People & Culture

Dog house blues

  • Jul 16, 2012
  • 290 words
  • 2 minutes
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I noticed the smell immediately. After climbing into my tent the thick odour was awful!

“My tent stinks like a dog house!” I moaned, disgusted. “It absolutely reeks!”

But no dog had crossed my tent’s threshold. No canine pup had curled up on my new sleeping bag for days.

Then it struck me. I was the rotten and rotting mutt. It smelled as if I were practically composting! My last shower had been in Carmack, YT, six days before. Six days of hard river paddling, including one day where I had covered an incredible 124 kilometres. The effect had deposited a thick coat of sweat, layered bug repellant, and more sweat on my back, neck, legs and arms.

The next morning I aired out my tent and sleeping bag, and even changed my shirt. I didn’t strip off and wash because the Yukon’s mosquitoes would have fallen on my exposed flesh like a teenage mob hitting a weekend BBQ. Only bones and gristle would have been left behind to bleach in the 22-hour summer daylight.

“I’ll get my shower in Dawson City in two days,” I consoled myself while sitting comfortably in my tent, which still smelled like a kennel. “I only hope they let me in town without insisting I first burn all my clothes.

(Author’s note: I snuck into Dawson on Sunday night without incident. The second part of my epic canoe trip will continue after resupplying — and several showers!)

Allen Macartney is completing a solo trip on the Yukon River to retrace the route of prospectors in the days of the Klondike gold rush. Read more of his blog posts and learn about his Royal Canadian Geographical Society-funded expedition.

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