Squirrel pups, mountains and…curling!

The new season has begun and squirreling is well under way! The new crew has become fully integrated into the wonderful and unique world that is squirrel camp. Snow is still piled high and we dare not risk trudging through the fresh snow without our snowshoes or else risk disappearing into a tree well up to our hips. The chilly weather and high levels of snow have made for a slightly slower start to the season, but squirrel activity is starting to pick up and already we have had the pleasure of going to two squirrel nests to successfully find pups! This week the icicles are starting to drip and before we know it we will madly be clambering from tree to tree trying to keep track of the newest members inhabiting the grids.

Morning sun glistening off Sulphur Lake

This Sunday the squirrelers partook in a curling bonspiel family fun day in Haines Junction. What better classic Canadian thing to do than to go curling in the Yukon!  To take full advantage of the beautiful day off, we woke up early to explore the nearby Sulphur lake and went on a speed hike on the Dezadeash trail in Haines Junction.

After fulfilling our daily dose of fresh air and mountain views, we took to the curling-converted hockey rink in town. Hoping to rely heavily on the one curler in our crew (varsity curler from U of G!), we took to the ice in our finest curling cloths (aka. tuck taped jackets, Carhartt overalls and hiking boots). After a few slips, tumbles and splits, the crew slowly got the hang of lunging across the ice pushing a 45lb rock.

Squirrel crew waiting in anticipation for their turn to slide down the ice.

Getting some practice in before the start of the game!

Taking a lunch break before things got serious, we scarfed down the free hotdogs (much to the great delight of the non-vegetarians at camp), and eyed the impressive curling trophy sitting on a nearby table. We were already eagerly planning where to display it in the cookshack should we win it. The curling game got started, and much to the delight of two Americans on our crew, they left the curling rink wearing 2 gold medals around their necks (let’s call it beginners luck 😉 ). The varsity curler on our crew came so close to drawing to “the button”, which would have gotten us the trophy. New goal for next year! Camp will be looking extra clean soon with the sweeping practice.  But she did win us some bacon and oranges due to her curling knowledge in the trivia quiz, which in many of the crew’s eyes is better than a trophy 🙂 We finished our day off some much desired showers, laundry and tasty pub food in Haines Junction. We headed back to camp with the sun setting over the beautiful Kluane Mountains, stomachs full and gold medals glistening.

Post by Brynlee Thomas (KRSP field coordinator, University of Alberta)

Beautiful mountain views from the Dezadeash Trail in Haines Junction.Brynlee Thomas