Skiing in the Semi-Desert

In Canadian Tire we find a rack of thermometers and wonder at the number that also measure relative humidity. Why would anyone want one when they live in a shower stall. You wouldn’t find these dual meters in Juneau or Ketchikan. Then we look at one and find out how dry it is here in Whitehorse.

Just 100 miles from our Southeast rainforest, these people live in a semi-desert. It shows in the quality of their snow and the trees that line the Mt. MacInytyre Nordic ski trails. That’s one of the reasons we make this spring pilgrimage to Whitehorse. That and the chance to eat Indian food, shop at Canadian Tire, and explore Canadian fiction at Mac’s Fireweed Bookstore.

On Mount MacIntyre, groomed trails roll through lodge pole forests carpeted with snow crisscrossed by animal tracks. Most were left by large red squirrels but once or twice we passed lonely moose tracks. The uniformity of pines lead to day dreams that shatter when the trail drops into a knot of aspens. Even as dormant winter trees, the aspens’ black triangles on light gray bark add needed spice to this rigid green forest.

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