As a boy, I dreamed of living in a cabin in Canada’s north, snowshoeing in winter, canoeing in summer, prospecting, and hunting. The Yukon called to me.
My friends and I built a treehouse in the woods near our homes in Kitchener, Ontario. It wasn’t much of a treehouse, hammered together with a rock using scraps of wood and bent nails from a local construction site.
It was a symbol of our freedom.
We ran through the woods with our homemade spears and slingshots, imagining we were hunting caribou near Dawson City. We were prospectors, our pockets filled with stones that we said were gold nuggets, stuffed with peanut butter sandwiches that we said were pieces of smoked caribou meat.
And now, I’m here in Whitehorse, standing by the mighty Yukon River, so important to the human history of this place, and peaceful in the morning air. It took me 45 years to get here from those early childhood adventure fantasies. I no longer have a vision of running among the trees with primitive weapons. Or prospecting for gold. Or hunting caribou.
Yet the Yukon wilderness calls to me still. The wind through the trees whispers my name, promising something. Adventure perhaps. Or solitude. Or something else.
I accept the invitation, throw my pack over my shoulder, and walk into the woods.