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Hiking near Kluane National Park

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A friend tells us about an old abandoned cabin he once spotted in the back country – the perfect opportunity for an adventure.

Heather, Em, Crystal and myself gear up and snowshoe in four hours on a sometimes used snowmobile trail. And the end we have to cross a lake which doesn’t look as frozen as we’d like it to be. Walking past open water near a flowing river is a little sketchy, though we all make the other side without a hitch.

The cabin is certainly abandoned, and is overflowing with piles and piles of junk. The door is off it’s hinges, all the window shutters have been tossed on the ground. A quick survey and we think we can make it livable – with one caveat. The wood stove. The sun is shining bright now, but we know it will be about -15C overnight and we won’t have fun unless the wood stove is serviceable. Emily and I get to work clearing the junk around it, emptying it of ash and giving it the once over. The stovepipe seems good, the door works and the top plates seem fine. The grate inside to separate coals from ash is broken, so we mash a rough approximation from old tin and are satisfied the stove will be fine. A small fire proves everything is functional enough.

While cleaning, we discover the brand of stove is “Claire Jewel” so we christen the cabin with that name and call it home.

Claire Jewel interior

Claire Jewel interior

We all get to work clearing load after load of garbage and what-not until we have the cabin looking clean and homely. After some poking around we find a whole stack of clean, dry plywood out the back, and along with a tin of nails and our small axe we can now make some repairs. I re-hang the door on it’s original hinges and repair all the window shutters. We replace the rotten table top with a new sheet of plywood, and make another small card table. To finish off we hang some plastic sheeting in strategic locations to catch all the melting snow dripping through the mostly-intact roof.

Morning coffee in Claire Jewel

Morning coffee in Claire Jewel

The mountains of Kluane National Park

The mountains of Kluane National Park

We’re right next to Kluane National Park, so we make multiple trips around the area to ice fish, take photos of the mountains and explore.

Heather and I are still learning about our cameras, so we play around with a very long exposure of the starts, result below.

Long exposure star photo

Long exposure star photo

At 2am on the walk back from collecting the camera we spot the Northern Lights – faint at first the show gets better and better the longer we stay.

Northern Lights 1

Northern Lights 1

Northern Lights 2

Northern Lights 2

Northern Lights 3

Northern Lights 3

Northern Lights 4

Northern Lights 4

As well as these photos, Heather and I take photos to make the following timelapse. Watch it full screen in HD for best effect.

The Yukon really is a magic place.

-Dan

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