Posted by: Silver | August 15, 2010

Pelly Crossing to Lake Laberge

Having apparently managed to entertain so many of you with my erudite insights into the world of plant pollination, I had hoped to continue in a similar vein with my latest tales of cycling adventure, but unfortunately, just at the moment, the humorous side of cycling for ten hours uphill into a headwind – for two days running – is still escaping me 😦 OK, so I knew I was cycling the Klondike Highway in the wrong direction (north-to-south), but that was just the way my volunteering placements fell, and I was sure it wouldn’t be that bad.


By the end of the first day, which coincidentally was also the furthest I’ve ever cycled in a day (just under 120km), I was finally able to confirm first-hand that headwinds can indeed reduce even happy, positive people to tears. The 8 km long, unrelentingly 4% uphill slog that hit me when I’d already battled my way through 80 km of smaller hills, and the 9 km detour that I ended up taking after somebody very confidently gave me completely the wrong directions to my bed & breakfast in Carmacks probably didn’t help either, but whatever the cause, by the time I finally peeled myself off Ranger – at about 10.30pm – I was definitely in no fit state for very much at all.

Except, of course, for getting up and doing the exact same thing all over again the very next day. Only the second day, it was windier. In view of the way the first day’s cycling had turned out, I’d alerted the people I was staying with on the second night (my lovely hosts on the goat farm) that they might want to send out the search parties if I hadn’t arrived by bedtime. Suffice it to say that these were indeed dispatched, and when I was finally located, I was still only 100 km into the 140 km journey, pedalling at no more than walking pace due to the gradient, and sobbing lifelessly with every new gust of wind that hit me. But at least I was still pedalling. The thought of just giving up completely and sitting on the roadside awaiting rescue had admittedly crossed my mind at least once… every minute… but in the end I obviously managed to find something from somewhere to keep me going until help arrived, and it never really rained on me (despite very wet roads evincing several downpours just ahead of me), so maybe it wasn’t so bad after all…

Oh, but of course, then there were the wasps…

For such a sparsely populated territory, the Yukon is actually quite well provisioned with roadside outhouses (yes, there is a link to the wasps here – stay with me…): they are generally pretty clean, not too pongy and come well supplied with toilet paper. And in addition, the outhouse around kilometre 300 on the Klondike also comes supplied with an underground wasps’ nest outside the door. Which is where I parked Ranger. Now, if you ever want to see a girl literally crying with fear, just put her completely alone in the middle of nowhere, then surround her only means of escape with several dozen things to which she is allergic; this would also be an interesting exercise for anyone who thinks I’m too lady-like to swear… Eventually though, I did manage to edge Ranger far enough away from the epicentre of waspdom to reduce their interest a little, and at least my subsequent escape did prove to me that – for all my complaints about how hassly it is getting on and off the trike with the fairing in place – I can actually do it really fast, sometimes.

You see, it wasn't all bad: at least there was lots of lovely sunny scenery to keep me company

My favourite road sign: unfortunately, there were far too few of them on this stretch of my journey...



  1. OH Silver I feel for you! Wasps AND headwind! Boo!

    Hopeing for ltos of downhill an beautiful scenery from now on x

  2. Surely, there MUST be lots of downhill next for you – can’t keep on upwards for ever. Well done for getting through all that.

    I misread the bit about the wasps first off – missed the closing bracket – conjured up this image of pretty clean, un-pongy wasps well supplied with toilet paper…

  3. Really wonderful to read that you are meeting your challenges head on and with increasing confidence and appropriate profanity where required. Femininity is never diminished by a well earned cuss. Cheers and happy peddling!

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