A breathtaking view steps away from our home, the Caribou RV Park.
Today is just one of these perfect days to spend some time outside. A sunny day, and "only" -24°C, what else do you want. Okay, I have to say that I first had to defeat the weaker self, which had decided to spend the day cozy with a cup of tea on the couch. After a short battle, I jump into a pair of long johns, thermal underwear, and quite a few more layers of functional sportswear. I put on my best and warmest hiking boots, my ski jacket, mittens and a hood, and off we go. I feel relatively immobile, but I tell myself that this is just because of all these layers of big clothes…
As I don't have hours to lose, and mostly to avoid losing my motivation on the road and drive to my favourite coffee place in town instead for a French vanilla latte. I decide not to drive to one of the known spots and starting points of many good hikes, but just cross the street and walk into the woods. Fortunately, I discover pretty soon a trail made by someone on a skidoo. This makes it much easier because we got exceptionally lots of snow this winter. Walking through knee-deep snow is too exhausting. So I decide to follow these skidoo tracks as they prepared me a manageable path.
Soon, I can't hear the road noise anymore, and I feel pretty much alone on Earth. Oh, nearly alone! Wherever I look, to my left, to my right or just straight ahead, I see animal tracks. Huge animal tracks! I don't really pay attention to the little ones, but those who get my attention must definitely be from moose. Lots of moose, I guess. No single moose would run so much back and forth through the same woods, would it? While I regret not having my bear spray with me and wonder whether they are aggressive at this time of the year, I just continue walking. Now that I am motivated, I don't let a few moose tracks stop my enthusiasm.
The trees are so loaded with snow that some have their tips hanging straight to the ground. This creates funny little tunnels as more and more snow kept falling onto the trunks. Amazing how these big fluffs stick on the tree without falling off. I squeeze underneath so that the next people following this path could also enjoy this beautiful phenomenon. Although it doesn't look like many users as skidoo man's tracks are pretty much untouched. I have to say that this doesn't bother me too much, as it means that I don't run into other people. Not that I am a sociopath running through the woods to escape humans, but while I am in Nature, I enjoy listening to its sounds, and I absolutely adore the total silence of a snowy forest. It would never come to my mind to walk around with headphones, and I don't need anything else than the sound of my crunching footsteps in the snow right now to relax my mind.
While my belly interrupts this silence with angry warning noises remembering me that I haven't eaten much today, I start making plans in my head for dinner. What is better than to treat yourself to a delicious meal after some exercise? Completely lost in thoughts of loads of decadent yummy pasta, I didn't realize that the forest opened up in front of me and that I now can see the mountain range behind. As I continue walking, more and more mountains appear behind the trees. The path continues to meander along the edge of a slope and offers views of a vast plain with nothing but snow-covered trees and the mountain range around.
I start taking pictures with my phone. Thank you, technology, that we don't have to carry big heavy cameras anymore when we just want to make a little walk when no-one expects that scenic views jump in front of your eyes. As a semi-professional photographer, I have to admit that it took me some time before trusting the cameras in smartphones. Don't get me wrong, I still prefer taking pictures with my Nikon, but for everyday usage, they get you outstanding results.
Just when I start thinking, why the heck, there is no bench at such a scenic spot, the views get more and more stunning. And there it is, just around a turn, I finally see a nice wooden bench barely looking out of the snow. This was definitely the destination of skidoo man because his tracks loop once around the bench before leading back. The bench is covered with heavy snow and an icy crust in the middle as there has been sitting somebody on it not too long ago. I take the few steps through knee-deep snow towards the bench, the burst of the last fresh snowcat in the middle and sit down.
And there it is, one of these views of a lifetime, which I never expected having just steps away from my home. I soak in the view while listening to the silence of the deep Yukon wilderness. This is just magic. This is better than sipping tea and sitting on the couch, and for sure better than an over-sweetened Vanilla latte in town. I can't believe, what mother nature has reserved for us, and I can't even understand less how you cannot be grateful for all that beauty. I am just overwhelmed.
Though it is not very appealing sitting on an icy bench at -24°, I sit there for quite a while before starting my way back. It is hard to believe that it really took me two years before discovering this marvellous spot on Earth just steps from my home! It will definitely become my favourite "every day" hike, and I am excited to discover the site throughout all the different seasons of the year.
This is once again the best proof that you don't necessarily have to drive kilometres and kilometres but that some really hidden gems are just outside your front door.
Now your turn! Tell us what and where your favourite spot is, and how you discovered it.