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May 22, 2019: Watson Lake, Yukon Territory

The Generic Road Trip

So many travel the Alcan each year. And because there are so few large towns in between, they all tend to have the same experiences and see the same things. The same is true for Pete and me. We think we’re the first to see a bear sow and her cub, a moose, a herd of bison, or mountain goats, but no, the hundreds of drivers that precede us in a given day (we are late risers) see the very same things.

What makes our trip somewhat less generic is that we are traveling with horses. True, others are doing the same, but we are all smaller in number than say, RVers.

This morning we got off to our usual 11 a.m. start, and even so, we’re quite proud of ourselves. We’d given our horses their morning rest, ate our breakfast, and had things well organized before we set off. Then, ten minutes later, we came to a grinding, construction project halt. There we sat, for an hour, behind a sign that said “Construction Ahead.” And because it was nearly mid-day, it was already warm. All I could think of was our ponies, sitting in their aluminum box. I likened it to their being in a toaster oven.

Watson Lake was 100 miles distant. We had thought we’d make it past there, to Liard Hot Springs, but the construction and our horsey interactions slowed us down some.

The horses kicking up some dust at the Watson Lake Arena

Hrimmi in the Watson Lake arena

We went into the Watson Lake Visitor’s Center when we got there, and thought we’d be out quickly. Turns out our interests and needs were somewhat unique. We needed to find a hay source, a place to spend the night, and (not so unusual) internet access. The first request and the second became one and the same as we finally ended up at the local boarding facility. Still, it took a while to get this confirmed and locate someone who’d give us an assist. The third request was easy for the staff to respond to – we went to the local library. It was a combination daycare center/library so it was really loud.

We connected with a fellow named Roy at the boarding facility. He turned out to have the horse gene. He provided us with hay (from a round bale) and said that we could put the horses in the arena, for which I was very grateful. And it did my spirit good as we talked with him for a long time about his horse Red, who before he acquired him, lived in a yard in town, minus a companion.

Roy recommended we eat at the Golden Nugget, a Chinese Restaurant and the food turned out to be surprisingly good. We then returned to the boarding stable and talked for a long time with two boarders who also had the gene. Turns out that one had a problematic Palomino – I ran my hands over him and deduced that he flinched when I petted him, meaning he might have a vertebrae out of alignment in his neck.

We’ve stayed at the old Watson Lake rodeo grounds before, so we had a basis for comparison. Roy and the other boarders noted that there is not the interest in horses that there was previously. It’s still an amazing facility, with numerous enclosures and a state of the art composting facility. I found myself imagining what it would be like to live in Watson Lake and board my horses there. Then I began thinking of what it would be like to own the facility. I would bring in clinicians from all over the world. I’d have a few boarders and again encourage community involvement. Build it and they will come.

Next: 141. 5/23/19 The meaning of life tour

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