Quote of the day

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Yukon's Winter Wonderland

Its such a joyful time of the year! Yet another reason to commemorate the purpose of my Savior's visit. Plus, even people who don't believe in Christ or Christmas seem to be just generally happy and celebrating during this time of the year. As we move towards the winter solstice, the approaching of the long "dark" days (for those living above 40ÂșN), its such a pleasure to see the streets lit up in colorful lights, the sparkly decorations on the evergreen trees and listen to the Christmas carols playing in radio stations. All in all a season of nostalgia!

Brings back fond memories of my childhood days where I would spend the Christmas and New Year(which was also my grand father's birthday) at my grandparents', on mom's side. The family dinners everyone worked to put together, which always ran late, but came out as much anticipated and delicious. I didn't have much share on the dinner preps, but to put together a manger scene with my brother or cousin, some lights, a paper star, and sometimes decorate the tree nearby. Evergreen coniferous were rare in southern part of India where I grew up, not even any noticeably long cold nights; so the thought of Christmas trees and arrival of "winter" was a bit different. But it was still a season of lights, cooler weather, yummy food, homemade wine, no school and much joy!

As Bobby & I began to gear up for this season in late 2011, I found it interesting how most people flock towards the warmest parts of the continent like Florida & the Caribbean. But my heart was set upon some place different. Somewhere I could feel the intensity of Winter, what the season is meant to bring. And I started searching the map for how far up north we could go, and if it had anything that interested us. Which led us to Whitehorse, a small town in Yukon Territory in Northern Canada. Its actually the largest town you would find in the entire Yukon province (with a population of 30,000)! A perfect place to experience the long dark winter nights, and the life below zero. As an added bonus, the Aurora Borealis band regularly went over this part of the country. Since it was our first visit to such a low populated town that stayed frozen most of winter, we decided to do some guided tours - such as snow shoeing in Kluane national park, snow mobiling, dog sledding and ice fishing. While searching for places to stay outside the town we also had to make sure they had running water in bathroom and flushable toilets, as the primitive types are more common.

We arrived at Whitehorse on Dec 24th after a long flight, only to find out our rental car company, Budget was closed on Christmas Eve & Day, in spite of a confirmed reservation we had. Perhaps not many people rent cars at this part of the world. I was also expecting to see some Christmas busy-ness on the streets instead was welcomed by a quiet, empty town. We took a cab to get to our cabin at Sundog Retreat the next day, and was prepared to be content with protein bar Christmas dinner. But our kind hosts at the cabin found out about our low estate and shared the Christmas dinner they had prepared with us. 

Although it wasn't the Christmasy town I imagined, I so loved being there, taking in as much of pristine nature as I could, the powder snow, long starry nights, magical northern lights and the fresh crisp air..