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It’s New Year’s Day, and so a good time to recall some highlights from 2016.
There was of course the Election From Hell, but the less said about that the better. I prefer to “Accentuate the Positive.” (Referring to the 1944 song with lyrics by Johnny Mercer, shown at left.) And seeing a “naked lady on the Yukon” certainly qualifies as one of those positive 2016 highlights…
Back in August my brother, nephew and I met up in the town of Whitehorse, in the Yukon Territory. From there we drove to Skagway, Alaska. And from there we hiked the Chilkoot Trail in four days. (The “meanest 33 miles in history.”)
And here’s a news flash: There’s a good reason why they call it the “meanest 33 miles in history.” Mostly it’s because “the Chilkoot” is not a trail at all, but just one big pile of rocks after another. But it was a man-against-nature venture, and fortunately the “manly men” won. (Though not without some bruises and blisters that lasted for weeks…)
After that my nephew had the good sense to head back east to begin classes at Penn State. However, my brother and I proceeded on to a twelve-day canoe trip “down” the Yukon River. We ended up in Dawson City, also in the Yukon Territory. But the most “poetic” part of the journey involved two days paddling on Lake Laberge, at right.
Most people know it better as “Lake Labarge,” thanks to the famous poem, “The Cremation of Sam McGee.” But that’s only because “Laberge” doesn’t rhyme with “marge,” meaning “shore” or “edge.” (As in “edge of a lake.” And further as in the poem’s narrator hauling McGee’s body to the “marge of Lake Lebarge.”)
I figured there was an object lesson there, somewhere…
All in all my brother and I spent five weeks driving up to the Yukon – from Utah – then doing the two “man against nature” adventures, and finally driving back home from the Yukon. But by far the more traumatic of the two was hiking the Chilkoot Trail. It was so traumatic that I had to do two blogposts on the subject: On the Chilkoot &^%$# Trail!, Parts 1 and Part 2.
One of the highlights hiking the trail came as we three were approaching the summit of the Chilkoot Pass. (My brother and nephew were way out in front. And at left is the good part.)
And what with my lack of depth perception – from having only one good eye – going over “one big pile of *&$% rocks after another” was like negotiating a minefield. I wore heavy hiking boots, but they felt like ballet slippers. Every step was sheer torture, and brought new pain to each aching foot.
So anyway, I had just taken one of many missteps – causing severe pain – and thus let loose a string of pungent epithets. Then I looked behind me and there – climbing behind me – was a sweet young lady hiker. Sheepishly I apologized, noting that I had “no depth perception.” But she went ahead and passed me. (And probably rolled her eyes in the process…) A short while later I had another misstep and loosed another string of epithets.
Again I looked behind me, and again there was a young couple, including another “sweet, innocent young thing.” So I said to myself, “Hey, I may be on to something here!”
You can see the full story at the “Naked lady” post, which brings up the strong current on the Yukon River. Generally it’s pretty fast, ranging from over four miles an hour up to seven miles an hour in some places. (Except on“Lake &^%$# Laberge,” where the paddling is very slow.)
That’s the kind of current that helps you paddle 440 miles in 12 days. But it also means that when you see something totally unexpected, by the time you recognize it, the current is already moving you downriver… Which meant that by the time I recognized the naked lady as a naked lady, the current was already pushing me farther down-river.
Which is enough – for now – about the naked lady on the Yukon.
Which brings up one of my other 2016 adventures, a return trip to the Okefenokee Swamp, as detailed in “There he goes again.” That post – from Monday, May 30 – looked ahead to the middle of the week. I actually put in 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning, June 1, and counted 39 gators in the first hour of paddling. (Then I stopped counting.) I never did do a post on that little adventure, which is something I need to do in the next week or so.
As for an excuse, I had “another stinkin’ funeral.” A close friend died unexpectedly the day before, but I didn’t find out about it until I was already in Valdosta.
Which makes this as good a place as any to end this particular post. Except to note that there were way too many “stinkin’ funerals” to go to in 2016. (As noted also in the December 19 post, A funeral and an NTE (Near-Ticket Experience).)
And to note that I didn’t see any naked ladies in the Okefenokee Swamp.
Just at lot of “alligator[s] mississippienses…”
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The upper image is courtesy of Sun tanning – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The caption: “A woman sun tanning on a Portuguese beach.” Further references are in the blog-posts cited in the text. And a BTW: Googling “election from hell 2016” got me some 154,000,000 results.