Oscar at the Fish ladder in August. Photo by Christa Galloway.
The bonus of above freezing weather in winter here in Whitehorse is the great weather for hiking. The downside is soft snow as we discover after getting stuck on Grey Mountain Road. However, a second bonus of the nice weather is that there are plenty of people out enjoying the day who are happy to help push your vehicle back onto the road.
With the days getting longer, the weather getting fairer and the routine of work and play becoming more familiar, our family is quite possibly the happiest we've ever been. Last night I stood on on my deck under the stars while the Northern Lights rippled across the sky and I had the strong feeling that everything was how it should be.
Happiness is an odd thing. It is not necessarily achieved. You can work and search and strive for happiness while it eludes you, but when you find it, it's almost a surprise; as if it happened in the moment you forgot to look for it.
Walking in the sunshine yesterday, surrounded by the particular quiet you only get in a still, snow-laden world, I felt a peaceful kind of happy. Rich and I were meandering while Oscar and Maggie played in the snow. Around us were quiet massive views and cold clean air. Rich looked at me, smiling, and declared, "Right now, I am happy." And so was I.
When our family first arrived in Whitehorse in January 2014, we took a look at the neighbourhoods in a town guide. There was Porter Creek, Copper Ridge, Hillcrest, Hidden Valley and Riverdale, amongst others.
“I want to live here,” I announced, pointing at Riverdale.
The main reason for this declaration was that I am a huge geek and the name Riverdale was close enough to Middle Earth’s Rivendell to make me want to live there. If I could live anywhere, real or imagined, Rivendell would be the place.
Another reason was that I saw that Riverdale had it’s own place, community centre and grocery store, making it like it’s own little small town away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
We didn’t move there that January, but here we are a year later, living in Riverdale. Plus I now work for the company that makes those very same guides. Who'd a thunk it.
There are no elves gracefully patrolling the woods with bows and arrows, but it’s pretty darn magical here. Sometimes we get a great winter ice fog coming off the river, glinting in the low sun. Our protected little valley gets very little wind, so the trees tend to stay adorned with snow much of the time.
Our street is Pelly Road. It’s a quiet street with very little traffic. Looking out my front window I can imagine Oscar playing in the yard and visiting the neighbour’s trampoline with few worries. Our back yard opens onto the green belt, forest, trails and mountains.
Riverdale does have it’s dark side. Connected to Whitehorse by one bridge, the weekday commuter traffic in Riverdale can be a pain, by which I mean my commute can take 30min instead of 15min. This is why I start work at 8am, I pretty much miss the traffic completely. I know, city life eh.
A Tangent about my street, Pelly Road: The name Pelly also graces a crossing, a formation, lakes, mountains and a river, all of which were named in honour of Sir John Henry Pelly who was governor of Hudson’s Bay Company almost two centuries ago. It’s also a nickname for a pelican in Roald Dahl’s “The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me,” a thoughtful housewarming present for Oscar from family in the UK.