Don’t get eaten by a bear!

We have never seen as many bears in the wild as on this trip… 18 so far! We’ve even hesitated to go hiking in some areas due to the risk of meeting a bear on the trail. In spite of the sign, we did do the 9th Avenue Trail at Dawson City though.

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The only wildlife we saw was this curious fellow who stopped munching long enough to watch us go by.

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Well, that’s not entirely true. There were also mosquitoes! Lot’s of mosquitoes! We made two errors that a hiker should never make. First, I forgot my water bottle. I filled it and left it sitting on the counter in the trailer. Fortunately, I’d packed some pop for our lunch, so we were able to stay hydrated. Second, we forgot bug spray, a big mistake, especially in the north! The mosquitoes hadn’t been bad in town, so we didn’t didn’t even think about them until we were out in the bush getting bitten. Luckily, it was a cool day and we were wearing long pants and sleeves, so we didn’t get eaten alive.

Back to the bear sign though. Notice that it says, “BE ALERT MAKE NOISE”. I’ve been giving Richard a hard time lately over the fact that throughout our many years of marriage, he hasn’t been a very open communicator. I know that some of you who know him will find that difficult to believe, but it’s true. I also read that talking works better than carrying bear bells as a way to avoid an encounter with the furry beasts. When we read the sign, I told Richard, “Today you’d better talk to me or you might get eaten by a bear!” In fact, I think a new code phrase has been born. From now on, if I think he’s being particularly uncommunicative, all I’ll have to say is, “Don’t get eaten by a bear!” and he should know what I mean!

Anyway, I digress. Back to the hike…

Beginning in 1898 when the population of Dawson City swelled with thousands of people hungry for gold, tents and then log homes were built up the steep hillside behind the present day town. Today, the uppermost avenue is 8th, hence the name of the 9th Avenue Trail that follows the perimeter of the town, but further up the hill. As the gold rush came to an end and the population dwindled, the hillside homes were eventually abandoned, but there are glimpses all along the trail that there were once people living there. The homes were often built on flat platforms with stone retaining walls. Most of these wooden structures are long gone, but a few signs of them can still be seen.

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There was no garbage collection in Dawson’s early days. Broken and discarded items were often piled up outside the buildings. Rusty remnants can still be seen along the trail offering archaeologists plenty of information about life in early Dawson.

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I’m not even sure what that was, but the bed springs were obvious. I wonder who slept on them and what their story was?

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The hike was not a long or strenuous one. The 9th Avenue Trail itself is only about 2.5 km in length. We made it a little longer by adding the connecting Crocus Bluff Nature Trail which leads out to a viewing platform perched on a rocky bluff overlooking the highway entering Dawson and the confluence of the Klondike and Yukon Rivers.

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Having the last word

I love to engage in online discussions, but when they deteriorate into pointless arguments or worse yet, absolute rudeness, I bow out. One of my pet peeves is people who always have to have the last word. Don’t they realize that having the last word isn’t the same as winning?

I have seen great discussions on Facebook and other social media end in hurt feelings and broken friendships and I’ve seen people try so hard to prove how right they are that they end up making themselves look stupid. It’s just not worth it!

As Kenny Rogers sings in his hit song, The Gambler,

You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run!

I admit that I like to be right too, but I’m deliberately practicing the discipline of not having to have the last word.

As a Christian, part of my mission is to be Christ-like in what I say and do, so I’ve been looking at His example. Jesus didn’t have to deal with social media, where people often say things that they might not say face-to-face, but the principle is the same. He often said things that were controversial or misunderstood, but when He was confronted, He didn’t engage in long-winded debates. He often spoke the truth and then simply walked away. Even when He stood before Pontius Pilate and his life was on the line, He made no reply to the accusations of the chief priests and the elders. (Matthew 27:12-14)

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The Facebook conundrum

 

facebook-thumbs-guardian-expressImage: guardianlv.com

 

This morning, Ruth, at Life in the 50’s and beyond, published a post entitled Facebook Be Gone! in which she announced that she had recently deactivated her Facebook account. She cited privacy concerns and the amount of time that she found herself spending on Facebook instead of doing other things as her two primary reasons for making this decision.

Later in the day, I noticed that Leanne, at Leanne Cole Photography, had also written about social media, including Facebook. Her post has generated quite a bit of discussion.

All of this led me to write a post of my own weighing in on the the pros and cons of Facebook!

I joined Facebook late in 2007 not long before we left to spend a year teaching English in Japan. My daughter had been telling me for some time that it was something I needed to do but I’d been dragging my feet. Finally, she set up an account for me, not telling me about it until it was a fait accompli! She was right. Facebook proved to be a marvelous way to keep in touch with people back home while we were away and since returning to Canada, it’s allowed us to maintain many of the relationships that we built while we were there.

It was while we were in Japan that I used Facebook to reconnect with several people from my past including my best friend from high school, a Norwegian exchange student who shared our home for almost a year in the late 1980s and a nephew who had disappeared from our lives for several years after leaving home as a young teenager.

There are a number of things that frustrate me about Facebook but most of my exasperation is not with the website itself. It’s with the people who use it! I might be stepping on toes here but it amazes me how many seemingly intelligent people repost all sorts of myths and tall tales without checking on their validity first. It’s so easy to do using sites like snopes.com or truthorfiction.com.

I can’t help wondering about the lives of people who post what they make for supper every night. If my life was that boring, I’m sure I’d go out and do something completely audacious just to have something more interesting to write about! On the other hand, I’ve collected quite a few good recipes thanks to the people who post those.

I love the status updates that one friend writes about the crazy neighbours who live above her. I know they’re driving her around the bend but her descriptions of their antics are very entertaining! I don’t, however, need to know what happens in anyone’s bedroom other than my own!

Some of the things that people say online absolutely amaze me. Hiding behind the anonymity of their keyboards instead of talking face to face, some are downright rude. Whether intentionally or not, our “almost daughter” Chrissy, is great at initiating fascinating discussions on Facebook but, more than once, I’ve seen her and others like her remove whole conversations because they’ve degenerated into name calling and personal attacks.

Facebook has changed it’s appearance several times over the years that I’ve been using it and for the life of me, I can’t usually see why. Like everyone else, I’m frustrated when that happens and I complain but I soon get used to the new look and carry on. I suspect that the changes often have something to do with making the advertising more noticeable but if that’s the case, I don’t think it’s working very well. I, for one, rarely notice the ads at all! I do recognize, however, that they’re what pays for this free site and keep the myth that Facebook is planning to start charging subscription fees from becoming fact.

Can I live without Facebook? Yes. I had to for the five months that we were in China because it’s blocked there. Would I, like Ruth, choose to live without it? Definitely not! Used wisely, it’s a great communication tool.

Ruth is right when she speaks of the lure of Facebook and complains about the amount of time it eats up. It can definitely be a distraction and a time waster. I know I spend more time checking it than I ought to but I enjoy scrolling through my news feed several times a day looking for bits of real news. I also think it’s a fabulous way to share photos and, because I’ve linked my blog to Facebook, it also brings me readers.

Perhaps it’s greatest value to me at this point, however, is the way that it’s enabled our extended family to carry on a running conversation about the needs and care of my very elderly parents. Using the chat feature, we’ve been able to include nineteen family members scattered across North America in an ongoing discussion about life and death issues. It has been an invaluable tool in helping us come to some very important decisions as well as keeping everyone in the family informed about day to day issues.

So, in spite of the frustrations and the time that’s sometimes wasted, I give Facebook a giant thumbs up!

What about you? What’s your opinion of Facebook