The World’s Most Remote Launderette

The Yukon is unfolding into springtime. It was -35C this morning but there is light in the sky when I wake at 7. Only a few weeks ago it was pitch black until 10am but we gain 7 minutes of light each day. The change is so fast it spins you off balance and soon, instead of falling asleep once I’ve eaten dinner, I will have “evenings.” What to do with them?

Suicide or domestic violence, there’s two options. I recently learned that whilst many people threaten self-harm or abuse in mid-winter, they lack the energy. They don’t get round to it ‘til spring.

However, Neil is working away for 10 days so there is no one to thump and I’m feeling too cheerful for suicide. I’m basking in a sense of fulfilment at having taken a 470 mile journey through the vast and empty Yukon wilderness to visit the world’s most remote launderette. Despite the fact we forgot our laundry.

We made our voyage to Circle, following the route of the Yukon Quest dogsled race that runs for 1000 miles between Fairbanks, …

The unbearable weight of snowflakes

Imagine it’s -44C. A gale is blasting snow crystals into your face, sharp as metal shavings. Your nostril hairs crackle in your nose, any exposed skin burns and your eyelashes are freezing together.

The trail you tramped out with snowshoes yesterday has disappeared under drifts and you’re stumbling thigh deep in snow. This was my journey to the bloody toilet most mornings in January.

The drifts outside the house are now higher than the windows. Homer is snowed into his doghouse and ice dust blows in under the back door. I won’t be surprised if we wake up one morning under blankets of soft, cold white. 

The trees and rooves are all sagging under the tremendous icy weight. Stand still for too long and we too are sagging, hoods and hats packed with it.
Travelling by snowmachine has been a frost-bitten slog of swimming the skidoos through unbroken white powder, with the wind nipping at our cheeks and the cold chewing on toes and fingers.

On one journey to town we were lost in ice fog for wha…