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The United States disappeared in the rear view mirror as we made our escape into Canada.

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We paused for a moment in the center of a windswept valley. I don’t know what it was about this valley, but when I think back on it, it’s something that really stands out in my mind. Maybe it was because the trip had been so green for so long, this was the first time there was a scarcity of vegetation. Just stunted bushes, rocks and sand.

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This desolate area seemed harsh, violent even. It felt eerie and alien, or what I could imagine the surface of another planet looked like.

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I sat in the road (something I do from time to time) and watched the clouds move with a terrifying speed overhead. Like fluffy heralds of looming meteorology, they sliced through the sky and threatened, at any moment, to burst with volume enough to drown the entire valley. The wind was strong, strong enough to almost send me toppling over. We didn’t stay long, and for good reason; the grey chariots above us finally made good on their warnings and released a storm of storms upon our heads.

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The rain was relentless, and seemed to park itself right over our car for the next few days. We fled, trying to outrun the torrent, but it was all in vain. Instead, we were sent scurrying beneath the Old Gods of Canada, fleeing into the rooms my companion had setup before we had started the drive.

The towns, if you could call them that, were welcoming, though they seemed more like outposts for miners and fur traders of the past. Tiny, with single roads, and were scattered throughout the wild environment that seemed to be biding its time before swallowing them whole. I would have preferred to marathon the drive personally, or sleep either in the car or out in a tent somewhere, but I suppose it was nice to have a bed.

Then, we awoke to the sun and beautiful blue skies. The gloom filled clouds must have released all of their angst, because they hung playfully in the sky. Fluffy and innocent, with no compunction for drowning the world.

“Daww, I can’t stay mad at you!” I screamed up at those mischievous formations as the car started. Sunglasses on, head out the window, and this song in my head:

We carried on!

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“Wisdom of the loo”

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We stopped at the sign post forest. A little too touristy trap for me, but still worth a look. People come from around the world to hang all manner of street signs and license plates. The original (below) started it all.

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“In 1942, a simple signpost pointing out the distances to various points along the tote road being built was damaged by a bulldozer. Private Carl K. Lindley, serving with the 341st Engineers, was ordered to repair the sign, and decided to personalize the job by adding a sign pointing towards his home town, Danville, Illinois, and giving the distance to it. Several other people added directions to their home towns, and the idea has been snowballing ever since.”

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We gave it a thorough once over before moving on.

And it was then, that I saw one of the most pristine landscapes I have EVER seen in my life. I’ve been to New Zealand, Thailand, S.Korea, Australia, Peru, Hawaii and countless other US states and NOTHING has come close to the absolute perfection of this scene. It was almost too perfect, like something you see on in a calender stand at the mall and think to yourself “that doesn’t actually exist”. The absolute definition of beauty in nature.

The clouds, the mountains, the trees and the almost glowing emerald water. I jumped up on the guard rail to better my view of the scene and stood their taking it all in.

Muncho Lake (means “big water” in the Kaska language). Definitely click these pictures for the full resolution.

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I was overwhelmed. With a huge, (and probably creepy) smile I turned to face the footsteps I heard behind me. I expected my companion, instead I found another wandering traveler who was just as mystified as I was. We both stood there for a good few seconds, mouths agape, grinning and nodding at each other. Words, heck, pictures do little justice for this!

I stared for a long while before I offered my spot to her and dove back in the car for a closer look.

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I gratefully accepted the past few days being rainy and overcast; the storm wore itself out and left this stunning opportunity for me.

Even if the trip ended right then and there, I think I would be completely satisfied.

Luckily for me, we were just getting started…

Enter the Yukon Territory

See the Sign Post Forest

Visit Muncho lake

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SHEEP ON ROAD!

~M

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