Bittersweet Post…

10 Mar

Big News: I have accepted a new job…in Dawson Creek! This means in a couple of weeks I will no longer be “Yukon Kirstin”!

I’m going to keep this blog online but no more updates; instead I have started a new blog for my life as I return to British Columbia…it’s called Kirstin’s At Mile Zero (full address is http://milezerokirstin.wordpress.com)!

Also, be sure to follow me on Twitter as always for lots of updates!

I have loved living in Whitehorse and experiencing the Yukon, it will be very hard to leave! I definitely plan on returning for visits! But I am very excited for a new adventure and to continue my broadcasting career!

Thanks for reading!

<3

The Full Yukon Experience! Rendezvous, Dog Sledding, and Frozen Hair!

1 Mar

I am writing this blog from Vancouver, I just got into town last night after the most Yukon-tastic weekend ever! As you know from Sabrina’s guest blog, 5 of my wonderful friends came to visit, and we were busy!

My first Rendezvous (am I a Sourdough now?) started off with me being arrested by the Keystone Kops, despite wearing a garter over my jeans!

Turns out you can put “hits” out on people by paying off the Kops. Kaptain Keith, I’m looking in your direction. The audio of me and Casey Adams being arrested on-air, and taken outside to a mobile jail cell (they let us put our jackets on first at least!) is up on the CKRW Blog. They made us sing “I’m A Little Teapot”, and we acted it out for some reason as well. I screwed up the actions and Casey forgot part of the words- hey it’s been a while since we were in pre-school! Then they let us out and I got a pin saying that I was an ex-con,

 although it didn’t guarantee me protection from the Kops, however, I managed to stay out of jail for the rest of the weekend!

That evening, after giving everyone a tour of the town and having a yummy dinner at The Edge, we went up to Mount Mac for the Sourdough Sam Knighting! The Sourdough Sam competition is basically the opposite of the Queen’s competitions. Whereas the Queens have to dress and act like ladies all month, the Sams get drunk and compete for a truck. The Knighting included a “Tall Tale” competition, where the Sams had to tell stories and were given lines to improvise into their tales. Very entertaining! We also saw real can-can dancers,

 Musical Marjie, and, The Snowshoe Shufflers (dancers wearing snowshoes!). The Sams winner was the Irish guy, Phil McOxxenballs , he drank a lot of beer out of his trophy; needless to say he didn’t drive his new truck home that night! (P.S. a little travel tip, it can be hard to get a cab in this town in the evenings, especially for a large group, we waited an hour for our cab that night, and after some misadventures like this went with a rental car for the last two days of their visit, way more convenient and economical!).

Saturday, I was on-location at Rendezvous, which meant I got to hang out with my friends and call into the station regaling them with tales of my first Rendezvous (I love my job!). After my first cut-in from the pancake breakfast, the PR guy for the military called, and offered to take me around to their various displays (military is well-represented at Rendezvous on account of military bases up here back in the day). I got to to do all sorts of things: sit in the tank and talk about that, and we got driven up to the Whitehorse Airport to check out all the planes there, including an Aurora and a Hercules. I think I could have weaseled my way onto the skydivers’ plane but they were grounded due to wind. The Aurora was neat- they have a thing on the end which can track submarines, and they have any area called the “Battle Station”.

That thing on the end- tracks submarines!

  I also chatted with the proprietors of the Sugar Shack, where they pour maple syrup on snow and roll it up onto a stick. SO YUMMY! Also, so messy. Alllll over my gloves.

My friends definitely got to experience the Yukon cold and wind- Saturday was very cold and the wind was almost unbearable towards the end of the afternoon, blowing the tops of tents and creating mischief!

We then retreated to the warmth of the Yukon Brewery, where Ken graciously gave us a personal tour, even though they weren’t scheduled to do any that day. The tasting was, as always, very fun and we left with Growlers, bottles of Solstice, and Growler “purses” which are awesome- finally a convenient way to carry those heavy things!

That evening Erin made us delicious chickpea burgers

…and then we went to the Jarvis Street Saloon for the Tattoo, Beard and Moustache and Hairy Leg Competitions. The Hairy Leg Competition will be burned into my mind for ever. There are some very hairy people out there- men and ladies! They actually measure the strands of leg hair (some measuring 12mm!) and also look at thickness and quantity. Let’s just say I was sitting in the back without my glasses on and I could clearly see the mounds of hair rising from their legs! Sabrina and I both entered the tattoo competition…

…but lost out to some pretty epic tattoos.

Now onto Sunday- dog sledding! Now in the rental car, we drove to Muk Tuk Adventures in Takhini. Dog sledding was the one thing on my list that I absolutely had to do when I moved to the Yukon, so this was really exciting for me to cross that off my list (and I completely plan on going again soon). When you arrive at Muk Tuk, the yard has at least 100 dog houses in it, all with each dog’s name on it, and they’re all barking and friendly and cute, and you can go up and say hi to the dogs and everything. We suited up (they provide jackets, boots, and thick mitts and scarves, we brought our own snow pants, I also brought my own balaclava which I’m glad I did ’cause your nose runs in those things and it’s nice to know that’s your own nose goo, lol!). I loved how indignant the entire yard of dogs got every time a dog got hooked up to your sled, they would all start barking like “C’mon, him? Really?!”. They had pre-determined teams set up, as the staff knew which dogs worked well together.

Our dogs

Me, Sabrina and our Team!

For the tour it was 2 people to a sled and then a switch halfway through, I started out in the sled which they zip you into all nice and cozy. The hardest part is the hills, which I found out once it was my turn, I just kind of assumed the dogs do all the work, but they totally don’t. In fact, they will stop and look at you at some of the steeper hills to make sure you’re getting off the sled to help. So on hills, you get off the sled and push, and on really steep ones, your passenger gets out and helps too.

 I really feel like the Benny Hill music should be playing under any video you see of me driving the sled. It was a lot of fun but I tipped the entire thing over, my team over-ruled my calls to “Ji!” (we ha-ed where we should have ji-ed) which meant at one point we went from being the team at the front of the pack to the team at the end, which I don’t think the dogs ever forgave me for! We then got lodged in a snow bank and when I lifted the sled out, they took off without me being on it! So I actually got dragged a little ways and I am quite sore from that. I managed to pull myself up and land both knees on the brake bar to stop the sled and didn’t send Sabrina and 6 dogs careening down the hill into the other teams. Despite all of this, don’t get me wrong here, it was TONS of fun. Challenging and technical, but very fun. I would like to try one of the day-trips next.

We then drove to Takhini Hotsprings for a much needed soak. It was so cold outside that our hair froze, and we had fun styling it- in fact they have a competition there, I’ll let you know if we win anything.

Jenn!

Sabrina!

The Whole Gang!

Yesterday back up to Mount Mac for some snowshoeing, and then off to the Beringia Centre to check out the Woolly Mammoth skeleton.

Mammoth!

Locals or tourists should really check out this place, very cool.

Then onto the plane and into the arms of my family- which meant I finally got to meet my niece, Lily!!

Me and Lily at the Airport!

<3

Guest Post: Yukon Sabrina!

25 Feb

My friend Sabrina arrived in Whitehorse yesterday! Here’s her account of her first day in Whitehorse.

————————————————————————————–

I just arrived in Whitehorse and I can honestly say that it has been a long time since I was this excited to be  somewhere! My adventure began with absolutely seamless transport thanks to Air North, complete with friendly and helpful staff, informative magazine on the Yukon,  free in-flight meals (can’t remember the last time I ate food on a plane that I didn’t bring with me) and a warm still melting chocolate chip cookie (I know that counts as part of the meal but I liked it so much I thought it deserved a mention.)

After dropping off my suitcase and getting a fresh mug of hot tea Kirstin and I were out the door (Garters firmly in place) in search of mukluks, snowshoes, souvenirs and photo ops. Whitehorse does not disappoint, after a quick tour of downtown Whitehorse my camera is full of fantastic shots including a Whitehorse skyscraper;

Log Skyscraper!

the SS Klondike

SS Klondike!

…and the river.

Hospital in the Background!

I also got to the Urban Cake Shop for a tasty Vegan Cupcake

Vegan Cupcakes!

and was able to thank the woman who made Kirstin’s perfect birthday cake.

After that we got our run on. All bundled up in our warmest workout gear we went snowshoe running. It was absolutely hysterical! I have never run and laughed at the same time.

Though it felt more like a tourist moment than a workout since I made us stop every 5 minutes for pictures of each other and the amazing scenery I still felt good at the end of it. I could definitely see myself taking it up. The only downside to using my shoes instead of mukluks was that as I sweat the moisture from my feet froze and caused little snow nuggets to form in my shoes. I had to stop once to shake them out before we could move on. We will be back there on Monday for more fun!

A whirlwind trip back home for hot showers and a change of clothes later we where off to Ruby’s for dinner. Ruby’s is a vegan vegetarian restaurant run by a retired couple and I can highly recommend them. Warm hearty soups and amazing main courses followed by a warm apple crisp for dessert. It was all gone so fast there wasn’t even time for a picture.

After packing so much into one afternoon I am relaxing one the couch with hot tea and the latest Archer episode.  All in all a stunning success, I can’t wait until tomorrow when I will tackle the Whitehorse transit system, check out some art and eat at the famous Alpine Bakery.

Running ON The River!

24 Feb IMG_0353

Guess where I went running last night?? (See title of this post) That’s right; I went running ON the Yukon River! I had no idea it was frozen, last time I walked down to the water was November and it was still flowing the way a river should. I guess that’s just a testament to how cold it’s been here.

I found the whole idea of it very exciting and made the snowshoe group stop a couple of times to take pictures of me:

Standing ON The River!

The snow was not packed, and at times there were very slippery ice patches, which made for a challenging run but very fun! Also, since it was a flat run, it was a nice break from all the hills we normally do!

I freaked out at one point because there were fresh animal tracks which looked to me like they belonged to a wolf. Apparently they were from a rabbit and I’m paranoid.

Looks like giant paw prints to me!

The patch of trees to the left in the next picture is normally an island!

Island to the left!

We were in the vicinity of Shipyards Park, which is where most of Rendezvous takes place. The ice sculpture competition has just started, for the most part the entries are still looking like large blocks of ice, I can’t wait to see the finished product!

Not in the competition, but two of these flank the entrance to Shipyards

Also, the track that makes up the start line for the River Trail Marathon that I did this past summer, and the start line for the Yukon Quest, has been made into an ice rink:

Ice rink!

 No one was skating on it when we were there but one of the snowshoers slid around on it- I hadn’t fallen for the entire run and didn’t want to tempt fate so stayed away!

Afterwards we went to Tim Horton’s for a nice warm drink- I felt so Canadian with my snowshoes and my roll-up-the-rim cup (P.S I won a coffee!)

 <3

Busy Month!

21 Feb

The biggest, most awesome news in my life right now:

SO MUCH CUTENESS!!!!!

This is my niece, Lilyana Faith McRoberts, born February 9th! I am sooooo excited to meet her, I’m coming home to visit in one week- the countdown is on! Mom and Kali are keeping me updated by texting me plenty of Lily pictures to tide me over until then. Did I mention how excited I am???

 Just got back from a lovely snowshoe run, we took a detour and hiked up “Birch” so that we could run back down the very steep slope….

The view from the top!

I was very proud that I did not fall on my face! It was a beautiful trail, full of Birch trees (hence the name) and a much narrower trail than the usual ski/snowshoe trails we run on, reminded me of trail running!

 February has been so busy! The Yukon Quest wrapped up on Friday, after an absolutely  amazing 14 day race, the Red Lantern team of Hank DeBruin and his 9 Siberian huskies arrived at the finish line- just as the awards/finishing banquet wrapped up! Rookie Dallas Seavey won the race in 10 days 11 hours and  53 minutes.   If you haven’t been following the Quest, definitely worth reading the updates from the trails, you can find them  on their website, there are some truly amazing stories. You could make a movie out of the adventures- There are stories of mushers falling in the ice and having to be rescued by other teams, intense storms and minus 50 degree temperatures, and the resulting frostbite.

There’s a great interview with Hugh Neff up on the CKRW blog, you gotta listen to it, he had a 10 hour lead for a good portion of the race, but extreme weather conditions forced him to withdraw at Eagle Summit. I almost cried listening to the interview when he mentioned the death of one of his dogs, Geronimo. The bond between the dogs and the mushers is amazing.  Listen to the interview!

 Hockey Day in Canada came and went as well, and from my chats with the hockey fans it was amazing (again I really know nothing about hockey so this event went right over my head, in hindsight though I wish I’d gone and seen the Stanley Cup, that looked neat).  The Toronto Sun did a nice piece about it all.

Also, I went to an 80s night a couple of weeks ago and didn’t post about it because I was hoping to have some pictures, but I haven’t been able to track down any! All I have is this Myspace-style picture of myself with back-combed hair:

big hair!

It was a fundraiser for the local breakdance group, and was a sold-out crowd that was fully decked out in their finest 80s attire! It was super fun, and no one phoned it in when it came to the costumes. My throat was hoarse the next day from screaming so many 80s ballads at the top of my lungs.

Saturday I attended the “Nasty Comedy Night” at The Guild. Lots of fun! Kudos to Anthony Trombetta for his version of “The Aristocrats”! Jenny Hamilton was also a highlight for me, I really need to see more stand-up around here, Whitehorse definitely has some talented comedians!

I am looking forward to the arrival of some of my Vancouver friends who fly into town this week! We’re going to go dogsledding, snowshoeing, hotsprings-ing and taking part in the Rendezvous festival! Rendezvous is really getting going, the Queens have been out for a while now, and there are events including the Sourghdough Sams competition which is on now. I’ll be on location on Saturday checking it out, so you can hear my adventures on CKRW, and I’ll definitely be watching for The Kops! I can’t find out much about it online,  but I understand during Rendezvous ladies always have to be wearing a garter and men a beard, or the Kops will arrest you! I bought a garter this week, so I’m ready!

<3

Hockey Day in Whitehorse!

8 Feb

Hockey Day in Canada is in Whitehorse this week, and I’m not a huge hockey/sports fan so I’m not going to be the most knowledgeable on this one, but I did attend the kick-off event tonight at the MacBride Museum.

It was the launch of the exhibit, Yukon’s Hockey History. The MacBride Museum has been collecting hockey memorabilia from local hockey organizations, and put it together in an awesome exhibit (which is free all this week so if you’re in town, go check it out!);

 I think I will have to go back a second time just to really look at everything in detail, because the place was packed!

They even had the little kidlets outside playing hockey on a homemade outdoor rink- I’ve only seen those in Tim Hortons commercials, lol!

Ron MacLean

…and Ron Maclean is in town already- so he said a few words at the opening including a funny story about him and Don Cherry (who will be in town later this week), I don’t think there’s ever a dull moment between those two.

There was also a kick-ass buffet if you went into the taxidermy exhibit- very interesting to eat in front of a life-size stuffed moose and the heads of some of his brethren, I don’t think they were serving moose meat for the meat-eaters, that would have been really odd!

<3

Yukon Quest!

6 Feb

Ready to Go!

Yesterday the 2011 Yukon Quest kicked off in Whitehorse, I was down at the start line and it was SO MUCH FUN!

What is it? Every February, the Yukon Quest runs 1,000 miles between Whitehorse, Yukon and Fairbanks, Alaska. They alternate directions each year (so last year the Start Line was in Fairbanks and the Finish Line was in Whitehorse). Teams set out with 14 dogs, one musher and the sled. Mushers can only re-supply at 10 checkpoints along the route. They’re out there for 10-16 days, in all sorts of crazy Yukon/Alaskan winter conditions. The trail they run on is the historic routes of indigenous people, trappers traders and early gold-seekers.

There were tons of people at the Start Line

The Crowd!

…and lots of excitement in the air!

CKRW did a kick-ass broadcast which was listened to from here in the Yukon to all over the world, kudos to the awesome news team, Tim and Steve, and “Executive Producer” Kaptain Keith.

The Rush at the Start Line!

That green thing in my hand is my cowbell! They were giving them away (hence all the cowbell noise in the videos); totally made my day- you can never have enough cowbell! 

The dogs were awesome- way smaller than I thought they would be!

I love their shoes!

They are bred for Northern winters, so thrive in below zero temperatures.   The mushers were actually a little worried because the weather here this past week has almost been too warm, but it was nice and cold yesterday!

The dogs were crazy excited too…

Holding the Sled Down!

 …there were people who’s job it was to hold the sled down at the start line, because the dogs were literally jumping in the air from excitement! You could see the bond between the mushers and the dogs- totally a team/pack.

OK, more pictures:

The Sled

Go!

I also dressed completely inappropriate for the weather (my fingers especially were almost ready to fall off because I opted for cheap little gloves instead of mittens, for better camera-operating dexterity), so I had to run inside after the first few mushers to warm up, and repeated that until #23 crossed over the start line…so next time, wearing my parka and proper mittens! Still, it was a lot of fun, and felt definitively “Yukon”!

<3

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