Friday, February 26, 2010
For my part, I was able to chat with some of the other teachers from around the Dehcho, as well as meet the volunteers from Wrigley and Fort Providence. It was great being able to talk shop and see what their experiences have been like. I also touched base with the represenatives from Aurora College, and came away with a few new ideas for things to try in my adult education classes.
It's been a hectic week, but the pace is only going to increase. Now I need to pack and get ready for our week of fur trapping at Bluefish Lake!
Friday, February 19, 2010
I've needed something like this, more than I realised. Living in Nahanni is incredible, but I have effectively no social circle outside of the school. I have worked hard to be accepted here, but the reality is that no matter what I do I will always remain something of an outsider. For someone as gregarious as me, adjusting to this has been difficult. There are compensations, of course, but the fact remains that in many ways I am essentially on my own here.
This trip to Whitehorse has allowed me to regain some much-needed perspective. I am refreshed and energized, and feel I can face whatever comes next with feet firmly planted.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Monday, February 15, 2010
Sunday, February 14, 2010
While slightly larger than Yellowknife, it doesn't feel that way. Many of the residential areas are dispersed further down the road, while the downtown is squeezed between the Yukon River and a row of cliffs. You can easily walk from one end to the other in 15 minutes or so. It is very mild here, with green in the trees and a half-frozen river giving a friendly reminder that winter doesn’t last forever.
The streets are quiet. There is little traffic, and for the most part it is well-behaved. People go about their business at a quicker pace than in Nahanni, but still very relaxed compared to the big city. People seem at ease here.
Despite being steeped in the mystique of the goldrush, there are only a few heritage buildings and little in the way of tourist kitch. Instead there are plenty of art galleries and coffee shops, and I look forward to sampling them in the days ahead.
Whitehorse is also very French. I have been pleasantly surprised to hear a lot of French spoken on the streets, and to see so many French immersion schools, cultural organizations, etc. Another thing I've noticed is the strict height restriction on buildings - but that hasn't prevented several of the local log structures from pushing the limits!
The ride was long and uneventful. We left in the late afternoon from Fort Nelson, which unfortunately meant we passed through the most spectacular portions of the route well after nightfall. Still, I was able to catch glimpses of deep valleys and distant peaks before the sun set.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
I was not going to risk climbing a mountain with so much of my gear out of order, so that was that. Despondant, I sat around the house for a while before deciding to try and make the best of things. I salvaged what I could and kitted out for a hard day of hiking. There is a massive range of cliffs about 8km from town and to the east of the mountain proper, and I thought it would be worth heading out there and having a look. Some of the elders had told me that in the past they would journey to the cliffs and follow the clear land at their base up to Bluefish Lake and beyond. Some years ago a rockslide had cleared a rough path down to the river, so if I could make it out there I would be able to follow that up to the cliffs rather than trying to force my way through effectivly impenetrable forest.
With dawn breaking I headed out, setting a tough pace to make up for my lost time. I managed to just beat the sunrise, and as I left town I was gifted with a glorious view of it staining Lookout Mountain.
I took shelter in the lee of a hillock and grabbed a bite to eat. I marveled at frozen infinity of the plain below me, rows of trees marching into the distance as far as the eye could see.
The cliffs were close now, towering above me. I could see the rich bands of black and ochre striping its face, while above a rim of frosted spruce trees kept a lonely watch from ramparts over 600m high.
I had thought descending would be easier because I had already broken a trail, but that was not the case. The constant wind was working hard to erase evidence of my passage, and my tracks were fading with every passing moment. I could roughly follow my route, but it was very difficult. I was not afraid of getting lost because all I had to do was continue descending and eventually I would hit the river; rather, the fear was wandering off my original course and getting swamped in the snow or stuck on the rocks. A busted knee or a twisted ankle was a very real concern, now that fatigue was setting in.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Two wolves were snared out at the town dump yesterday, and we might use one at the school for a workshop on skinning and preparing pelts.