End: Whitehorse Yukon.
Twelve hours later we stir from the sleeping bags, the longest I have slept in months. Rolling over, the soft light leaked into the room from the small window by our feet, rendering the room we navigated in the dark. The soft rain showered on the tin roof above and was soothing enough to convince me to hibernate once more.
We spent the night in an attic-like room of the red cabin. A cozy spot above the living room, only accessible by climbing the steps nailed on the wall. We waited for Rita to return from her half marathon that was scheduled this morning, heading to Whitehorse after. We sat, but she never came back. Worried, we packed and decided to hitch our way into town.
The fog hung low in the valley today. Blending the water with the sky, fishing boats seemed to sail into the clouds. Mountains that were visible yesterday, gone today, hidden in a thick moist blanket of grey. The few buildings in town seemed to be lost, caught in the mass of swirling clouds drifting along the ground. We grabbed our rain coats, throwing them on before heading into the abiss. Thumb out, we got back into town and went straight into a restaurant. Hunger struck and I no longer cared about prices, pointing to the menu I ordered without hesitation.
Later we caught up with Rita at the Fogcutter, a local bar with WiFi. As we updated our plans and searched for ways to get over to Anchorage, we basically left blind, no solid plans after Whitehorse. Packed up and making our last minute errands, the five of us set off into the rain and fog. The two others being Lilly and Corkie, Rita’s pups.
Leaving around 7pm, we expected to drive through the night. Cutting through the fog and rain, we made it up the roads that snaked through the mountains safely. Face against the window, I watched the clouds envelope the landscape, transforming it into a gloomily scene. Catching a peek of the mountain tops through the cloud break, I was amazed how much I was missing out on due to the weather. Magnificent peaks and ranges hidden from view. Plains, rivers and valleys, all shrouded in grey. Even the road in front of us, gone.
Crossing the Canadian border, Rita and Dirk swapped spots. After running a half marathon on three hours of sleep, she was burnt. Curling up with the pups as pillows, Rita slept as Dirk and I navigated our way through the Yukon.
I found it hard to stay awake as the hypnotic road stole my concentration. Patches of fog still plagued us as we then hit gravel road and the worries of moose appeared. Keeping the music blasting, we managed to make good time and stayed alert. Yet my eyelids grew heavy watching the road for glowing eyes. Just as I was convinced we would make it without encountering any wildlife, I saw the shadowy figure of a large creature. Three more sets of eyes appeared and I then told Dirk to watch out. A heard of elk, forty plus strong was all over the road. Slamming on the breaks and sending the vehicle into a skid, we chased them off the road with the sound of the tires on the asphalt. In the middle of all this I had to laugh as one dumb elk started to try and out run us, staying right out in front and following the yellow line. As the back tires drifted back and fourth, Rita and the pups sprung to life as they tried to figure out what was about to happen. Dirk gripping the steering wheel and I holding on to the seat, the car came to a stop as we watched the elk leave the scene. A close call.
Hours later and 25mph slower with caution, we made it into Whitehorse. A dark deserted place at 2am. As we approached a home of a fellow couch surfer, we were relieved to sleep. A long night of dangerous road behind us. Back into Canada, the wild Yukon.