Guiding with CRE brought me to the north in ’97 and I made it my home. I have guided every summer since. In the winter I am a teacher in Haines Junction, Yukon.
Experiencing the new sights around each river bend is one of the elements that keeps me coming back. Seeing the expressions of awe and excitement on the faces of my guests is the icing on the cake. When I am not guiding I enjoy the disappearing arts of hunting and trapping.
Living in the Yukon, I am surrounded by mountain beauty every day – and I never tire of it!
Andy is busy this fall teaching the HJ School’s High School Harvest Skills Program. The students had a full September and October with canoeing and SRT training, an 8 day canoe based moose hunt, hide tanning, salmon fishing and fish smoking and beaver trapping. A special memory was when the students were practicing their moose calling and a pack of wolves responded and came howling within 100m of the group. December will be busy with our bison hunting module and more of the trapping module. Andy is mentoring a student teacher this fall and is enjoying the new ideas and energy brought forward by this partnership.The Preto family spent thanksgiving up at the Mayo trapline with friends and enjoyed the peace, quiet and beautiful changing of the seasons…in 10 days the lake went from pike fishing in the row boat to ice skating thickness ice! When we go up for Christmas, there should be 3-4 ft of snow on the ground. Life is good.
The Preto family enjoyed a great rafting trip on the Yukon’s McNeil river this summer and it was fun to do a fly-in river trip together. Lisa is busier than ever as a fur sewing specialist and instructor throughout the Yukon. She recently spent a week up in Old Crow, teaching sewing at the town’s Yukon College campus. Rose and Sylvia are growing like weeds, learning to skate, and are both becoming very good swimmers and readers. Andy has organised a Judo instructor to come out to Haines Junction this winter to teach 5-9 year olds…Rose is very excited to learn some Judo moves! We have spent some time out at the Mayo trapline this fall and quite a bit of time at the Kluane trapline as a family. Andy continues to teach high school sciences and outdoor education at the Haines Junction School.
Andy is currently doing everything left handed as he recovers from carpal tunnel surgery in right wrist, recovering as soon as possible, because his trap lines and hobby farm are both continuing to be productive and great for the family. Besides from guiding and working at the farm and on his trap line, Andy still teaching outdoor ed program and science classes at the Haines Junction school. During the summer, Andy completed a family Alsek trip and guided a memorably Alsek trip in July. Andy’s intending to guide a trip in 2017 but is also focussed on competing in a week-long mountain bike race in July and doing a week-long family raft trip in August. His girls are growing up big and strong with definite personalities and Lisa’s (his wife) fur sewing business and soap making business both thriving and keeping her very busy. In short life is great and will only be better when right hand is able to be used again!
Lisa and I continue to wake up most mornings and wonder how we got so lucky. Rose is a robust and sociable three-and-a-half-year-old who just began playschool and loves helping with chores on the farm and the traplines. Sylvia has a fiery disposition and can now run, jump, climb and express herself in three-word sentence bites (other than “No no no!”). Lisa is busy making goat milk soap for her soap products sales company The Shivering Milkmaid, as well as leather and fur items for her sewing company The Minus Forty Fur Company. I am busy with various projects and am teaching sciences and math this year at the local school. The chickens are laying more eggs than we can handle and the goats are producing so much milk that we have to make a lot of it into cheese. The turkeys are in the freezer, but some of them weighed in at a whopping 40 pounds and might not fit in the oven! We just got back from a family trip up to the Mayo trapline to get ready for this season’s fur harvest. Winter has arrived here, bringing with it nightly Northern Lights shows and snow on the ground.
Andy enjoyed guiding a Firth trip with Jim and Whitey this summer. Other summer highlights included a secnd trip up to Ivvavik Park, trail work on the family trapline, seeign an amazing northern lights display in August, hunting trips with friends and taking Rose on her first moose hunting trip at 2.5 yrs of age. He and the family just got back from a wonderful road trip around the western USA where lots of great mountain biking and camping with the kids took place. Life is good. We are spending lots of winter time at the cabin in Mayo on the trapline and loving the hobby farm life in Haines Junction. Baby Sylvia is growing her first teeth and Rose is becoming a better skier every time she goes out. We are grateful to have such happy and healthy girls. Andy intends to guide a trip next July and although the location remains to be determined, he is looking forward to it.
We had a very “productive” year and baby Sylvia Sage Preto was born on March 23. Very considerate of her to wait until the day after her big sister’s birthday to appear. Rose is a wonderful and enthusiastic big sister. The work on the new property is winding down and both Andy and Lisa are enjoying having more time to devote to their hobbies…and the kids. This winter, we purchased registered trapline concession #84 near the town of Mayo and that has already been the source of several great family outings. Many more to come. Andy is taking paternity leave time next fall and the family will be driving down to Utah and back for several months of fun together. Ah, life is good!
Lisa’s pregnancy is going well and her belly is to be reckoned with. Rose is hilarious and is now able to go and check traps with me. Life is great here in Haines Junction.
Great first year in Haines Junction and a wonderful trip on the Firth in higher water this summer. Rose is 1.5 yrs old and has a large vocabulary including “Hi little chickens” and “Hi goats”. Needless to say we are finally on top of all the projects at our new property! After a 4000 km drive to pick them up, we are the proud owners of 2 milk goats which are supplying Rose and many neighbourhood children with rich milk. We had a nice visit with Whitey (fellow guide) along the way. Seeing as how we had to milk them twice a day en route back to the Yukon, we had some pretty funny experiences alongside the road at our camp spots each night…At Muncho Lake, I was milking one of the goats as the sun set, and along trots a caribou to check out what we are doing! Hilarious.
We did a family raft trip down the Copper River in Alaska and Rose loved toddling around on the sand flats and playing with the rocks and sticks. Andy is enjoying teaching at such a small school and Lisa has taken a job as the new school bus driver! Rose comes along as co-pilot on the school bus run. One more piece of fun news is that we are expecting a baby! The due date is April 1 so it should be a little joker we expect.
A busy year has passed with a great deal of change for the Preto family. Rose Trudie Preto was born in March and she is the apple of her daddy’s eye! Good thing she got her Mom’s good looks and patience.
Lisa is a natural at the whole parenthood thing and Andy is improving.
We have sold our house in Whitehorse and bought another in Haines Junction. We are stoked to say that it tested out as the most energy efficient single family dwelling on record in the territory! What a difference from our old, leaky duplex…and the view is great!
Andy has taken a position at St. Elias Community School teaching senior sciences, physical education, outdoor education and social studies. The first outing of the winter semester’s W.I.S.E 9/10 program will be a 5 day bison hunt. Wish us luck. Most of the students have been hunting longer than Andy so he should be in good hands.
This past summer saw Andy heading up to the Firth for a great trip with fantastic guests. A highlight was having several hundred caribou sneak up on him during dinner time! Lisa and Andy are presently focussing on the new job, new baby, and all the projects associated with buying a new acreage. We just finished our quail and laying hen houses…quite a job to make it grizzly proof and winter worthy!
See you next season!