Into the Beautiful North!
This is my roommate and fellow filmmaker-in-residence, Andreas Horvath. He is from Salzburg, Germany and he’s working on a documentary about gold miners. In this photo he is heading to the gorgeous Top of the World Highway to test out this tiny helicopter. It has a camera (the size of a cigarette package but thinner) that attaches under the green dome (motor housing). The batteries only last 10 minutes in this cold weather and Andreas says it is very challenging to control the flight of this contraption. He has crashed it a couple of times and broken a few propellers. The plastic probably gets brittle in the cold. Andreas was inspired by the mini-helicopter shots in Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams. We are both Herzog fans, especially his 1972 masterpiece, Aguirre the Wrath of God.
It is getting down to -20˚ tonight but tomorrow it will be above freezing (high of 1˚) for the first time. Everyone is excited about the arrival of spring and they have stopped wearing hats, gloves and their big parkas. I just saw a man with only a sweater and vest on (it is 0˚). A common greeting is “How was your winter?” In a few weeks vehicles will no longer be able to cross the frozen Yukon and Klondike Rivers. They do not have bridge across the Yukon River (apparently several attempts have been swept downriver), but they do have a summer ferry in the same location as the ice bridge in this photo.
Yep, someone is driving an open golf cart in the winter! Next to the ice bridge is a large area where people have made a race track. On Sunday a group of drivers were speeding around it, churning up great plumes of snow.
I have been invited to visit an apple farm on the other side of the Klondike River. The farmers said I had to come in the next 10 days, after that it is too dangerous to drive across the river. Last spring, the husband rowed his wife across the river to their car and she drove into Dawson. Upon her return, she saw that the river had filled with chunks of ice, some were four to six feel high, so her husband could not pick her up in the canoe. All she could do was wave at her husband, drive back to town and stay with friends. Every day for five days she returned (no cell service last year but they have it now) but there was still too much ice in the river. On day six they were finally able to cross the river. Now she always carries an overnight bag in her car in spring.