Curse of the bull moose

The Yukon River is usually full of silt, so much so, it brushes the shore and slips past the boat with a faint hiss. As winter approaches the water clears to thick, jade green.

The glaciers in the great mountains of British Columbia begin to re-freeze and no longer pour their flow of mud and ground rock into the valleys.

The river is now clearer, and shallower, than I’ve ever seen it. Incredibly, there is no ice at the shore and we can gaze right down onto the muddy pebbles a few feet below. But still we can’t catch one damn fish.

“There are no grayling, there can’t be!” Neil was convinced until a family of otters moved in this week. Unless they brought pizza from Dawson, they must be living off something.

I patrol at dawn and dusk with the .22, hoping to shoot a grouse whilst our ‘gun dog’ directs me to every squirrel with a diligence bordering on mania.

Chicken (as they are called here) feed at twilight, just as the owls come off the night shift and before the falcons start their brutal…


It is autumn. Or is it fall? Fall is the old English word adopted by North Americans. Autumn, as we say in modern Britain, is also old English and was stolen from us by the French. (Alright French friends, I admit, we stole it from you…) Both words are used by Shakespeare. I love both the literal description of fall and the rich onomatopoeia of autumn.

Autumn is kicking through leaves as a kid and the quiet descent of the world into darkness. Fall is showers of golden leaves blowing from the birch trees and carpeting the yard in lemon yellows, ambers and russet browns. 

Even the dull, old spruce trees got a covering and for a few days they looked like they were sporting bling for some astounding, sylvan event.

In England, autumn can start around July and not end until March, if at all. In the Yukon, it is a few blazing weeks, with the fall colours at their peak for days only.

This year we seem to have an extension. The first fall we lived here, 4 years ago, we had a film crew staying wit…