen Lake is in Kluane National Park, though, we can't go there with our Territorial camping permit. We can't fish there, either, with our Territorial licenses. So off to the visitor centre T.J went, to buy our weekend permits. A season federal fishing license is $10 per day or $35.00 for the season per person. Kids under 14 can fish for free in the Yukon, but not at Kathleen Lake. They had to buy permits, too. Camping was $17 per night. We couldn't believe it! It was going to cost us about $140.00 in fishing licenses and almost $100 to camp for 5 nights.
Across and up the road a bit from Kathleen Lake is Desdeash (sp?) Lake. There is a territorial campsite there, and great fishing for Lake Trout and Northern Pike. It sits out on a point, and tends to be pretty windy, but at least that keeps the bugs away. We spent 4 nights there, and then travelled back to Haines Junction to camp for 2 nights at Pine Lake, because the kids really wanted to go tubing and Desdeash was too rough. Pine Lake has a nice sandy beach and a great dock for launching oneself into the water.
We had a great time catching up with great friends, and look forward to July's camping week at Congdon Creek Campground on Kluane Lake. Its also a Territorial Campground, just outside the park, so it won't cost us an arm and a leg to spend some time there.
Federal Government, Yukoners should be able to enjoy our National Park with our Territorial camping and fishing permits!!
Today we went down to the school park to play. They have one of those old big toy climbing structures with all the holes in the wood that make great places for hornets and wasps to build nests.
I have always had a deeply rooted, irrational fear of flying insects. I have never even been bitten or stung by a wasp, deerfly, or spruce beetle, but I imagine that it would be such excruciating pain that I might not live through it.
This fear is totally misunderstood and mocked by T.J, and he gets extremely annoyed when we sit around our nice outdoor patio set for barbecued chicken and a murderous bee swoops in. I am up screaming, madly waving my arms while I make a quick exit off the deck into the safety of the dining room. T.J believes I am a poor influence on our children, as they are usually up as fast as I am, grabbing their dinner plates to seek refuge with me indoors, leaving him to eat alone with the bugs. T.J loves to play with this fear of mine, it must have a name, like flyingbugaphobia or something, and he occasionally will pick up a spruce beetle by it's antennae or a deer fly off the window pane and pretend to fling it at me. He knows that if he actually flung it at me, he would be sleeping in a tent on the lawn.
So today, at the park with the kids, I went above and beyond, I truly put my children before myself without a thought for my own safety. Lydia was climbing up the big toy, and put her fingers right into a nest of wasps. I was in the field picking wild strawberries, and heard her start to yell. I looked up and saw her waving her arms, getting more frantic by the second. She was really freaking now, as the first wasp stuck her with his torturous weapon, and I contemplated just for a second about running in the other direction.
But then my mommy instinct kicked in, and I hurried over, ran up the slide, grabbed her by the arms and took a flying leap onto the ground. I picked her up, at arms length, of course, in case there were any wasps stuck to her that would then climb over onto me, and ran like hell across the field to safety. I had 4 other children with me, who watched these proceedings with mouths gaped open until they heard me screaming at them "RUN!! RUN TO HEATHER!" They all came as fast as their legs would carry them, starting to cry at their caregivers breathless soothing, "Its OK, kids, its OK." Lydia was stung 3 times, she was brave and amazingly alive. I resisted the urge to rush her into the ER.