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The Vision
Carcross Style
July 1, 2007

Dear Mike,

You won’t believe the trip we just had! As you know I won the top sales award for the Ottawa region so Bob and I went on this corporate program with the company. It was amazing. Now, I’ve been on these programs before but this was like nothing I have ever seen. You have heard of the Yukon right? But who knew it was so beautiful. I didn’t know that there were places so untouched and spectacular left in the world. Well that was just the beginning so let me slow down here.

We flew to Vancouver and took a cruise up the BC and Alaska coast. I’ve been on cruises before but this one was different. Exotic ports of call came second to the whale sighting and glacier tours. The food was as always amazing.
We got off the ship in Skagway and after touring around the town site we jumped on the White Pass and Yukon Route train. I don’t know what I was expecting but the train ride was more than any of us bargained for. Narrow gauge and running along mountain sides. They weren’t kidding when they named this one the engineering feats in the world. And to add to the amazing trip, we had a First Nation guide with us explaining the history, trading routes and aboriginal names of the mountains and trails.

The train took us through the same area that the Klondike Gold Rush stampeders trekked. It wound around Lake Bennett past former sites of tent cities and fish camps. The train took us right up to the resort site and off we all stepped into the world of the Four Mountains Resort & Cultural Centre.

It was amazing right from the beginning. A drummer was standing there as we got off the train and sang a welcoming song. We all learned the legend behind the Four Mountains and the history that surrounded us. Amazing to think that the rich cultural history of the Tagish people that linked the coastal and inland peoples with the trading routes would also play such a vital role in the Gold Rush – apparently one of their ancestors is one of the founders of the original strike near Dawson City.

We all headed into the lobby to check in and as our bags were whisked away to our rooms we all stood in amazement at the view of Lake Bennett and the mountains. All we could see – sky, mountains, water. It was spectacular.

While at the Four Mountains Resort we met people from all around the world. It’s amazing how captivated the Europeans are with the wide open spaces and outdoor adventures. We ended up staying with our program as we had to take in a few meetings and the staff at the resort programmed our itineraries around the meetings. But with the beautiful meeting space in the hotel and then the program offerings outside the resort, it really didn’t feel like work.

Bob and I chose to do a few neat adventures, nothing too risky though some in the group were adventurous and did the white water rafting and the rock climbing! But Bob loves fishing so we ended up doing a fly-in day trip with a few other resort guests. Our pilot picked us up at the resort and off we went to a lake over beyond the mountain range.

Oh, it was beautiful Mike. A glorious day and the fishing was fabulous. We hooked up with some other guests at lunch and had a salmon bake on the shores of the lake. The resort had a First Nation guide join us and told us stories of ‘days gone by’ as he said. I could have sat there all day and listened. But in the end we went back and went horse back riding on some of the trails we spotted from the train.

And the days went by like that – we went on an ATV tour, saw some caribou, went fishing, went fishing, went fishing (Bob was in heaven). I went to Whitehorse for a day and did some shopping for the kids and did a trip over to Kluane National Park. But my favourite part was when we had our last business session for the company. I thought it was just going to be another session. Instead one of the people from this area (Tagish decent I believe) lead us through a discussion on the philosophies of his people and a smudging ceremony for our meeting. Then an artist came in and showed us how he creates his work and how the animal in the wood shows itself so he can carve that piece (one of the other delegates ended up buying the work right on the spot).

The last evening the resort put on an amazing show for our group. It was a gold rush themed play about the hike over the pass and the boats that were all built in this place. Amazing how the cultures all came together here. It was fun and we all got to eat different wild meat and then dance the night away. The next morning we walked around the community of Carcross one last time. What a quaint little town, quiet, lots of history and so different from Skagway or Whitehorse (not that many people but all wonderful!) which we also loved.

It all ended way too fast and I want to go back. We headed out of Whitehorse (pretty close to the resort but you would never know) on Air North which is also owned by another Yukon First Nation group. The flight took us back over the mountains ranges we had explored and landed us back in Vancouver. It was a bittersweet moment when we left the Yukon. We just loved the place and the people who live there made it such a genuine experience. I want to go back and we will!!

Anyway, attached a few photos to show you why. Talk to you soon. Love to the family.

Your sister,
Joan