Adventurous Spines: Slaven’s Roadhouse

Stayed two nights at Slaven’s Roadhouse. Received an incredibly warm welcome from Randy, Cindy, and Shaelyn. Amazing service in an amazing place. We started in Whitehorse and we’re on our way to Emmonak, as long as it’s safe and fun, we’ll keep paddling! We have two children in our party: Tiuri (9) and Liva (7), and the Rangers made them feel right at home. Keep up the excellent work – we appreciate it so much!
Best regards: Lars, Suzi, Tiuri, Liva, Jane and Chris
www.lifeisgoodfollowus.com

Slaven’s Roadhouse is a halfway house, a little patch of heaven in the Yukon Charley Rivers National Preserve. It was also our home for a couple of days and nights, time to recharge before pushing on deeper into Alaska. The Rangers were supercharged with humour, compassion and hospitality. They received us, our gear, and our kids with open arms. They were our heroes.

A little too dramatic for you?

Try a month on the Yukon River, through lightning, forest fires, heatwaves, rainstorms, and mud… lots of mud. Sure, we were having a great time, but a little home comfort was no small thing, and we found heaps of it at Slaven’s.

Slaven’s was also, for me, the culmination of a teenage dream. I had devoured all of Jack London’s books and stories about the Yukon, Klondike, and all things Canada and Alaska, when I should have been studying for my exams – all of them, over several years of school, high school, and university. When I put London to one side, it was only to pick up books about dogsled racing on the Iditarod and the Yukon Quest. Dreams of the North took me to Alta, Norway, where I worked as a sled dog kennel helper for the very first time, but it was at Slaven’s, as an emerging writer, that I sat in one of the places I had read about, without realising it. There, on the wall, was a Yukon Quest poster signed by the dog drivers, and I realised I had arrived, and that dreams, once again, can come true, albeit not quite how one imagined them.

The kids had fun too. Tiuri and Liva explored the cabin, the outhouses, the woods, the dredge. They panned for gold, got nailed by mosquitoes the size of small aircraft, and we talked about bears – good eatin’, apparently. Or was it the skins that were good? It didn’t matter. We were on an adventure, staying at a roadhouse built for the purpose.

Suzi and Lars chilled out too, although the sting of a Yellowjacket almost ended Suzi’s Yukon adventure. We had talked about bee stings back in Denmark, before the trip. We had not talked about wasps. Suzi was stung earlier in the trip, with no reaction, but these Yellowjackets – about twice the size of a “normal” wasp – well, it took her out of the game for a while. Once again, the Rangers were on the case. She couldn’t have been stung at a better location.

Jane and I enjoyed Slaven’s too, although Lars’ boots introduced a percussive element to the experience that we had not prepared for – damn big boots, mate! But the Roadhouse was a chance to spread out and dry out. We hung our gear on the same lines with the same pegs used by dog drivers. We sat at the same table, slept in the same beds, and lived the Alaskan life I had talked about on trips in Scotland, in our home in Greenland. This was everything Greenland was supposed to have been – that is, an Arctic environment, with trees!

Adventurous spines drive one to find adventure in far-out, remote, and exciting places. I sent a copy of The Ice Star to the Rangers in Eagle, Alaska, and hope they can wedge it alongside their gear to leave it on the bookshelf at Slaven’s. I found adventure there, in the wilds. The thought of a dog driver dipping into my book during a layover… well, that’s another dream come true.

4 thoughts on “Adventurous Spines: Slaven’s Roadhouse

    1. Hey Pete!

      Thanks for your comment. Slaven’s proved to be a wonderful experience – one of many highlights during two months of adventure and 50 days on the Yukon. Alaska truly is epic, and to think that such gold nugget can be found within the wilds… well… gotta go back! 🙂

      Say “hi” to Alaska for me, Pete!

      Chris

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  1. Hi there wherever you are now. Enjoying your books 1 & 2 so far. Interestingly enough, and you might have been aware of this, but 60 Minutes ( a tv program here in the U.S. on Sunday nights, just had a program about the arctic and the race to claim it. A lot about the Russians and others trying to claim. As you are I am sure aware of these development, but thought it was cool that they were highlighting this and was reading your book. Neat……

    Second note, I got interested in dog sled reads years ago and read a book on The Quest about 1989. As you know, at that time, no one had hardly heard of The Quest, let alone the Iditarod.

    Thought I would pass this along. Enjoy your work and have always enjoyed the ” path less traveled “.

    Gary C. from Atlanta

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    1. Hey Gary!

      Thanks for your comment. It makes my day to think you have enjoyed books 1 and 2. Book 3 is “coming soon” and available this December.

      I like that you were watching stuff about the race for the North Pole. It is often forgotten in favour of the race for the South Pole. I believe the vote is still out as to who actually arrived there first. Was it Peary or Wally Herbert?

      If you like dog sled reads then I thoroughly recommend Gary Paulsen’s “Winterdance”. It is an epic read and a wonderful mix of hold-your-breath and laugh-out-loud. I made similar mistakes that Paulsen describes with my own team in Greenland.

      Thanks again for your comment – it’s great to hear from other people who enjoy the North!

      Chris

      P.S.

      Currently in Denmark! 😉

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