Strike Mission Back Into the Tombstones
September 10-11, 2022
I had just returned to Dawson City after a 12 day backpacking trip in the Tombstone Mountains, a remote mountain range just below the Arctic Circle in the Yukon, Canada. The trip was amazing but there was one spot I didn’t make it to that I wanted to go back for. As I was sitting in town eating ice cream and checking the weather forecasts, I saw that there would only be one more day before a weeklong storm, after which the mountains would be largely inaccessible until the following summer. I mostly just wanted to hang out in my car and eat more ice cream, but a weather window is a weather window. So I drove back up the Dempster Highway and started hiking the next morning less than two days after finishing the previous mega-trip in the same area.
Basically I ran through a brief blizzard, climbed up a small mountain, watched the aurora dance all night, attempted to sleep for 2 hours, shot sunrise, and then hurried back to the car. Quite a wonderful 17 mile adventure. I wish there was a way to truly capture and share how magical this night was, bivying on the ridgeline with green ribbons of light swirling and dancing overhead, crystals in the snow glistening under a full moon, endless tundra and mountain wilderness in every direction, and no footprints in the snow except my own. It felt like I was privy to a celestial orchestra of sorts.