Days 21 and 22 Tundra….My Darling, I’m back!

Oh the Joy, the decadence, the gluttonous feeding of the ego to have the world to oneself…..

 

 


Mine Mine Mine


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Very old caribou antler

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Looking down the ridge that we’re following

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This area is called Eastern Beringia and From the Richardson mountains to the east, south to the coastal mountains, west to the Bering Sea and North to the Arctic Ocean (or more specifically the Beaufort Sea).

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We followed the ridge from the bottom right corner up to the left and then over and beyond the furthest bump in the distance.  These ridges are part of the continental divide (dividing the Beaufort Sea watershed from the Bering Sea watershed).  These mountains are the most northerly extent in of the North American Rocky Mountains.  To be honest I’m still a little confused about the geography of this region.  The mountain shapes and the rocky outcrops and moraine were formed by both glaciation and the upheaval caused when the continental divide was formed.  I was always under the impression that moraine was caused by glaciers but some of what I read says that these moraines were actually caused by the grinding by think ice sheets rather than glaciers.  In any case, you can see the mounds of rocks in the video above.

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Here you can easily see the up-lift

From, “The Dempster Highway Travelogue”:

 The Richardson Mountains are composed of dark shale and sandstone deposited

in a deep basin about 450 million years ago. The mountains form a narrow

line between north-trending faults. East-directed tectonic forces caused the

sedimentary rocks to buckle and uplift between these faults; a mountain range

formed during the last 50 million years. They are unique because, during the

last ice age, the climate here was too dry for glacial formation. The tip of the

Laurentide Ice Sheet was stopped by this mountain range, marking the eastern

edge of the unglaciated area.

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At the end of this video we are looking back toward the campsite where we began two days of hikes.  You can see the white spec of the camper.

  

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Moss trying to trick me!  I’m seeing antlers in everything now!  I’m obsessed….

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Antler Moss

Maybe this is a prehistoric mammoth skull!

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I think this is weather worn quartz. It was a chunk about two feet in diameter. There were smaller smooth pieces near by.

 


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The scratchy sound you hear in the background are ground squirrels.  The girls had a very good time looking for them but never came close to finding one.  The bears also like to hunt for ground squirrels.  Here’s are area where one has been digging after them

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Some plant life

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Cloud Berries

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They’re edible but I thought they tasted a bit bland and they were kind of creamy… which I didn’t like

I don’t know if the NWT locals do this but the Alaskans make ‘Eskimo Ice Cream’ out of berries. It’s made of Crisco, berries, sugar, and a “texturizer”, either boiled white fish or mashed potatoes.


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 You can see the crazy weather changing by the second.  But the Poodles don’t care… neither do I.

The dogs are looking a bit disheveled by now.  So do I, that’s why you never see pictures of me.  ha ha ha

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Eureka’s Lyle Lovett impression

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Let’s play find the poodle again…..

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Nickel says More More


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But off we go to find our last night’s stay on the Dempster Highway……

Day 10 First day Tombstone Territorial Park

Tombstone Campground

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We woke up to the promise of a nice day. It rained all night so this is a very pleasant surprise. There are several small nature walks around the campground and we walked one of them last night. I’m a little worried about bears and the poodles so walking through the dense brush, even on a trail, is a little disconcerting. I make noise by talking and clapping but the dogs have to be leashed so they don’t run ahead and stir something (someone) up.

 
Some of you know my opinion of the little jingle bells that are sold as bear bells… I call them Dinner Bells.   They give off such a tiny delicate sound it’s not really of much use. A bear will hear your stomping through the woods before it hears those fairy bells. Well, you do want to make noise because even a bear is going to want to avoid any altercation if it can help it. A normal comfort range for a bear is about 12 feet. If you run across a mom with cubs, she isn’t going to tolerate you crossing that boundary. If you can startle her Before you’re too close, then even a bear with babies will run before it wants to fight. Moose can be more dangerous than bears and there is plenty of evidence that they’re here in the campground.

Ever since I picked up the pile of cans at Memorial Lake, I’ve been stashing them under the truck.  I want to see how many I can collect before the end of the trip.  (I’m starting to develop some odd goals now that I’ve spent too much time alone on the road). I like to claim that it’s a way to ‘give back’ a little … you know…  Cleaning up the environment as I go….)

All those cans hanging around gave me an idea…..

 

I came up with what I’m calling The Yukon Bear Bell.

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A Canadian Budweiser can filled with rocks. A hole drilled through the top allows for a velcro strap for holding the ‘bell’ to the poo’s collar.

 

 

In any case, after hiking the closed-in trails I decided we needed a better destination. One of the longer trials ended at the edge of the River so I thought that might be a great place to go so we headed down the trail with the girls on leashes with Eureka doning her new necklace.

 

TinTin’s been left in the Camper for this excursion since she’s injured her toe again.

IMG_2532 About a year ago she pulled a tendon in one of her toes and since then, it’s a bit ‘owwie’ if she walks for too long on uneven ground.  At least that’s the excuse she gives me.  I think she’s prefers the comfort of a warm bed in her old age.  I feel bad leaving her but she really is happier.

We leave the campground via a short trail through low brushIMG_2580IMG_2579

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Nickel carries the map

We discover some cairns marking a path… not that you could get lost on this river!  LOL

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This was the perfect river to hike. It had a half-dozen braids to follow and the level was low enough we could meander.

Eureka is really digging her new role as the Explorer

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The river’s edge was a combination of rocky shoreline and deep squishy moss. The moss was wonderful to walk on, although soaking wet.

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I saw my first set of caribou tracks.

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Caribou tracks

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Caribou prints are circular. They look a little like a horse shoe with a gap at the top as well as the bottom. Seems like a great design for walking through spongy moss.

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The girls were able to be off leash since the wide expanse of braiding gave me at least a half mile of visual on either side.

 

I busied myself with rock hunting while the girls pursued more lively game. IMG_2611They chased some sort of small rodent without much success.  I watched it scurry away as their noses kept them interested in the original rock it was under. It was very fat and squat with a short tail. I think it was a lemming.

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In any case, it was quicker and more savvy than the poodles and I watched it dart between some rocks and scurry away while the poodles were still head in the rocks wagging their tails. Nickel did manage to find a small piece of caribou hide.

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Eureka wanted in on the action

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She carried it around for a while but must have decided it was too much work to eat.

 

Of course she found other dead creatures to eat

IMG_2599 IMG_2597Nickel is truly a great scavenger and I thing if she could live strictly off carrion, she might even make it out in the wild.  On most outings she’s managed to find some nasty dead thing.  However, if she had to actually hunt and kill something,  she’d be short-lived.  She’s pretty hopeless in that department.

 

We walked for several hours before deciding it was time to head home.

 

It was hard to end our excursion.

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As we walked down the road toward the campground, I saw a fresh set of moose prints. Amazing how stealth they can be.

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We had a great camping spot along the river’s edge and once back to the camper, settled down to a ”water view’ for the evening. TinTin was very interested in the scents that were traveling upstream. She decided to play her  “I’m afraid but brave” game and made several trips to the water’s edge only to run back to the camper and then, repeat the process over and over again.

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She decided it was safer to watch from the campsite….

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finally she satisfied herself as a sentry from INside the camper.

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The day was winding down and the rain… of course… was beginning its patter on the roof so we called it a night.  I settled down with a book and the poodles began reliving their day with bouts of lip twitching and leg paddling.

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Arctic cranberries and a mushroom. Which one do you think is edible?

Day 8 Continued… onto Moose Creek Territorial Park for the night

Believe it or not… we finally arrive at our campground destination!

but NO!  We’re not even close to being done for the day… remember?  the sun sets at around 10:30 now!

 

They don’t call it Moose Creek for Nothing….IMG_2378

 

There’s still some exploring to do and what better way to start than discovering more mushrooms…. yes! more mushrooms.

If anyone knows the names of any of these, I’d love to know.  The one below was called a Hawk Wing in a book at the Tombstone Ranger station.   I saw it called something else since then.  d

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Hawks Wing I discovered later that these are edible… dang

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oops, what’s that doing here?

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Lichen and moss

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another lichen and… yet another moss….

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let’s see… pine cone, lichen, moss, mushroom and… puffball

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Strawberries and Cream. Yes, That’s really what they call it…

Yet another dung picture..  It was interesting because it’s the size of a cat poop but obviously most of it’s diet was full of chlorophyl.  Any ideas?

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So out of the woods we hiked and into the river channel.

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Through out this blog you might notice my predilection for walking through all types of terrain in my sox and sandals.  Although it is rather odd (ok, don’t say it), socks and sandals are the perfect way to travel when one has limited storage space and limited ability to dry articles of clothing.  Wool socks stay warm in the most frigid of water and they dry much more quickly that in insides of a boot.  My favorite socks for doing this are my merlon Icelandics from New Zealand.  Oh so comfy and durable!

 

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I guess you can’t really tell that my socks are on….

 

The poodles had fun getting their feet wet and I had a chance to find some interesting animal prints.  I saw raccoon, beaver

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and wolf

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Well, all good things must come to an end

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But sometimes that end is just the beginning for something even better!!

We finally settle down for a good bone chewing

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