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Spy_on_the_Inside
03-15-2012, 07:14 PM
I have the fairly universal problem of writing a story that takes place somewhere I have never been before. In my case, the Yukon.

So for help, I need to know everything and anything ther is to know about the Yukon, particularily the area around the village of Mayo. By what I mean by things I need to know, I mean specific landmarks, weather and temperatures from month to month, daylight hours, flora and fauna, and anything else you believe may be relevent to know for a story to take place there.

As I said, the more first hand information the better. I have already done a good deal of research on my own, but I always find it better to learn from people than from books.

Spy_on_the_Inside
03-17-2012, 06:45 AM
This thread is looking a little bare. Maybe the problem is that I'm being to specific. Maybe if I ask a more general question, I'll get a little more like.

How about just the Yukon River in general? What can people tell me about it?

Maybe even knowing something about the Alaska arcapelago? Part of the story takes place there too.

I don't even really first hand accounts. Just any information people might have for the thread. As you can see, it's a little bare.

blacbird
03-17-2012, 07:52 AM
I've been there, and you're still being unnecessarily vague. First, a hell of a lot can be found via your friend goooogle, including maps, google-earth images, climatic information, any number of photographs, etc. The biggest cities are Whitehorse, near the coast, and Dawson near the inland center of the territory (it's a territory, by the way, not a province). Population is very sparse, overall not much more than 30,000 as I recall. And colder than Dick Cheney's heart in winter. Dawson routinely hits -50F. The Yukon River is a very large river, and there's no bridge across it, only a very creepy small vehicle ferry, which I took exactly once. The Yukon flows westward into Alaska, going through Fairbanks, and ultimately out into the Bering Sea. People still get around in places via dogsled, as they do in rural parts of Alaska in the winter, although snowmobiles are ubiquitous as well. Roads are very few; a main one from Whitehorse north to Dawson, and one from there west into Alaska. The Alcan highway is the major one, and to someone from the lower 48, it's a "highway" in name only. The western portion of the territory is mountainous and generally very remote. The eastern portion is lower, bordering on the giant Mackenzie River, and generally very remote.

As for the Alaska archipelago, along the coastal panhandle, that is much more accessible, via ferry or cruise ship, with a larger population including the cities of Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan and Petersburg. None of those connect by road to anywhere else. You get there via boat or plane. Again, goooogle is your friend.

caw

Horseshoes
03-18-2012, 04:39 AM
By AK archipelago, you're referring to the Aleutian chain, not the AK panhandle, yes? 'kay, where specifically on the chain? Kodiak? Attu?

blacbird
03-18-2012, 09:18 AM
By AK archipelago, you're referring to the Aleutian chain, not the AK panhandle, yes? 'kay, where specifically on the chain? Kodiak? Attu?

Ah, you could be right. I may have misinterpreted. The Aleutians are very sparsely populated, the biggest city being Dutch Harbor, locally referred to by Alaskans simply as "Dutch". There are plenty of active volcanoes stretching more than halfway across the chain, with one or two of them usually in some form of turmoil (Mt. Cleveland is in an eruptive phase right now). Attu is unpopulated, as are most of the islands. The farthest westward permanently populated facility is on the tiny island of Shemya, and is an Air Force installation.

What places are inhabited are mainly fishing villages, which is about the only real industry in the area. The climate is miserably wet and cool, all the time, and very windy. Lots of bad storms off the Bering Sea and northern Pacific. But it's not as cold as most of Alaska.

Kodiak Island, not really part of the Aleutian chain, does contain a fairly large town by the same name, plus a lot of really big brown bears.

caw

Spy_on_the_Inside
03-18-2012, 09:42 AM
Yes, I'm finally getting some nibbles. And as for Google, you'd be shocked how little it actually tells you about Yukon if you try to look. I've actally found more useful information in the first post here than all the Google searches I've done.

Show, I believe, that Yukon is an icy, cut-off place that few people would willingly go to. Which is what makes it such a perfect setting for my story.

But now that I'm getting some experts, I can start asking some more specific questions. I know now where I want the story to take place, both settings. The first is in Yukon, described as being 'in the loop made by three rivers: the White, the Stewart, and the Yukon'. The second setting is in the Alaskan panhandle, on the bay near Yakutat.

What I'm looing for now is for people to describe the general setting around these places. What are the geographical features, plants, animals, climate, weather? Maybe even a thing or two about the native populations of the areas.

Since the Yukon River has been brought up, I do have some questions. Does it ever freeze in the winter? How crazy would you have to be to try and cross it without a boat?

Also, can anyone recommend any books, websites, or vacation forums to seek research at?

Cath
03-18-2012, 02:17 PM
Try the following searches on google, there's plenty there:

Yukon wildlife
Yukon geology
Yukon climate
Yukon weather
Yukon tourism, etc.

You'll get better feedback (here and on google) if you ask more specific questions e.g. When does it typically start snowing? What time of year are you most likely to see bears by the river? Etc.

Siri Kirpal
03-18-2012, 09:54 PM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Bushrat lives in the Yukon. You could try pm-ing her.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Spy_on_the_Inside
03-19-2012, 02:18 AM
Okay, specifics. Well, I do have the exact two locations:


Yukon, the loop made by the White, Stewart, and Yukon rivers in January
Alaska, the bay on the Gulf of Alaska near the city of Yakutat

I want to start off with wildlife in these exact areas. I'm not sure of weather or not arctic foxes or bison are found in these areas. Yukon is a big area, and I haven't found any habitat maps yet. In the bay, I would love to know what kind of fish can be caught there and what kind of whales are there.

Also, what is the weather like in these two areas during these specific months.

Siri, thanks for the name! I shall make good use of Bushrat's expertise.

blacbird
03-19-2012, 06:19 AM
Okay, specifics. Well, I do have the exact two locations:


Yukon, the loop made by the White, Stewart, and Yukon rivers in January
Alaska, the bay on the Gulf of Alaska near the city of Yakutat

I want to start off with wildlife in these exact areas. I'm not sure of weather or not arctic foxes or bison are found in these areas. Yukon is a big area, and I haven't found any habitat maps yet. In the bay, I would love to know what kind of fish can be caught there and what kind of whales are there.

Also, what is the weather like in these two areas during these specific months.

Siri, thanks for the name! I shall make good use of Bushrat's expertise.

Yakutat: Arctic foxes, probably yes (they are everywhere in Alaska). Bison, no. Weather, wet, cloudy, stormy, snowy in winter, not horribly cold. Whales include orcas, belugas, California gray whales and humpbacks.

Yukon: Cold, cold and more cold in winter. Bison, no. Foxes, probably yes. Moose and caribou, depending on location; moose tend to be forest browsers and rather solitary, caribou live in herds and graze on open tundra.

Bears, both black and brown, abundant in both places. They hibernate in winter. Wolves, especially in the Yukon. Mosquitoes, by the gazillions, in both places. Fish, salmon in streams in the coastal regions, halibut in the ocean. Lake trout, grayling inland. Lynx and wolverines, both present but rarely encountered, as they avoid humans and tend to be nocturnal.

Bald eagles and ravens everywhere. No reptiles of any kind (too cold).

Yakutat is not reachable by road. Inland Yukon is, but just barely; consult a map. Gold prospectors still work claims on the detrital beaches around Yakutat.

Hope this helps.

caw

Bushrat
03-20-2012, 11:45 PM
- google Yukon Territory, not just "Yukon"
- google some of the towns in the area, Dawson City has its own website
- the area you're wanting to write about is the central Yukon and is currently being dug up by the mining industry (they call it the "White Gold district)
- check out the territorial gvmt website
- go to the library or bookstore and look at field guides (plants and animals) for northwestern Canada, if you can't find that, look for the same for central Alaska
- elk and bison were introduced to southwestern Yukon (Aishiak region) in the 1950s or 60s; a particularly dim-witted governmental scheme
- there are frogs, toads, salamanders and newts in the Yukon and SE Alaska
- arctic foxes live in the Arctic, the red fox (sometimes silvertipped) lives ranges throughout the areas you want to write about
- the Yukon River does freeze in the winter, roughly late October up around Dawson, around December in the Whitehorse area, and stays frozen until roughly May
- two bridges cross the Yukon in the Whitehorse area