North of 60: Annie Lake Cabin and Summitting Grey Mountain

A couple weeks ago Julia invited me to go on an adventure out to Annie Lake, where she said there was this cabin that you could stay in for the night for free. It’s run by the ministry of education or something. The idea was that we would xc-ski in 20km, snowshoe around the area, sleep in the cabin, then xc-ski out another 20km. Sounded like a great idea. Only problem was we didn’t have a clue where the 20km started, or where the cabin was supposed to be.

[waxing my skis before we head out. We thought we were anywhere between 10-30km from our destination. Turns out we were probably 15km. The prominent red thing is a sled we borrowed from a Swedish friend.]



Eventually that same Swedish friend we borrowed the sled from drove up and said he knew where the cabin was, and he could drop our bag off where we would cut off the road and look for it…

But when we got to the bag, we started to look for the cabins…and an hour or two later, came up empty handed, and the sun had set…


P1040977 Stitch

So we didn’t find them. Instead we played some music, ate all the junk food we had, and decided to just head back… in the dark. Several kilometers in, our friends Annie and Marty showed up, in their hefty truck, and picked us up. They knew where the cabins were. Turns out we were only a kilometer or so off. That night we cut down a dead tree and burned it to make the cabin nice and toasty. We also played some weird card game I discovered in Mexico.

[I took a minute to look up at the stars after hauling the wood into the cabin area… it was crazy beautiful out that night]


The next day, instead of Julia and I skiing back to our car, we decided to snowshoe summit a mountain with Annie and Marty, and later get a ride back to the car with them.



P1050012 Stitch

I ended up going ahead of everyone (which is dangerous and shouldn’t be done, for the sake of all involved) in order to summit within the time we had. I managed to succeed in my goal, but did so without water/snacks with me, and if I had hurt myself, would have put my friends in a real situation. Lesson learned!

view from the top:

and to get down to where my friends were:

[back with my friends]

Later that day Julia and I ran into more problems when her car died on us. Again, luckily Annie and Marty were there to first tow the car to a safe spot, and then drive us home. RIP Julia’s car 😦

That was a longer adventure, but you don’t have to go far to summit a mountain. Grey Mountain (sometimes known as Canyon Mountain), is the most prominent mountain that one can see from Whitehorse. I have wanted to summit it for a while, because, I mean, it is right there. So I enlisted the help of my friend Cortney, and we set off this morning. At first Cortney didn’t want to go at all:

Cortney: Soooo with the windchill it’s -37 and the wind up on grey is going to be tortuous, it’s already violent outside my window … what do you think?
Alex: I say we keep with the plan: it’s supposed to warm up significantly throughout the day. Bring hot packs 🙂
C: Errrrr it’s too cold for me!!!!
A: Let’s wait and see
C: Ok, ok… let’s report back in an hour?
A: I’ll come over in 30min. Layer up, snow pants, down jacket with wind jacket, face mask…
C: I feel like a slave in a russian concentration camp, I don’t wanna go until it’s warmer. I hate cold wind…

but I showed up at her door anyways and convinced her. Turns out she was right. It was crazy windy all the way up.

[getting psyched on our way up the main road]

We split up at one point near the first ‘fake’ summit (when you think what you see is the actual summit, but turns out just to be another point on your way to the top), and kept going sans snowshoes.

[Cortney snowshoeing up the steeper section]



Here’s a video from where that picture was taken. You can get a sense of the wind…

I thought Cortney was behind me the entire time… but after I got to the top and waited a bit, it became clear she wasn’t ‘just behind’ me.

Here’s a video I took from the top. I would’ve taken more pictures, but the camera died, probably from being too cold:

Turns out Cortney got stuck at one super windy point, and started to really freeze, so she went back down to the main trail cut off. Luckily no one froze to death and no one got hurt. Plus I got to summit that damn mountain I see every day. Yay!



About dontdontoperate

28 year old originally from Barrie, Ontario, Canada. H.B.Sc. from UofT with a major in chemistry and a double minor in philosophy and math. M.Sc. from UofT in physiology and neuroscience. Finished my Ph.D. in biomedical engineering at McMaster in the fall of 2013.
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