Thunderstorms – one of those things I don’t ever want to mess with. My plan today was to get to Dease Lake in BC Canada. I didn’t even come close.
After a hearty breakfast, I took off around 9am local time from Gulcana, AK for an easy 1-hr flight to Tok Junction.
Tok is the last fuel stop in Alaska before entering Canada and I wanted to make it all the way to Whitehorse in order to clear customs.
Whitehorse sits in a little valley and it looks like a pretty town. In the picture you can see some distant storms brewing. Less than an hour later, they were over the airport causing gusty winds and dropping the temperature a few degrees. Whitehorse also serves as an airport of entry, so in addition to getting fuel, I had to spend some time clearing customs, which consists of calling 1-866-CANPASS and answering a few questions.
The Canadian border patrol is very concerned with you bringing certain weapons into the country. I remember the first time I spoke to CBSA (Canada Border Services Agency) when I first ferried Moose up to Alaska.
“Will you be carrying any weapons?”
“No, just some pepper spray.” I had been accustomed to carrying a little pink can of pepper spray in my purse.
“You mean for bears?” the CBSA representative asked.
“Well, I guess I could use it on a bear, but it’s for people,” I replied.
“Oh no, you can’t bring that with you!” the guy said sounding alarmed that a girl would dare bring a little can of pepper spray into Canada.
“So, if it had been pepper spray for bears, that would have been ok?” I asked wanting to confirm this guy’s logic.
“Yeah, bear spray is ok. You just can’t bring anything that would hurt a human.”
I’m not totally familiar with the difference between bear spray and a little can of human spray, but I’m willing to bet using bear spray on a human would hurt much worse than using what I carried around in my purse – more as a deterrent than an actual threat.
Anyway, I knew better than to say something that would end up in one of these conversations this time, so the phone call only took a couple of minutes. The next call, however, would take much longer – that is, once I figured out that in Canada, you have to dial the “1″ in from of a toll free number, otherwise it won’t go through.
It was a conversation with a weather briefer, one which caused me to reluctantly decide to stay the night in Whitehorse. Thunderstorms were forecast for my entire route to Dease Lake. In fact, as I was talking to the briefer, it started raining on me, and after putting Moose away for the night I walked to the hotel across from the airport to the sound of distant thunder in the direction of where I was supposed to be going.
I guess it’s not so bad, since I had a long day yesterday – this allowed me to catch up on a lot of work and get some rest to get an early start tomorrow morning.