Bliss…. photo 101 assignment

It was impossible for me to choose one photo to represent Bliss so I chose two.  You might be surprised that both involve my dogs (tongue in cheek).

To me, Bliss can be manifest in two ways.

Joyful Ecstasy 


Serene Introspection

 Here is my photo of what Joyful Ecstasy….Leading to BLISS…. looks like.

Nickel expressing her Bliss in new spring grass


and here is my photo representation of Serene Introspection… leading to BLISS.


Nickel, TinTin and Eureka over looking thousands of miles of Tundra in The Yukon

If we pay attention, our dogs show us everyday what it means to be BLISSFUL.

Day 28 Many More Mushrooms

To Eat or not to Eat.  That is the question


 Our first day out of Whitehorse was blissfully free of surprises.  We had our usual pit stops so the poodles could stretch their legs, but we had a lot of road to cover so no time for any dilly dallying.  After a long day of driving I found a convenient spot to stay the night.

Our camp was at the end of this dirt road

IMG_3736-1 (dragged)


It seemed like a pretty nondescript spot until we wandered into the woods and found a land filled with mushrooms.  I counted at least 15 different types of all shapes, sizes and colors.   I don’t know if they were from different species, families or simply varying life stages but the variety was astounding.  I tried to look them up but, as usual, my ability to identify them fell short.  It seems that there can be very minute details that separate one type of mushroom from another.  You must look at the ribs under the cap, the cap, the color, the bulb, the way the stem attaches to the top, the way it opens, the way it decays, what color appears when you cut it, and much more.









I thought this was a giant puffball until I saw that it had an enormous stem.The one below was rotted but you can see the size of its stem.









Jelly Mushrooms… that’s really what they’re called.


Coral Mushroom Edible


Unknown Opalescent mushroom. It reminded me of a jelly fish see the coloring along the edges of the cap? Make sure you enlarge this picture. It’s worth it to seeing the coloring.






Parasol Mushroom


FOOLED YOU (shame on me). It’s not a mushroom or a chicken foot, it’s a stick.











Puffballs: Also know as Lycoperdon or the Devil’s Snuff-Box

I collected these for dinner.  Puffballs have to be harvested before their insides explode.  I was excited to see such large ones that were still young enough to eat.


More puffballs Lycoperdon perlatum

 From Wikipedia

“The distinguishing feature of all puffballs is that they do not have an open cap with spore-bearing gills. Instead, spores are produced internally, in a spheroidal fruiting body called agasterothecium (gasteroid (‘stomach-like’) basidiocarp). As the spores mature, they form a mass called a gleba in the centre of the fruiting body that is often of a distinctive color and texture. The basidiocarp remains closed until after the spores have been released from the basidia. Eventually, it develops an aperture, or dries, becomes brittle, and splits, and the spores escape. The spores of puffballs are statismospores rather than ballistospores, meaning they are not actively shot off the basidium. The fungi are called ‘puffballs’ because clouds of brown dust-like spores are emitted when the mature fruiting body bursts, or in response to impacts such as those of falling raindrops.”

At the end of this video you can see the spores on my finger tips


A spent Puffball



I call this the perfectly-cooked-pancake-mushroom but I don’t know what it really is.


Easy-Over-Egg-Mushroom…. ???





and then I found a petrified crushed dinosaur egg!


Just Kidding


 If you want to see some excellent pictures of some truly beautiful fungus click



 IMG_3735-1 (dragged)

Toad Stools

Day 25 The bumps along the way

Taking inventory of things damaged

by the

Dempster Highway


LESSON:  In northern Canada, when you see signs like this…IMG_2454


or flags like this…..


Pay attention and slow down.  When they say the roads are bumpy they mean tall mountains and small valleys.

By the time I arrived in Dawson City the camper had been through a lot of shakes and jolts.   I decided to take an inventory of the damage to the camper.


Bathroom door off the hinge



Door hinge is so caked with dry mud it doesn’t want to close




Kitchen cabinet won’t close because the catch has been so badly bent










not to mention the screws holding the oven in place are stripped and the bathroom cabinet needs to be completely replaced and the two rear mud flaps had been partially ripped off by the weight of mud.

Then there was a flat tire….


Had the tire patched and headed out of Dawson City toward White Horse.


I noticed that the outer rear wheel was looking low on air so I pulled into a gas station to fill it (and the others).  The inner tire was completely empty and the outer tire looked flat because it was supporting all the weight.  Who knows how long the tire’s been flat.  I found someone to patch the tire and headed south.

The next day, after bushwhacking in a nondescript spot, we arrived in Whitehorse. Our first stop was the hardware store to pick up some items for the repairs.  As I was parking a guy yelled to tell me that there was a wire dragging behind the truck.  IMG_3587

Apparently the mechanic who fixed the tire also loosened the wire that connected the camper to the truck battery.  I probably drove most of the last 200 miles with no back lights.  I guess it could have been worse.

What to do


I found a public playing field to do the work. A sign of where I am: this is not a ball park. It’s a Mud Racing Track.


IMG_3586 IMG_3592 IMG_3593   IMG_3600


Good Ole Duct Tape


Poodles patiently waiting for me to finish my handy work

Next Stop

Change the oil and differential in truck.  Remember how I replaced my oil cap on my first trip through Whitehorse?  well, the mechanic found the lost oil cap under the hood.  It stayed there for the past 3000+ miles.  At least now I have a spare.


End of a long day and time to find a campground for the night

On the outskirts of town


Day 24 Meeting the Yukon’ers

Farmer’s Market

We stayed at the provincial park across the river last night and I decided to move into town and stay another night so I can use the internet.  Between the library and the campground I should be able to get a few hours of work done.  The poodles might not be thrilled about staying indoors but it’s a perfect gloomy day for just that.

Our morning walk brought us to the Farmer’s Market where I found some beautiful fresh veggies.




NO! This IS a radish… not a rutabaga or parsnip… Radish.. no really

31j 31l


The biggest and smallest carrots in the world

31g 31b


I love a full fridge!


and I can’t wait for dinner …


I’ll stay the night at a gringo camping ground so I can finish chores and work on the blog

I ran into the couple I met at Boya Lake Park a month ago. Unbeknownst to me they’d taken a picture of the poodles and me in the canoe.  Jan and his wife Machiko and their two sons, Kai and Wyn have been on a trip across Canada and Alaska.

Click the photo below to link to their website:


Thanks Jan for this awesome picture.  I’m now using it as my Facebook pic

I ended my day being invited to a real Yukon party

at least that’s what they kept telling me…


Around 9pm I headed out for a quick walk with the poodles.

Dawson City is made up of a main street that borders the river and where the tourist shops resides, the historic and business district and a small residential area that spreads out behind the town.  Walking from the campground and across two streets of shops delivered us into the neighborhood.  My goal was a brisk jaunt and back to the camper for an early night.   We were only half way down the block when I heard someone calling from a window, in an oddly combined Canadian/Maine-er accent,  “He’yah little da’lan, you wanna come see what a real Yukon pardy’s like?”  I hesitated, took a step and hesitated again.  I squinted at the window, looked down at the poodles and squinted again. The front door of the house was open and soon appeared a man and his dog,  I could hear music and the din of voices issuing from inside.  He had a grizzly looking beard and a slight wall-eye.  “Come on in and hav’a be’yah.”   I did a quick calculation… I had three dogs with me and we were in the middle of a very small town where everyone knows one another.  OK.

I walked into a smoke filled drab dark living room.  Several guys were sitting by a table playing guitars and took casual note of my entrance. They told me to pull up a chair and join them, so I did.  I let the poodles off their leads and they immediately began mingling and making themselves at home.  Nickel politely greeted the little lab and then clamored into my lap. Eureka jumped onto the couch and pressed herself into the closest person and demanded pets, which were generously applied.  TinTin, as only TinTin can, moved slowly forward, like a tiny stiff legged stegosaurus, down the hallway and into the kitchen to look for any leftovers within reach.

Me? I was sitting there in my PJ’s, my blue plaid flannel bottoms with a gray T-Shirt that said “Happy 101 Birthday Gino!”  There I was,  a middle aged woman in her pajamas, drinking a can of Canadian Molson and a holding huge gray a poodle in my lap.  I looked at the guy sitting on my right, “Does this feel kind of surreal to you?”  He nodded and said, “Yeah.”

There were five men and a woman.  Two of the guys were x-hockey players and two were seasonal miners, I don’t know the host did.  The gravelly voiced woman who was sitting on my left was gaunt and her leathery tanned skin hung tight across her face and hands.  I couldn’t decided if her body and soul were weathered from a life of truck-stops and whiskey or from the tough existence of a pioneer’s subsistence living.  It seemed that all of these people had left Dawson City and traveled around the US and Canada at some point, but they always returned.

The host told me that I needed to spend a few more days in Dawson City in order to get a feel for what Yukon is really like.  He invited me to park my camper in his back yard for a few days.  I took a second glance at the woman next to me and decided that I’d better be going…..

Day 23 To Dawson City and Chores

We found a nice hidden spot to ‘bushwhack’ our last night on the Dempster



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It was a quiet spot and we got the camp set up so late there wasn’t much to do but get to bed.  The next day we woke to the sun. I let the dogs out to go potty and it was so nice outside I decided to latch the door open to let in some fresh air. .  I always make a lot of noise and take a peek around before letting them out.   Eureka and Nickel did their business and quickly came back in with the expectation of breakfast.  As I prepared their meal, I heard TinTin on the steps.  Since she occasionally has a hard time maneuvering on them, I went help her.  Oddly, despite having her two front paws on the stipes she wasn’t trying to go up but, instead,  looking over her shoulder.  I followed the path of her gaze and saw a great big Grizzly walking toward her.  It wasn’t looking menacing and, , it looked pretty calm. It still wasn’t giving off any signs of stress; not that I really know what a bear looks like when it’s stressed but the literature describes it yawn, lick their lips, etc…much like a dog.    I told TinTin to hurry up and reached around the side of the camper to get the door unlatched so I could close the door.  TinTin started to come up the stairs but decided, instead, to jump back down and face the bear.  At that point it was about 3 yards away but lumbering slowly towards us.   TinTIn gave a big bark and the bear stopped.  As soon as Eureka and Nickel heard TinTin, they too started to bark and lunged forward toward the doorway.  I blocked them with my leg while I was still reaching around to get the door with one hand and trying to haul TinTin in with the other.  The bear stood up, turned to the side and reared forward and AWAY.   It galloped off into the woods.  I wish TinTin hadn’t been out there so, maybe I could’ve watched it from the safety of the camper.  I never felt that the bear was a threat and I think it was more curious than anything.  TinTin certainly thought she was hot stuff afterward … scaring away a big brown bear!

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So enough excitement for the day.  We needed to head south and I still wanted one more hike before we were back in Dawson City (the goal for the day).

Of course We couldn’t leave without one more day of hiking.




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TinTin scaring herself

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Nickel being a goof=ball









Fall colors are getting more intense


My only chore for the day was to stop at tombstone campground and see if they found my sunglasses.  Can yo believe someone did?  It does seem ironic though, that after so many days trying to see wildlife with my myopic vision, now that we’re headed back to civilization I can see.

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Quick stop at Two Moose Lake to see migratory water fowl.  Saw two Tundra SwansIMG_3489




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To Dawson City

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Dirt Road…. I’ll miss you!

I picked up hitch hiker who was headed for Dawson City.  She is a young artist who spent the last 4 months at the Tombstone Campground doing some type of teaching.  She made the trip (via hitch hiking) once every 2 weeks in order to do laundry and to get groceries.  Apparently Tombstone has had more rain this year than usual and her tent has been very damp throughout the summer.  I know the feeling of a damp tent and it isn’t pleasant.  On the other hands she’s seen a great deal of wildlife and she’s done a lot of hiking.  She said it would help her art.  It was nice to have some company for a short bit.  We only have about 20 miles to get to DC.

Rain begins to come down again and I get a better understanding why there are wooden ‘side walks’ in town.  It reminds me of pictures from the old west.31c


The library (where I can use the internet for an hour) has an elaborate ‘anti-mud’ system going….


Those black squares are boot jacks and brushes

Lo and behold!   A Royal Mounty!!


actually he’s just an actor for one of the tours in town


Chore Number ONE!…. Wash Foxy…..





OH that felt good!!!

 Days at an end and although I hadn’t planned to stay the night I decided it was a good opportunity to get some other chores done.  It’s a nicer environment than Whitehorse and I can do my laundry and some shopping.  we take a ferry to other side of river to a provincial campground.  Sadly the one hundred campsites are packed with people.  We’re now on the Alaskan Highway that brings people to more touristed areas.  Even this time of year it seems a very popular destination.  After a quick walk along the river we call it a day… I miss the Dempster already….


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



 ΓainΓainGo∀way ΓainΓainGo∀way ΓainΓainGo∀way ΓainΓainGo∀way


Very old caribou antler



Looking down the ridge that we’re following


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).


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.


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.


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.


ΓainΓainGo∀way ΓainΓainGo∀way ΓainΓainGo∀way ΓainΓainGo∀way

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


Antler Moss

Maybe this is a prehistoric mammoth skull!


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


 ΓainΓainGo∀way ΓainΓainGo∀way ΓainΓainGo∀way ΓainΓainGo∀way 

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


Some plant life



Cloud Berries


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.

 ΓainΓainGo∀way ΓainΓainGo∀way ΓainΓainGo∀way ΓainΓainGo∀way

 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


Eureka’s Lyle Lovett impression



ΓainΓainGo∀way ΓainΓainGo∀way ΓainΓainGo∀way ΓainΓainGo∀way


Let’s play find the poodle again…..




Nickel says More More


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

Day 13 NWT part 2

The view of the Richardson Mountains from a high pass was too vast to take in. Much like looking over a portion of the grand canyon. It was a bit surreal.




IMG_3054 IMG_3056


While we were parked at the pass, the mother and son who I’d met at Rock River Campground pulled up.  They had been through the tundra looking for antlers with no success and were now turning around to head home.  I had actually HOPE to see them because I wanted to give the boy the antler if he hadn’t found one.  I offered it to him saying that he couldn’t go home without one.  He was very excited but in a Boy kinda a way he asked me, “But did you find one with a skull attached?”  I laughed and said, “No,  this would have to do.”


The constantly changing terrain on the Dempster never disappoints. We quickly found ourselves out of tundra and back into the boreal forests…. We’d moved into the low plains of the Mackenzie River Delta and Peel River Plateau.  Here we will do our second river crossing by ferry. IMG_3084 IMG_3085 IMG_3088 Of course this far north there are no large bridges.   Water passages are done on ferry in the summer and directly onto the frozen river in the winter. The ferries for the two rivers I would cross to reach Inuvik ran 8:30am to 12:30am without any particular schedule… simply, when you arrived it took you across. At first it seemed like an over extremely liberal schedule until I realized that the sun doesn’t even set mid summer and people are up and about until the wee hours of the night .


I decided to say at another Territorial Campground. My first in the North West Territories. I almost thought the ranger made a mistake when he told me it was $29.00 per night (I paid 12.00 in BC and Yukon) I was in for a surprise at the cost of Everything north of the Arctic circle!!

I found a nice camping spot (which wasn’t hard since we were the only people there) and headed back to the ranger station to pay.   Of course Nickel had to take my wallet and Eureka had to have her Binky.  I left TinTin in the Truck because she was limping a little from the days workout.

Eureka brings her Binky….. or is Binky bringing Eureka?

Eureka vs Binky


On the way back a raven followed us.  It was quite bold but it was definitely having a conversation with Nickel.  Nickel usually doesn’t pay much attention to birds but this one was saying something.  It followed (or lead at some periods) us all the way back to our campsite.  At that point it simply continued on.  Nickel was perplexed.


Finally night dusk Happened




11 pm



 June has the longest days of the year… some days the sun never sets

In August the days are getting shorter