September 29, 2023

CRITICAL: A Canadian Forces Vet’s Open Letter of Personal Appeal to the Honorable Harjit Singh Sajjan, P.C., M.P.

CRITICAL: A Canadian Forces Vet’s Open Letter of Personal Appeal to the Honorable Harjit Singh Sajjan, P.C., M.P.

Dear Minister Sajjan:

My name is M. Kenneth (Ken) Matthies, CD, 1CRPG Cdn Rgr (Ret’d) from 14 years of service in the Carcross Ranger Patrol, a 69 year old senior citizen resident in Carcross Yukon, and I am writing a most critical personal appeal to you as both the Veteran you are and in your capacity as our Minister of National Defence.

I am a first generation Canadian born son of immigrants who came to Canada to find a better life and help build the fabric of our nation, a task they willingly took on and succeeded in. You too, I gather, are an immigrant to Canada – and from your public record it is clear that you also willingly took up the mantle of becoming Canadian and standing up for her values and culture. I honor you for that, sir!

I am also a proud Veteran and lifetime Canadian Patriot who is becoming deeply concerned about the dangerous direction our nation is headed – a direction that left unchecked and unopposed will unquestionably lead to the utter cultural, moral, and national destruction of the country you and I have both proudly stood in uniformed defense of. As the military Veteran and Canadian Patriot that I know you are by virtue of your service to our nation, I am requesting that you give the thoughts and perspectives addressed in this letter your most personal and thoughtful consideration – firstly as a Vet and Patriot – and secondly as the political Liberal Minister that you are.

Let’s be right up front about this. My subject is Muslim immigrants to Canada, their religious/cultural inability and outright refusal to adapt to Canadian culture/values, and the attitudes and impending moves within your Liberal government to support private members Motions which will inevitably lead not only to the muzzling of our freedoms of speech but also to the hateful practice of introducing Muslim Sharia Law into our society and culture. I speak specifically about Motion M-103 and its veiled intents and future threats to our freedoms as citizens.

The Honorable Harjit Singh Sajjan, P.C., M.P.

You know this in your heart, I know this in mine, and an increasing number of Canadians are also waking up to the dangerous precipice such actions as M-103 and our government’s current Islamic policies will lead to in our country. We already have a time tested and proven Canadian system of law in place, and Muslim immigrants must not under any circumstances of life be allowed to demand the implementation of Sharia Law in any form whatsoever into our national fabric – nor must the politically motivated actions of your Liberal government leadership be allowed to force us as Canadians to accept such practices or to muzzle and criminalize us as citizens for speaking out against the dangers of the Islamic religion and culture, or its practices, demands, or criminal acts anywhere within our national boundaries!

All other ethnicity’s that have migrated to Canada over the centuries of its existence – yours and mine included – have integrated themselves into our land and its culture and served its needs. The one single ethnicity which does not allow such integration by virtue of its religious belief system – despite all globalist leftist oriented and mainstream media fake propaganda to the contrary – are the Muslim peoples themselves. You need only look at any of a host of European nations currently inundated and being torn apart in their national fabric and identity by Muslim immigrants to see the truth of my statement about them. Sweden for example already appears to be lost to them. What you are seeing happening in Europe is simply another form of Muslim Jihad carried out by virtue of mass immigration which floods and eventually obliterates national cultures, identities, and indeed the countries themselves. We are all witnessing this Jihad occurring in real time within those jurisdictions, and now, because of current Liberal government immigration and pandering policies we are in very real and critical danger of the same Muslim Jihad occurring here in Canada.

By any sane measurement of intent, all such or indeed any forms of Jihad currently being undertaken by Muslim peoples within our own nation constitutes nothing less than an overt Act of War!

So you sir – in your official capacity as our Minister of National (and War) Defence – must stand at the forefront of our opposition as Canadian Patriot citizens and/or Veterans to any such actions concerning the implementation of any form of Muslim-pandering Sharia Law ever being undertaken let alone allowed to operate within our nation! You swore an Oath to our country – and quite frankly, if you are to continue to live up to that Oath, you have no choice but to stand up in brutally plain opposition alongside myself and others like me who will not stand silent and allow our country to become known as Canadastan!

Allow me to continue to speak openly and frankly here with you as Vet’s one to another. Given your government’s current Muslim immigration policies and the Prime Minister’s blatant and outright political pandering to every Muslim he can get close to in meekly welcoming such a lethal enemy into our national home, is that what you to are prepared to accept seeing happen here in Canada? Given your record of service to and love of our nation I find it hard to believe that you would countenance such a thing being allowed to take place here – political career be damned – especially when weighed in the balance between our right to keep our Canadian culture, identity, and freedoms – as opposed to becoming overrun and subject to the Islamification and eventual rule of Sharia Law in Canada leading to the loss of our nation because of blind, stupid and critically dangerous political leaders or their actions!

And hear me when I utter these words as a Veteran and Canadian, sir – given the known and provable truths of what I’ve described above, such continuing actions by our Prime Minister or anyone in his Cabinet who knowingly engages in aiding and abetting such end results leading to the destruction of our country and its unique national identity by Muslim peoples and their religious ideology is committing an outright act of Treason to our nation. And I don’t have to spell out for you what in good conscience the penalty for Treason needs to be.

These are powerful sentiments which I’ve expressed here sir and they’re intended to be, in order to speak plainly to the heart of not only your own patriotism but also to the responsibilities of your official Ministerial position. These sentiments live not only within the fabric of my Patriot’s heart but are rooted with equal depth and strength within the fabric of our very national identity, and as a former soldier you know this to be true.

I urge you with every fiber of my Patriot’s heart to stand up and say an unequivocal “NO!” to not only M-103, but also to every other measure currently being undertaken or being considered to be undertaken which will in any way shape or form aid and abet further Muslim immigration or ideology from taking the kind of fatal root here in Canada like it already has in those currently endangered or already destroyed European nations!

Canada can make an effective difference in the lives of those Muslim peoples if it wishes to help them – but only by providing aid and encouragement to them to remain within their own nations,
but nevermore under any circumstances invite them to Canada! They are not compatible now and they never will be!

Thank you for your reading and thoughtful consideration and actions undertaken as a result of this letter – and your personal response is of course welcome. You know I’m right to have written it.


M. Kenneth (Ken) Matthies, CD
1CRPG Cdn Rgr (Ret’d)
Carcross Yukon

cc: Larry Bagnell, MP Yukon

Fiery Sunset Lights a Yukon Midsummer Night Skyline

A fiery sunset lights a Yukon midsummer night skyline in the photo montage accompanying today’s post.

The brilliance of a fiery sunset lights a Yukon midsummer night skyline in blazing colors.

With the myriad fall colors gaining daily brilliance in our deciduous growth and early snows beginning to cap our mountain ranges in blinding white caps, it seems an appropriate moment to take a step back in time to remember and remark upon a Yukon midsummer’s nighttime skyline.

These photos were of course shot from my mountain retreat cabin up at the fire tower I’ve inhabited every summer these past five years, and as you can see it was worth stepping outdoors in the gathering darkness of the land below to capture the brilliant light liming our northwestern skyline.

Contrasts at play in both land and sky.

This is after all the Land of the Midnight Sun, and no finer depiction of our midnight sun’s sunset effects is to be found anywhere other than that captured from a mountaintop in moments like these.

A midsummer night’s northwest view of a sunset overlooking Marsh Lake, Yukon.

I readily admit that my little digital camera is no match for the true brilliance of colors I witnessed in the sky that night, but I offer its limited depictions to you nonetheless in hopes of inspiring you with the brilliant sunset vistas of our unparallelled Yukon land.

So feel free to take a moment or two to fully enjoy yourself as a fiery sunset lights a Yukon midsummer night skyline in brilliant shades and hues of splendor.

X-Factor contestant Christopher Maloney’s stunning version of Bette Midler’s song ‘The Rose’

X-Factor contestant Christopher Maloney sings ‘The Rose’

Britain’s X-Factor contestant Christopher Maloney’s stunning version of Bette Midler’s song, The Rose, brought the audience to it’s feet in a standing ovation and massive roaring tribute to the 34 year old singer’s incredible voice, and to his emotionally powerful and perfectly pitched delivery of this classically descriptive song about love.

As I’ve noted before in these posts where I’ve presented musical interludes for your enjoyment, there are few songs or artists singing them which truly grab me by the heart and cause me to play and replay them endlessly. But this particular singer and his version of such a beautiful song is another special one that’s managed to achieve this rare status.

I quite simply can’t stop listening to it’s beauty, meaning and powerful delivery over and over and over again day after day…and each time still find my heart continuing to swell with the emotions evoked by it.

With a personal story background that in itself touches the heart openly and honestly, British singer Christopher Maloney arrived at the audition in the company of family members and the one person who had consistently believed in and encouraged the talent within him – his 76 year old grandmother, whom he had moved in with to take care of following his grandfather’s death.

His self confidence severely shaken by people’s ongoing discouragement of his singing ability, Christopher’s key reason for wanting to sing in audition was based both on the love for his grandmother who continued to believe in and encourage him, and the love of his grandfather at who’s funeral this beautiful song had been played in tribute to the man’s life.

Despite an overwhelming nervousness that had him shaking and rendered nearly speechless when he first walked onstage, judge Tulisa Contostavlos’s encouragement and questions helped him find the calm at the center of both his heart and his talent in preparation for singing.

You’ll have to see and listen for yourself to what resulted…and don’t be surprised if it amazes you and moves you to tears as it’s done so many times to me already too.

And be sure to watch this video in its entirety. You’ll be touched by his struggle to gain control and by his visible emotions after singing, and delighted when you see him bring his grandmother onstage following his performance to see their evident love for each other and the shining pride she shows in her grandson’s achievement. When you hear the judge’s comments concerning his talent and performance, and the crowd’s reaction to those comments following her arrival onstage, you’ll fully understand the magnitude of what he’s accomplished.

The joyously happy and deeply heartfelt loving hug which grandmother and grandson share at the end of the video will make you smile in joy right along with them.

Very few male vocalists have even attempted to sing this particular song, and I think you’ll agree that Christoper’s version may well be one of the most powerful renditions of it ever sung with such passion, and with such a genuinely deep expression of the love which inspired it’s singing in this audition.

X-Factor contestant Christopher Maloney’s stunning version of Bette Midler’s song The Rose has already propelled him near to the top of the list of potential winners, and I find myself hoping with all my heart that he does win, because I think he truly deserves to for the sake of the great love shown in its singing.



“Half a Lifetime” spent together sparks Celebratory Anniversary Trip

“Half a Lifetime” spent together sparks celebratory anniversary trip is the happy subject of my post today.

Dawson City, Yukon – home of the infamous Klondike Gold Rush of 1898

All of our lives are filled with memorable occasions to one degree or another, and my wife and I are no exception to that rule. This year marked a most auspicious occasion for my wife in particular in that it heralded the arrival of twenty-six years spent in the arms of our loving relationship together as husband and wife – quite literally one half of her entire lifetime!

Given the fact that life holds no guarantees for any of us to survive the throes of modern day relationships from even one day to the next, twenty six years together is a real accomplishment which actually deserves some recognition. That the arrival of this twenty sixth year should also mark a period of half of one partner’s lifetime only added to the sweetness of the occasion, so we decided to celebrate in our own unique northern fashion by taking a welcome holiday together in our own geographical “back yard”.

Tossing a couple of suitcases and our girl dog Seew into the car (well okay, we didn’t really toss Seew in – she came along quite voluntarily believe me, because there’s no way on earth she’d let us leave without her), we pointed our vehicle north and headed for Dawson City, Yukon and points beyond.

Having booked a room in advance with a friend and former client from my travel guide ad-selling days at the Bonanza Gold Motel in Dawson City, we arrived on a Thursday evening to encounter a wonderful and delightful surprise from my friend and business owner, Gail Henley. Upon discovering it was our anniversary weekend she promptly moved us from a perfectly good standard room, right up into one of their deluxe jacuzzi suites without any change in rate. What a grand gal she is, let me tell you, and one whose heart truly lives up to the name of her business “Bonanza Gold” – her heart is made up of 100 percent pure Gold and she shared some of that gold with us by her act of kind thoughtfulness and consideration in helping us celebrate our anniversary!

The Bonanza Gold Motel in Dawson City, Yukon where we were treated to such wonderful hospitality and goodness.

Although I had traveled to Dawson City many times in previous years for business purposes, this trip marked the first time my wife and I had come here together for the simple pleasure of reveling in each others company and enjoying the treats the town offered to us as local tourists. We took full advantage of those opportunities too – whether in finding unique places to eat our meals, stores to buy ‘neat stuff’ in, or locations and venues to go to for the sheer enjoyment of the experience.

Leaving all our local purchases and most of our unnecessary belongings in our room to avoid Custom’s complications, we even took an overnight trip across the U.S. border into Alaska over the Top of the World Highway into the gold mining town of Chicken, AK.

With only 17+ year round residents Chicken is an isolated northern Alaska community without electricity or central plumbing. Generators and outhouses are pretty much all you’ll find to take care of those often taken for granted requirements, but as northerners ourselves this posed zero hardship to us.

Three of the four Main Street businesses of Chicken, Alaska.

Famous for its four “Main Street” businesses consisting of a mercantile store, liquor store, saloon and cafe in one long side-by-side building, Chicken has also become infamous for the popularity of the numerous stickers, magnets and T-shirts proclaiming the phrase “We Got Laid in Chicken, Alaska”. Naturally there’s also a picture of a chicken and an egg accompanying that phrase to lend a sense of legitimacy to the obvious humor of the words themselves. We managed to buy the last two T-shirts left in town along with a handful of stickers to hand out to victims already chosen in our minds.

Returning to Dawson City for one more day and night of fun and festivities, we wrapped up our anniversary trip five days from its inception and returned home depleted of funds but gloriously happy in heart and spirit for the time spent together in its celebration.

Seew too was happy to recognize home turf and climb back into her favorite sleeping chair in our living room, where she promptly heaved a huge sigh and drifted off into private dreams of memorable things done and new sniffs encountered on her own first trip of this length or magnitude.

“Half a Lifetime” spent together sparks celebratory anniversary trip was a superb mutual experience we’ll always remember for the joys experienced in the journey taken together to mark those twenty six years.

Tagish Tower Watch Dog is issued her personal Uniform for the 2012 Fire Watch Season

True to form, Seew presents her backside to the camera to give you a fine view of her new “Watch Dog” uniform.

Our intrepid girl dog Seew is at it again, but this time in a new role as ‘Tagish Tower Watch Dog is issued her personal uniform for the 2012 fire watch season’.

As we all well know, dog lovers can usually be counted on to go to certain extremes when it comes to finding creative ways to “dress up” their favorite canine buddies and pals.

My trusty and observant wife needs to be given full credit for what you’re seeing and reading about on today’s post. She’s the observant one who first noticed how diligently our dog Seew would help me “watch and look” out the window or outside at the horizon for suspicious smokes appearing against the background scenery.

She’s also the one who came across the rain cape that she thought would make an excellent “uniform” for Seew to wear during our 2012 fire watch season together up on the mountain – the better to keep her dry in the rains as well as to be used to entertain the numerous visitors we get up there every year.

It was quite blank when she bought it, but a judicious application of letters from a stencil using a black permanent marker pen soon transformed it into the highly visible and entertaining “uniform” you see in the photos accompanying this post.

Seew as usual manages to present her backside as well as a nice profile shot in her new get up, depending on her particular mood in the moment of the camera’s eye capturing her but that’s pretty much the norm for her anyways, girl dog that she is.

Looking, living and decked out in her new role as the ‘Tagish Tower Watch Dog’.

So here you go – enjoy your look at the already infamous Seew in her new role as ‘Tagish Tower Watch Dog is issued her personal uniform for the 2012 fire watch season’.

Leaky Stovepipe in the Cabin was the visible Culprit of periodic Minor Floods on the Floor

The rusted out and corroded lower section of stovepipe – and the coffee can that didn’t always work to catch those damn drips!

A leaky stovepipe in the cabin was the visible culprit of periodic minor floods on the floor this season…and last season…and even the season before that.

Until being present and accounted for onsite for a change during the frequent rains which washed over my mountaintop this year to witness it actually occurring, it seemed I was always absent on days off for the previous inundations of water which greeted me upon my return in previous seasons.

Don’t get me wrong here – it wasn’t that I didn’t get it figured out quick as to source. I spotted the origin of the leak the first time I had to clean up the mess three years ago, but the fixing of it never seemed to get shoved high enough up the maintenance priority list for it to actually happen.

Even an empty coffee can strategically placed beneath the drip sites didn’t always catch them all – witness the picture of it for yourself – so the air would invariably turn a couple of extra shades of blue for a bit as I went through the cleanup process – again!

Until this year, that is. It seems my current more urgently worded “request” finally reached the right ears.

When the maintenance fellas showed up this year to kick-start my water system they’d also brought along a new piece of pipe to replace the old rusty corroded section at the back of the wood stove. This one actually was correctly sized too and now forms the right kind of seal between the stove and stovepipe, leading to less likelihood of CO2 leaks.

While the stovepipe was the conduit for the water to flood the floor, and that section of rusty pipe definitely did need replacing, it wasn’t the actual source of the leak itself. The credit for that belonged to a faulty roof flashing surrounding the stovepipe up on the roof. Generous portions of sealant applied to the flashing quickly corrected the root cause, and subsequent rains have already proven the job was well done.

No more floor floods. No more annoying Chinese water torture drips into the coffee can either.

Peace and tranquility reigns once more. That’s the kind of reigns I like best – not that other stuff spelled r-a-i-n-s which resulted in those periodic floods.

Actually, now that the fix is in those other rains can come along and drench the place all they want.

A leaky stovepipe in the cabin was the visible culprit of periodic minor floods on the floor for a few years, but it’s finally fixed.

Tower Safety Systems have become a New Priority under Occupational Health & Safety rules

The new heavy-duty climbing harness I’m required to wear if climbing up or down the fire tower now.

Tower safety systems have become a new priority under Occupational Health & Safety rules this year, and that’s seriously affected my climb-time ratios and state of mind whenever I ascend or descend my summer fire tower nowadays.

I’ve included a couple of photos in this post to help you picture what I’m about to describe to you.

The long and the short of it is that what used to take a mere two or three minutes to accomplish before on a hoop-lined naked steel ladder, now takes a minimum of 12-15 minutes to be able to achieve the same end results.

That’s because of the involved rigamarole associated with first correctly climbing into and hooking up the heavy safety harness you see in one of these photos, strapping and securing the pack containing necessary gear on my back over top of it, hooking onto the steel cable safety line shown in the other picture, and then laboriously negotiating through the metal hoops lining the length of the ladder without getting hung up on them because of the pack on my back, while simultaneously dragging my attached safety line up that same steel cable now running the full length of the ladder.

New steel cable safety wire-guide system fitted into center of fire tower ladder.

Mind you I’m not really complaining – well okay maybe I am coming across just a little grumpy about it – but I do also understand that safety concerns hold the trump card when it comes to ensuring I don’t manage to find an accidental way to fall off the 50 foot ladder that leads up to the observation cupola at the top.

(Maybe they knew I was turning 65 years of age this season and decided they wanted to ensure I’d still have a means of climbing up to the tower regardless of how creaky I get with advancing age?)

Whatever their actual reasoning, since I’ve now admitted to my grumpiness about this procedure, you should try coming along for the adventure associated with trying to DE-scend that same ladder with a pack on your back! That one can easily turn into a ten minute or longer Odyssey all on its own simply because of those steel hoops that forever keep snagging the pack on your back! That’s pretty much guaranteed to happen since you can no longer suck your gut in far enough to avoid them because the new steel cable-guide system has stolen your belly-negotiating room from you!

Generally speaking there’s now a distinct aura of the color deep-dark-blue in the air associated with such ascents or descents, as I find myself tending to begin swearing a few shades of that lovely color every time it happens – and it’s pretty much guaranteed to happen at every steel hoop I encounter all the way up or down.

See – even those of us living and working in the bush on a remote mountaintop can find ways to get grumpy about stuff – especially if change happens when we’re already old and just naturally getting older and grumpier all the time anyway – **Grins!**

I just love having a forum like this to share these crazy changes and minor misadventures in with all of you!

All in all, regardless of them or of the color of the air that occasionally surrounds me nowadays, I still wouldn’t trade my job for any other in the world that you might try to tempt me with. The pluses still outweigh the minuses by a scale of measure so huge it hasn’t even been invented yet – and all you’d ever have to do to confirm that assessment is to someday make a minor side trip up my mountain – there to see it for yourself and able to take in the astonishing views I’m privileged to live with every single day of my summer season up there!

So regardless if tower safety systems have become a new priority under occupational health & safety rules or not, you’ll still know where to find me each and every future season I’m granted the health to hook up to that new-fangled harness and drag my colorful way up or down that danged wire!

“Old Fart Air” successfully Launched to fly the Skies of Tomorrow

“Old Fart Air” successfully launched to fly the skies of tomorrow last Friday when I finally arrived at ‘Gate 65’ courtesy of having lived long enough to celebrate the grand occasion.

My “Old Fart Air” birthday cake makes it official!

As the saying goes, “the proof is in the pudding” – or in this case – in the entirely cute “Old Fart Air” cake you see in these pictures that arrived along with my wife in a surprise visit to my mountain cabin, where I was hard at work on my birthday looking for unauthorized or unwelcome smokes from my summer fire lookout site.

If we’d actually placed and lit all the candles I was eligible for that day, I’d have probably been required to call in the water bombers to douse my own cabin because of the huge clouds of black smoke doing so would likely have sent curling out the windows. As it was, the mere six that were lit to mark the day were almost enough to make the fire alarm chirp on the ceiling, so it’s probably just as well the other fifty-nine were left out of the equation.

The “six-flame fire in the sky-cabin” shot of me happily contemplating becoming an official Old Fart.

Created and decorated at my wife’s request by family member Anne Marie Smith in an approximation of an aircraft shape, I laughed with delight when I saw it because the moniker placed upon its surface perfectly identified what I’ve been looking forward to calling myself in a post age-65 world – and this cake helped make it official that I finally was one!

I’ve always believed that age is a relative factor in my life anyways, and have since age 60 delighted in keeping the humor levels high whenever the subject of age came up. Like I usually tell most folks who ask, ‘I still refuse to act my age, so the numbers really don’t matter anyways’. You’re only as old as you feel, and I’m blessed to say that I still don’t feel the officially venerable old age of 65.

A good example of the kind of humor I like to see where age is concerned happened five years ago after my 60th birthday, when one of my brothers had called to ask my wife to pass on his birthday greetings for me. In the course of their conversation he’d asked her “So how’s it feel to know you’re sleeping with a senior citizen now?” She told me the question left her momentarily speechless before the laughter of its truth began to bubble out of her to accompany my brother’s chuckles.

Now that Old Fart Air has successfully launched to fly the skies of tomorrow I know I’m going to have a great time with word plays on the subject – and the way I look at the age factor – that’s the way it should be!

Part V: Hitch-hiking the twisty old gravel Alaska Highway of the early 1970’s – a Five-Part Series

An old original section of the Alaska Highway

Hitch-hiking the twisty old gravel Alaska Highway of the early 1970’s had resulted in being witness to someone else’s broken and shattered dreams.

Sitting comfortably in the back seat surveying this new Kingdom of my Heart that I’d finally arrived in, I was the only happy one in the vehicle. And all I could say to them after all the miles of argument about it was a quiet comment of “I tried to tell you guys, but you wouldn’t listen. Well here you are – this is the reality. Deal with it.”

Dealing with reality in this form hadn’t found a life yet though in their lexicon of human understanding, and with their visions of grandeur shattered and burned to black ash in their hearts these boys just couldn’t come to grips with what they’d discovered Whitehorse to still be like in 1971.

Bitter, angry, disillusioned and swearing with frustration the boys decided to take a motel room for the night and invited me to join them in it. I gratefully accepted because I had few enough dollars in my pocket to spare as it was, and had been fully prepared to find a tree to sleep under for the night. All those boys took into the room with them for the night was their toothpaste and toothbrushes, because it appeared their decision had already been made about their stay in Whitehorse.

I woke in the morning to find them dressed and already brushing their teeth, anxious to make tracks. Another invitation to join them for some breakfast was again gratefully accepted and we left the room to find a nearby café to have it together.

And that was that as far as these boys were concerned – after breakfast they were heading right back down that same dusty Alaska Highway to go home to Victoria and get a ‘real life’ as they described it to me.

I just smiled quietly at their comments and thanked them for the ride that got me there, before they ducked out the door and practically ran back to their vehicle. They couldn’t wait to show their heels to Whitehorse and to everything it no longer represented to them. Their vehicle passed me by in a cloud of dust accompanying their final waves of farewell and faded quickly into the distance.

Personally I was glad they left, because they were in no way suited to either the lifestyle or the rigors of northern life as it still was back in those days. Scared out of their wits by the realities lying open before them, it’s undoubtedly a good thing their fears drove them back down the road and out of the sphere of northern living. I doubt they’d have survived long in it if they had tried to stay, because even the reality of the situation hadn’t kick-started any veins of common sense in them that could have helped them overcome their fears and preconceptions.

Like I said earlier, the North Land has its own way of dealing with these kinds of folks too – and to me it was already clear that such an action had been taken by it where these boys were concerned; and had by that action preserved itself from their kind who were so clearly unsuited to understand and live within its many-hued and rampant splendors.

I on the other hand was to discover the full range of those hues and splendors over the years to come. It’s a decision of travel I’ve never regretted and never will because of all the wonderful things I’ve learned and experienced in the Land of the Midnight Sun since my first arrival in a cloud of dust.

Hitch-hiking the twisty old gravel Alaska Highway of the early 1970’s had turned into one of the best decisions of my life.

Part IV: Hitch-hiking the twisty old gravel Alaska Highway of the early 1970’s – a Five-Part Series

A bridge being built along the old Alaska Highway

Hitch-hiking the twisty old gravel Alaska Highway of the early 1970’s gave you the chance to get to know the people you were traveling with, which was not necessarily something you would normally have chosen to do under other circumstances.

What turned out to be not quite so ideal about this trip though was the continuing argument we got into early on, and kept feuding about during a lot of our waking hours over the rest of the near eight hundred miles before finally reaching Whitehorse. Our arrival there at 5 pm on April 9, 1971 settled that argument but good – and I won it hands down despite never having been there before either!

You might remember my earlier reference to a clear lack of common sense in other areas regarding these boys? They showed that lack big time when it came to their cast-in-stone preconceptions of what Whitehorse would be like as a city. They were absolutely certain it would be just another version of Victoria BC where they’d come from, complete with clean paved streets, traffic lights on every intersection, and all of the amenities their clearly pampered lives had led them to believe must exist there.

I hadn’t been there before either, but large doses of ordinary plain common sense alone told me this grungy gravel road wasn’t going to lead us to no big city lights and broad paved avenues of asphalt – never mind to any too many of the other amenities they were clearly fixated on expecting to find in abundance there.

It was a wryly interesting and confirming experience for me to witness their successive and increasing disappointment as each little town we passed through failed to exhibit the slightest inclination to use pavement, even for the dusty rock-strewn sections leading through the heart of those communities. To me it was a clear harbinger of what was yet to come, but these boys just couldn’t bring themselves to believe Whitehorse could be anything but what their expectations had convinced them must exist there.

Today Whitehorse Yukon Territory is a bustling hub and capital city of the Yukon, with all of the infrastructure, paved roads and amenities those boys were expecting – but not yet anywhere near such a state on that late April afternoon in 1971.

Weary, road battered and anxious but still filled with their golden expectations, the brother who finally turned that dusty station wagon off the Alaska Highway to drive down the South Access hill was clearly disappointed to discover it was still just another gravel trail. As we followed its wending course down into the valley and along the famous Yukon River of Gold Rush fame, all that could be seen over the scanty buildings of Whitehorse was a faint pall of dust hanging in the air.

The increasingly bitter disbelief evident on their faces soon matched the bitter oaths beginning to stream from their mouths the closer we got to what appeared to be a downtown area.

As we drove slowly up and down the two dozen or so streets of the town they discovered to their final chagrin that there was only one short strip of pavement in the whole town, located along a two-block stretch of Main Street – and that there was only one single traffic light in the whole place too, located strategically at the intersection of Main Street and Second Avenue, the other seeming main thoroughfare through the place.

Hitch-hiking the twisty old gravel Alaska Highway of the early 1970’s had finally landed me in Whitehorse Yukon Territory.