Sunday, November 28, 2010
People often inquire about my living arrangements in Nahanni Butte - they know I live in a log cabin, but what's it like inside?
Damaging as it may be to my he-man credentials, I can hardly claim to be roughing it. I have indoor plumbing that works (occasionally), a heating system that keeps things cozy (usually), and enough elbow room to store my assorted outdoor equipment and winter gear. The cabin was used by the Mounties back when there was a RCMP detachment in town, and the closet that holds my water tank is actually the former jail.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Time marches on, and the preparation continues for my upcoming treks. This week I weatherproofed the seams on my new tent, and with temperatures hovering in the -20's I decided to test it out. On Saturday afternoon I headed down to the sandbar and spent some time practicing setting it up and taking it down, which is always easier said than done when using gloves. As I worked, mist drifted in from a span of open water that is narrowing with each passing day. It covered everything in a fine lattice of ice crystals, and before long my face was shaggy with frost.
As day faded into night, I climbed into the tent and settled down to read. I wasn't far from town, but outside the only sound was the occasional groan from the ice as it flexed and shifted in the channel.
I slept, although it was not as comfortable as I had hoped. My sleeping bag is ostensibly rated to -40C, but until last night had never used it below -10C. Overnight the temperatures dipped to -25C or so, which is far from extreme, but it soon became clear that this was close to its useable limit.
There was one consolation, though. Later in the evening I became aware of a strengthening glow outside, and I climbed outside to find the world awash in moonlight. I have never seen it shine so brightly, and the effect was breathtaking.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Saturday, November 6, 2010
It has been a strange week in Nahanni Butte. Temperatures have been far higher than normal, melting most of the ice in the river and the snow around town. A chinook is partially to blame, but all over the NWT it has been unseasonably warm. Right now it's +8C, but this time last year it was hitting -30C at night.
One of the more surreal effects of all this is seeing how low the river is running. None of the elders can remember something like this - it's actually possible to walk out to one of the islands in front of town. The main channel on the far side of the island is still deep, of course, but even still it is very peculiar.