The Yukon Territory

The only audible sound was the swoosh of my skis on the powdery snow underfoot, and the occasional crow flying overhead. Sean and Alex, our expedition teammate, had ascended ahead of me on their splitboards, but I didn’t mind. Alone in the wilderness, off-the-grid in the Yukon Territory, my body felt strong, propelling me onward and upward. My breathing was rhythmic, coming out in hot puffs that commingled with the freezing Canadian air. Surrounded by a dense pine forest, the occasional evergreen had branches draped with a black, stringy moss. A majestic view of the lake was at my back, and the objective of today’s climb was ahead—a peak on the periphery of Sky High Wilderness Ranch. The temperature was cold, but after 30 minutes of climbing, I was warming up. Snow began falling mid-climb, and at one point I stopped to just be, taking in the arresting beauty of the sacred place. To find such quiet surrounded by such grandeur is an enchanting combination.

As I wrote that paragraph, I was huddled in our off the grid cabin at Sky High in 2012, warming myself near a wood burning stove and lighting my workspace in the one-room structure with old-fashioned propane lamps. With no electricity or running water, the cabin had a pit toilet that was just a short walk down the trail. At various intervals throughout the day, a chorus of husky howls could be heard from the mushing camp nearby, the canines enlivened by the prospect of heading out on trail. Our cooler served as a makeshift fridge on the front porch, filled with cheeses, yogurt, meats, and bottles of beer. While it’s certainly more glamorous than a tent pitched on the ground, our little perch at Sky High Wilderness was simple and rustic. In fact, that trip to the Yukon had a lot to do with our initial inspiration to live off the grid.