The above photo was taken in the Pelly Crossing Village about 35 years ago.
This was New Year’s in Pelly Crossing.
I travelled with Henk Wijnen and he has submitted a brief story of that trip.
We were very foolish to take a chance to travel under those conditions, and don’t recommend anyone do what we did.
He mentions the “picture of the cache at Pelly was great. I, too, remember the smoke rising from the cabins, going straight up into the sky. That then was 76 below zero Fahrenheit.”
Thanks also to Jo-Anne Holmes of Whitehorse for her response.
Note: There has been through the years many similar caches throughout the territory.
Thanks to Henk Wijnen, formerly of Whitehorse, now of Nanaimo, BC, for his interesting letter.
The letter follows…
We left Whitehorse one morning and headed out to Carmacks after which, checking on the weather, we went on to Pelly Crossing as we had made a reservation with Mr. Friezen, the owner of the lodge.
We then made plans for the next day.
You had arrangements to meet with a family to do some sketching, I believe it was colour pastels on moosehide skin.
Had tea with this family, afterwards went to visit with Richard Van Bibber, had a few beers and were invited to have dinner.
Moose roast, homemade bread and apple pie — that was great.
We met other family members and people from the village. There were several stories told, of great interest. We left there in the late afternoon.
We walked through the village to the lodge and noticed that the smoke coming out of the cabin chimneys went straight up into the sky — no wind whatsoever and ice fog all around us.
When we got back to the lodge we were told that the temperature had dropped and it was now 70 degrees below zero.
We looked to spending a cold night at the lodge, tucked into our sleeping bags, decided to leave the next morning to get back to Whitehorse.
When we got up and going we had the surprise of our lives.
The temperature had dropped to 79 below zero. This was cold.
We were then young and foolish. We climbed into the Volkswagen Beetle and headed back to Carmacks , there were no tracks on the highway, just ours. And the tires were square on the car.
We clomped down the road and, from time to time, needed the cigarette lighter to melt the ice of the windshield to see where we were going.
Once we climbed out of the Pelly River Valley it started to warm up and the gas heater of the Volkswagen kicked in.
Once at Carmacks, the weather had warmed up considerably. We were safe from the environment and whatever it could have done to us.
We joked about it and said that we could always have burned the tires if we got stuck and needed heat to keep us warm from the cold climate. Not even thinking of the danger we were in at the time — those where the days when we were young and fearless.
What a time, and we lived to talk ‘bout it.
I hope that you can fill in the gaps as it was quite a trip so long ago.
We published a couple of photographs in the Midnight Sun paper with the byline, as to how cold the weather was when we left Pelly Crossing that early morning.