Monday, December 17, 2012

Sights on: Iqaluit, Nunavut!

My most recent explanation to why i do what i do is here, so now...

Why on earth do i want to live in Iqaluit, Nunavut in the Canadian Arctic??

For a few reasons....

Because i simply (and inexplicably) have a deep need to live in the Arctic... it touches my soul.

Because i have a decades-long obsession with aboriginal and Inuit culture and spirituality and want to be able to experience it first-hand.

Because i want to (try to) learn to read and speak Inuktitut.

Because i am in love with the Aurora Borealis and want to be with Her again. For me, it is a glimpse of the Divine.

Because i yearn to see Arctic sea-life such as polar bears, narwhals, belugas, humpback whales, seals and walruses, etc. And yes, eat them too.

Because i didn’t go dog sledding when i was in Yellowknife, and there are so many other new experiences too, like sea kayaking, to be had.

Because i have the health & means at this moment, and i won't have them forever, so i need to do this asap. 

Because Arctic Affairs is one of the few political topics that actually lights a fire under my butt.

Because i want to do my DUTY to help protect Canadian Arctic Sovereignty.

So yeah. I plan to move to Iqaluit (in a year and a half... i have a whole LOTTA money to save up to do it)! :-D
OH so scary!! AAAAAAAA! :-S

Sept/13 UPDATE:  Nope.. Iqaluit has been put off for awhile in lieu of the UK and Europe.  I figured staying in one place like i did in Yellowknife is a 'safe' thing to do, and i need to spread my wings and do my gypsy nomad thing finally.. EVEN MORE SCARY!!  So.. we shall see...

Monday, July 23, 2012

Need to update, but in the meantime.. AURORA!

I haven't written in ages! I need to work on a backlog of experiences... But in the meantime.. here's the Aurora again.

Remembering the aurora... This little video shows it in a sped up version at first, which shows a lot, but is frustrating to me, because it doesn't feel real. Like listening to chipmunks sing. But later, it shows it in real time, exactly how it looks while watching it. And OH, i remember it well. It brought tears to my eyes. I really hope i'll get some good shows when i get to Yellowknife at the end of Sept.... I've missed it so...

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Now THIS is the AURORA BOREALIS.. in REAL TIME (not time-lapse), just as i have seen it here in Yellowknife. I missed this particular show though, because it was cloudy every time i checked. *sigh* But yes... THIS is a totally accurate depiction of what it's like to witness the aurora... and why it feels like i'm being TOUCHED by DIVINITY whenever i see them...

Monday, June 27, 2011

I *heart* Yellowknife...

What can i say? I'm enamoured by Yellowknife! It's a quaint little city plopped in the middle of nowhere, in the Northwest Territories.

I took a walk from downtown City Hall, around Frame Lake to Walmart, on the other side. It was... honestly, a little disheartening. Not because it wasn't beautiful... it was... but because i'm worried that i'm going to fall in love with Yellowknife! In fact i can feel the stirrings already! I sat on the Precambrian rocks that used to be the world's first mountains, but have been worn down over millions of years by ice & water, to the round, breathtaking formations that i sat upon. I sat with tears flowing down my cheeks... this beautiful lake & rocks, right downtown... a feeling of urbanity AND complete wilderness in one... depending on which way i looked. I can't describe efficiently how 'taken' i am with this place! This is my 'backyard'!

A couple of days ago i walked down to Old Town. Well, of course it's utterly charming! It was the beginnings of Yellowknife... where the gold rush began here in the 1930's i believe . It's even more rocky than Frame Lake, and it's on the Great Slave Lake, just a few blocks from downtown. Old log cabins transformed into restaurants & stores... Raggedy Ass Road... and colourful houseboats out by the little island in the harbour that will freeze where they sit when winter comes, and be able to then drive to their frozen homes. Did i already mention this before? I probably did, but it's worth mentioning... AND seeing.

I met a very nice woman in Old Town as well. Laura Love (what a wonderful name!) and her husband Danny Hudson. He carves wonderful little bears, etc, and apparently she creates rosaries out of real rose petals! I will have to check those out next time i see her! So i have met a few really nice people. Slowly... slowly, as i begin to make my way here.

Oh, and just in case i hadn't mentioned it before... :-)

╚══`.¸.Yellowknife ♥


Thursday, June 23, 2011

My first day on my own...

Today was my first day on my own. I left the apartment of my generous host (who has allowed a virtual stranger to sleep on his couch) at around 9 am, and headed out. As i walked towards downtown, melancholy took over. It felt SO foreign, and Murray is getting further and further away. Again, as i walked, i questioned my sanity over doing this...

Basically, my plan was just to wander around and check out the town. I went into a few stores, checking out the closest corner store (it had lots of Vietnamese food... cool), and buying a 'Twix Ice cream Bar' for breakfast. Breakfast of champions. Hehe.

I ended up at 'Northern Transition' again... the store who will probably be making my parka for the cold season.. to dream. I may get another lighter jacket as well. Talked to the owner for quite a while.. a really nice guy named Long (from Vietnam). I hope i do get my parka from him. It will be rather expensive, but... *sigh* I will have to figure out how to do it. Damn. I mean.. i'm not sure if i can do this financially as it is... the daily things like food... But i kind of LIKE my extremities and don't feel like having them freeze off.. :-)

The Aboriginal Friendship Centre was a disappointment... In Vancouver, they have classes, and i took Pow Wow Dancing lessons. You can really get into the culture in Vancouver! Not so here in Yellowknife. They have nothing like that. *sigh* Now i'm not sure exactly how i'm going to learn more about the Dene & Inuit cultures up here. I was really looking forward to that. I guess i'll have to find ANOTHER way.

Did an hour of internet at the Library... Copied a few numbers to call, and checked on the room classifieds. No luck. There's nothing right now. I truly appreciate my host allowing me to land at his place.. And he's very nice too... But i REALLY need to have my own room. A place to put up my fairy lights & line the toys i brought up on a shelf or dresser top. A place to set up a table & hopefully paint again. A place to sit & write & be online. As much as it is convenient to be online at Javaroma, it will get pretty expensive, because i can't just sit there and not buy cafe mochas or food! If you don't buy their stuff, they'll go out of business and there won't BE free internet! So... i really need a room that has wifi. Heck... i just really need a ROOM!

And... i'm at the Library again. But i've done my hour allowance online, so i'm just writing now. Getting caught up so that i can post NEXT time i'm online!

Well, sorry for the boring posts lately. I'm still a bit... down, i guess. If you'll forgive me... This is my first time living on my own, my ENTIRE life, and i'm 52 (or is it 53 now... i keep losing track)! Maybe NEXT time i fly off to some remote destination on my own, i'll be more prepared. Practice makes perfect! Or maybe i'll just end up staying home. Hehe. Again.... We shall see what we shall see... :-) 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Day 16 (our first day in YK) to Day 18 (I'm left alone)...

Day 16 – June 20 – Taking the tour of Yellowknife, starting with Bullock's Restaurant in Old Town for lunch. HELLA expensive (it cost over $100 for two meals of fish, salad & fries, two bottles of beer and one vodka cooler), but it was well worth it! I had pickerel and Murray had Arctic Char. Mine was pan fried (mmmm), and Murray's was grilled. Arctic Char turns out to be rather like salmon! Not quite as good as Sockeye, but... maybe it was the grilling. I like my salmon like they did it waaay up in Bella Coola, BC (a trip a few years ago), in the Reserve. They bbqed it in tin foil, with butter & brown sugar. OH. My. GAWD it's decadently rich when done that way! Mmm. Getting hungry again! :-)

It was quite hot today. Up to 29C! My UV umbrella helped keep me in shade though, and with the breeze, it was definitely tolerable. If you know me, that's saying a lot. I don't 'do' heat, and i was fine!

Did some shopping... souvenirs, etc. Murray got a couple of tee-shirts, including one of 'Raggedy Ass Rd' in Old Town. And i was eyeing the parkas from 'Northern Transition' in the Centre Square Mall. They make the parkas there. I plan to buy one, come fall. They will custom make it for me... choose the colour, choose the fur... Nice. But expensive of course. Urgh. But you've GOT to have a warm parka! Might as well be 'artistic'! :-)

Day 17 – June 21 – It was quite hot today. Up to 29C! It's a heat wave and is the hot spot in all of Canada! I was grossly misinformed! The internet said that the average high in June here is 18C and the average high in July is 21C. Well, i guess if you average a blazing heat wave of one week, with the cold wet snow of the previous week, you'd GET that 18C average. My builder, Paul, DID warn me that it gets to 30C here. I just chose to ignore him because all the internet sites said the opposite! Grrr... Lol!

Today is Aboriginal Day! A civic holiday... most of the stores are closed, including Javaroma. No cafe mocha for ME today! So we checked out the festivities (run by the local Metis) in town. The parade (2 floats with people sitting on them, a couple of RCMP in red uniform and 3 drumming women) had not arrived yet for the fish fry to start, so we left for a drive towards the end of the road in the NWT and the festivities run by the local Dene.

We went to Little Cameron Falls (after a try for the big ones, but they took too long and it was too hot), and it was GORGEOUS! I'm SO glad we went! I hope i can get back to it again! A couple had set up a tent on the rock by the cascade (although i'm sure it wasn't actually 'allowed')... It would be incredible to be able to camp there! I took my tee-shirt off and basked in the sun in my bra (hey, it's just a less colourful bikini top!), and enjoyed the beautiful cascade. It would have been thundering over the spot i was sitting, a little earlier in the season, during the thaw! I wish i could see it when it freezes, but it would be rather difficult to do in the deep snow. *sigh*

Then back towards Yellowknife & the Yellowknife River Day Area where the other set of Aboriginal Day festivities were. It was 3:30 by now, and they were just starting! We got a plate of freshly caught & bbqed fish (the fish was MASSIVE!), and some musicians were just starting to play when we left.

We had to get back early to have a shower and meet Murray's old childhood/highschool/neighbour friend and his wife for dinner. His friend came up to Yellowknife with a 5 year plan. That was 27 years ago! Anyway, we had been trying to have Muskox for the last week, but nobody ever had any in stock! I chased down a restaurant (FINALLY) who DID have it (The Explorer Hotel), and we met Murray's friend there. Oh, it was REALLY good! Yum! Of course mine was blue rare... might as well have grabbed a knife and carved it off the beast when it was freshly killed! Mmm. Hehe. I hope i haven't disgusted TOO many of you! :-) Thankyou Al & Linda! It was INCREDIBLE!

Day 18 – June 22 - It was a rather tearful morning when we got up. It was the last time i'd see my BFF Moo for who knows HOW long! Although we weren't sure he would actually be able to leave anyway! There was a fire burning between here and the ferry, and the road had been closed yesterday and last night. Apparently it was to be opened at noon, so he thought he'd take a chance.

We met my friend who was nice enough to let me sleep on his couch, and dropped off my boxes and crap! MAN, it was WAY more than i realized! But then again, i brought a bunch of food too, including 6 big bags of almonds from Costco! I live on those things, and that will NOT last me the year!

Then off to our 'last' lunch together before he leaves. We went to the Museum's restaurant. It was nice.

And then... it was time to go. I had him drop me off in the park, because i didn’t want to be left on the sidewalk, blubbering away like a fool. As it was, i was a blubbering fool in the park instead! At least it was a BIT more private! 

I couldn't believe he was driving away and leaving me there! Alone!  In a strange city in the middle of NOWHERE!  I really don't know if i can do this! I guess it depends on what happens. If i can find a room (there are NONE right now, and i'm feeling a bit panicky)... whether or not i can find a job (hopefully some will open up in September, when the summer people take off). 

Well... he made it to his planned destination of Louis? Falls, to camp (i got some texts from him). Apparently there were fires burning by the side of the road still, but it was under control. So i know he's safe... at least for tonight!

And i officially start my time alone in Yellowknife. I honestly, at this point in time, don't know if i can handle it. We shall see what we shall see. This certainly is 'living in the now'! I have NO idea what tomorrow will bring!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Day 12 (crossing into NWt) to Day 15 (arriving in Yellowknife)!

Day 12 – June 16 – Today we crossed the border into the NWT! Yahoo! We decided to take the chance & go up the Liard Trail. A risk (due to the fact that it's a few hundred kms of gravel road, and the spring thaw has made it an impassable mud pit, without four-wheel drive), but it cuts SO much distance off! If we didn't go that way, we'd have to go WAY down into BC & Alberta, and then back up again. An extra 200+ kms i believe.

First stop, Fort Liard, just a short distance into the Trail. Everyone is aboriginal, and we stopped to get some lunch at the gas station. THANKfully, btw, there WAS a gas station, because we needed gas, and didn't know if there would be gas on the Trail. (There WASn't, and we would have run out of gas if we hadn't filled up. As it was, we were running on fumes by the time we DID hit one). Can you imagine running out of gas hundreds of miles into the NWT, in the middle of nowhere? *shudder* Hehe.

Anyway, lunch. The BEST french fries i'd had in years! You know those limp noodle fries that most people hate? (in fact someone had left an entire huge portion of poutine at one table). Well anyway, i LOVE that kind of fries, so i was in deep-fried heaven!

Sambaa Deh Falls
Ancient sea creatures
Camped at the Trout River Campground, and took some pics at the Sambaa Deh Falls (really nice). Found all kinds of ancient sea creatures imbedded in the rocks. Very cool. Apparently the area used to be a tropical sea. Now it's the sub arctic. Amazing!

Alexandra Falls
Day 13 – June 17 – Today we stopped near Enterprise, where we THANKFULLY found gas (as i mentioned yesterday). Saw a cool rainbow at Evelyn Falls on the Kakisa River. And on the way to Hay River (our destination for two nights.. we were meeting a new friend who lives there), we stopped at the Alexandra Falls. Now THAT was nice... with coffee, cocoa & cream coloured water!
The Great Slave Lake.. from Hay River

The Hay River Campground was very nice. We got an RV site (with power, although we didn't use it) with its own crescent driveway, so it was really private & far away from everyone. The tent sites were nice, but closer together, and considering these smaller no-power sites cost the same as the big sites... we of course stayed with the big one. It was just steps away from a beach that looked like the ocean, but it was Great Slave Lake! Very nice!

I forgot to mention the 'Rock Graffiti' that we saw en route! People would spell out their names or initials, some with hearts & declarations of love... out of stones and small rocks on the sides of small hills along the highway. A few even painted their rocks bright colours to make them stand out! It was a very interesting & non-destructive expression of 'art'. I liked them. But then again, i'm an urban graffiti fan. This was just a northern extension of it!

Day 14 – June 18 – Today was Saturday, so we went down to Fisherman's Wharf for the Market & fish fry. I got some awesome Lake Trout, caught the day before in the Great Slave Lake... pan fried and AWEsome! SO yummy! The bannock was not that great though. Baked into a muffin shape & cold. I prefer my bannock hot & freshly deep-fried in a flat shape, with butter & jam. Mmmm. Oh well. The awesome fish made up for it. Murray had deep-fried fish & chips. Not nearly as good. It's WAY better pan fried! Ok... i'm getting hungry now!

Toured around tiny Hay River until we basically knew the place! I mean, we were even starting to recognize people! My friend has been expounding the virtues of Hay River for a year, saying that Yellowknife is a dump. But... *ahem* Hay River is nice enough for a tiny town, but... now that i've seen Yellowknife... you simply can't compare!

Day 15 – June 19 – Today, we're on our way to Yellowknife! We take the ferry across the MacKenzie River, where we see the bridge that's supposed to be finished for this fall before the winter freeze. Ain't happenin'! Turns out it's been a fiasco since day one, when they started the project before they even got the engineer to sign off the plans! Urgh. It's going to end up a couple of hundred million over budget... crazy. Oh well. I was hoping to be able to cross the new bridge next spring (or this winter) when i leave by bus, but... i'll probably end up flying anyway.
It was cool... a bunch of bison were congregating at the base of the bridge. I can imagine they'd be in the way of the workers. Counting these bison, and the herd we saw shortly afterwards, we saw about 150 bison during our trip up!

We have arrived in Yellowknife!! Yay! After miles and miles and HUNDREDS of miles of JUST small trees... as one comes closer to Yellowknife, the terrain finally changes. It becomes dryer (it's supposedly a 'Polar Desert'), and there are more and more rock outcroppings.. with cute, tiny trees growing out of it. Yellowknife is really quite a pretty city! I was very pleasantly surprised! Those outcroppings of Precambrian rock are everywhere in Yellowknife! It's where the gold & diamonds are! Well, the gold is/was here (Yellowknife started out as a little Gold Rush), but the diamonds (the NEW gold here in the NWT) are about 40 miles or so north.

Our Campsite
Our campsite at the Fred Henne Campground is very nice, and right by the lake (just through the trees). It's noisy, with people playing at the beach nearby, and the 'skeeters' were a-howlin' though. Gotta have the bug dope! We ARE in the north after all! I WAS warned! Murray was especially hounded by them. He said that he doesn't think he could live here, because he would go mad with the bugs! I say, the season is short, and bug dope is plentiful... Hopefully it's worth the hassle, when the snow starts flying.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Day 6 to 11... Alaska border to Dawson City to Whitehorse then Fort Nelson

Alaska border
Day 6 – June 10 - Today we were supposed to be heading into Skagway Alaska to Haines, then up through to Chicken Alaska to Dawson City Yukon, but... we were turned back at the border. Some stupid misdemeanour from 30 years ago on Moo's passport, that should NOT be there and seriously needs to be rectified when he gets back! Man. We went over the border, back and forth many times last year during our trip out east! Never a problem! Oh well. So we headed back to Whitehorse.

We at least got to go into Alaska! The American border crossing is about 13 kms past the actual border. And we got to see the moonscape-like scenery of the White Pass of Klondike fame.

Lake Laverge
Anyway.. back to Whitehorse (as i said), for some dinner at 'Sanchez Cantina' (chicken enchiladas in mole sauce & beef something-or-other. and we stayed Lake Laverge Campground. VERY nice vista off of a little knoll near the campsite of the HUGE lake (that Sam McGee was cremated at), and the surrounding rolling hills & mountains.

Met a couple of quite interesting characters across from us at the campground! John & Jeremy.. two best friends, born & raised in Whitehorse. John was very colourful.. He broke his neck rolling his car 5 times, a few years ago, and walked away! Spent that night at home having a little 'fun' with a couple of female friends, then went to the hospital the next morning. When the doctor saw him with him barely able to walk, and his neck bent sideways, he went nuts & got John to lie down. He was SO lucky that he didn't sever the spinal cord, or he wouldn't be walking right now.

Anyway, SUCH a friendly guy... If this is a typical example of a Yukon local, i guess i'm going to like Northern boys!

NOTE:  BTW, most of the pics i take will be taken by me OF me AND the scenery.  I'm not a travel photographer... You can get nice pics of JUST the scene online.  This is about me, so the pics will be of me.  You may get sick of seeing my silly head in every shot though!  Lol!

Now THAT's a bun!!
Day 7 – June 11 - Bought a massive cinnamon bun from Braeburn Lodge, on the way to....

Dawson City..! Yay! Wow, i definitely LOVE Dawson City! Now i'd LOVE to live there! Hmm. Will have to figure out how. There IS the Yukon School of Visual Arts there. I thought of taking my foundation year there, and i still may try to apply there... thatis IF i actually start painting while i'm in Yellowknife. I've got to include pictures of recent paintings, so i'll need them for a portfolio.
Dawson City, Yukon 

MIDNIGHT, Dawson City, Yukon
We took the little ferry across the Yukon River (it's free, about a 4 minute ride, and works 24 hours), over to the Yukon River Campground right on the other side. A VERY nice campsite! There weren't many people there, so we got a site right on the river. At midnight, when we went to bed, there was still light on the mountain across the river! Apparently the sun 'set' at 12:40 am, and came back up at around 2:30 am. Of course it was dusky between that time.. always light! Now that is REALLY the north!! :-)

Day 8 – June 12 – Our day in Dawson City! Of course we got our 'Olde Tyme' pics taken, like we did in Salem, Mass. last year! Murray was supposed to be a 'gentleman' gold miner, and i was a trapper. I wore the old mukluks (hand-made by an Inuit woman in 1962, and given to me by my friend Ken), some beaded aboriginal earrings, long johns, heavy jacket & wrapped a small animal skin around my head.

'Dredge No. 4'
We drove down Bonanza Creek to see 'Dredge No. 4' (a MASSIVE dredge they used to gather gold in the early part of the 20th Century... fascinating!!), and went to the 'Discovery Claim'... the claim that triggered the Klondike Gold Rush in 1897-9! But the thing about the Dredge... the Ranger mentioned that you can stake a claim now, and how to do it at the claims office... and a NEW plan was hatched! I want to stake a claim!! Oohh....
Sternwheeler Graveyard'
Sternwheeler Graveyard'

Found the 'Sternwheeler Graveyard' just down from our campsite... Very cool!

Anyway... we walked around Dawson, bought a few things, ate some stuff, and generally enjoyed just being there! :-D

We went to Diamond Tooth Gertie's that night... Canada's first Casino! With can-can girls & gambling! In an 'old-west' like town (Dawson City.. with dirt roads & wood sidewalks)... How cool is that??

See my gold? 
Day 9 – June 13 - Still in Dawson City... We were supposed to leave today, but i wanted to do a few things, so we stayed an extra day. For instance, we had passed 'Claim 33' (on the way to the Dredge & Discovery Claim the previous day)... and i wanted to try my hand at gold panning! Let's see if i could even handle panning on a claim! I did well and had fun... but i can see how it would be awfully hard on one's back! I was standing at a water-filled trough, but at the creek, i'd be on the ground! I don't think i would want to actually mine though. That would be even harder! But... i will research it. The woman (who showed me how to pan)'s husband has a claim (he's mining it),and she showed me a HUGE nugget he found on his claim! Did i say i want to stake a claim?? Hehe.. That nugget was very rare though. I wouldn't really expect to find much (if ANY), but... just how cool of an experience would it be to say you had a legitimate gold claim & worked it?? Hmm. I need to find a partner for this endeavour. Someone who has a big dog & a gun....

We drove all the way back to Whitehorse & stayed at Takhini hotsprings again... After all that driving (550 kms), i really NEEDED that soak! The mosquitoes were even WORSE this time!

Day 10 – June 14 – We wanted to get all the way to Liard Hotsprings, so we started out early after some breakfast in Whitehorse (at the Burnt Toast Cafe). We also gave 'The Chocolate Claim' a try (after already trying 'Starbucks' & 'Baked' a try for cafe mochas)... Wow... it was GREAT! For some reason she gave me a medium size double mocha (i hadn't asked for a double), and i had blackberry syrup put in it too (i watched her put an entire shot glass worth in!), and it only cost $3! The same thing would cost me almost $7 at Blenz! Anyway, a superior mocha for 1/2 the price! I shall remember that for when i'm in Whitehorse next!

Watson Lake, Yukon Signpost Forest
Passing through Watson Lake, Yukon (the 'gateway to the Yukon), just on the border of Yukon & BC.. we went to the Aurora Centre & saw the show there. For Moo, so that he can see what i'm hopefully going to be seeing...  The Signpost Forest is there too....

Liard Hotsprings
It was a very long drive. By the time we got to Liard Hotsprings, we had logged 690 kms. Not our longest day, but long enough. The longest drives were 862 kms on day 3, and 839 kms on day 4. The campground was full, but they let us camp in the day parking lot. We pitched our tent on the pathway to the washroom (a wide field by some was actually quite nice!). And needless to say we headed off down the wooden walkway to the hotsprings! MAN was it hot! Hotter than the last time we were here 3 years ago! But it was nice! And just as gorgeous as i remember it! If you haven't been to Liard Hotsprings, i highly recommend it!

Day 11 – June 15 - Another long drive today. We have to make a decision tonight ... We've stopped in Fort Nelson, BC, (on the Alaska Hywy) because it's near the Liard Trail, which is a route up to NWT. It's a much shorter route, but the problem is, it's all gravel! We may have trouble on it. But... the alternative is to go south and loop around... an extra 400+ kms! Murray wants to take the Trail... I guess we will. Hopefully it works out, because there's nothing much happening on that route if things go wrong...

Also, we're staying at a motel instead of camping, so that Moo could watch the final game in the Stanley Cup (and the ridiculously juvenile 'fan' behaviour afterwards on every freaking channel...*sigh*)... And so i could get caught up online. Get some blogging done, a bit of facebooking done (including my pet Johnson on Pet Society.. hehe). And upload a bunch of pics onto facebook too. It's ... CRAP.. it's past midnight, and i'm still writing! I haven't posted this last batch of blog posts yet! I'd better get my *ss in gear!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Days 3 to 5... ends up in Whitehorse

Day 3 – Tuesday June 7 – Other than a hard bed last night, all went well. Oh, well maybe not for Canucks fans. Apparently they lost by some amazingly huge amount, like 7-1.

Off we went on the Yellowhead Hywy to Kitwanga, where we bought some bannock from a girl at a little roadside hut. Moo said that “She was cute..”. Hehe. Yes, she was.. young and cute. And the bannock was deep-fried goodness with butter and jam.

Next little side trip was not far off the hwy. It was an old Native village named Gitanyou (or something like that) with a lot of old totem poles. Very cool. I'll add a pic of them. Definitely worth the detour.

It was a spectacular drive up the Stewart-Cassiar Hywy (37), and we saw about 8 bears, mostly yearlings. And we came across a majestic sight of about 7 wild horses standing on the hywy. Well, we THOUGHT they were wild (there ARE wild horses around here), but as we got closer, we heard cow bells. Somebody's boys and girls decided to take the day off!

Kinaskan Lake
We ended up at Kinaskan Lake campground... MAN it was beautiful! We had a gorgeous site! Had a bit of trouble setting up the new 'pop-up' tent, but eventually we did get it up. Took some sunset pics (the sun finally went down behind the mountain at 10:30 pm, and at 11:30 it was still light out when i went to bed.

We're definitely up north! And we're still 800 kms from Whitehorse!

Day 4 – June 8 - OH the day started with a nasty groan! Trying to get that damn 'pop-up' tent to 'pop' back down, was painful! It took us about an hour to finally figure it out, and it still didn't 'quite' fit into the bag! But once in the bag, it's beauty! A flat circle that just tucks on top of everything else jammed into the car! But MAN what a chore to get it down!

One of the first things we saw after starting out, was a grizzly bear yearling! I tried to get a pic, but he hid behind a bush (and pooed.. lovely). I did get a 2 second video of him running up the hill beside the road before i realized it was on video. Too bad i turned it off. I should have stayed on video, because the pics that i ended up taking were worthless. Still.. very cool... My first grizzly!

We saw more animals this day too. A dead porcupine in the road, which i promptly stopped, pulled off the road (so it wouldn't get more mashed than it already was), collected some quills & thanked him for them.

We sent throught a huge forest fire too! Well,the final dregs of it. Got a couple of pics of some hot spots still burning on the side of the road, and the vast black devastation. Told a firefighter about the hot spot, and he said the helicopters would deal with it.

Takhini Hotsprings
We ended up at Takhini Hotsprings Campground near Whitehorse. A small deciduous forest, with only pit toilets. It was only $17, but it cost us $8 each for a day pass to use the hotspring pool. We saved that expenditure for the next day.

Day 5 – June 9 - Our day in Whitehorse. Went to the Burnt Toast Cafe for lunch (we JUST missed breakfast). Good stuff! A smoked salmon sandwich & a Albacore tuna sandwich with wasabi mayo, and the best shoestring fried i've had in years! Murray's were doused in truffle oil, but i preferred the regular ones. My waistline is expanding exponentially. Is it any wonder? With food like this, and junk food in the car while travelling...

Whitehorse Starbucks.. hehe
Got a pic of my 'beloved' Starbucks (that i have a pic of earlier in this blog), and got my hair cut by a colourful Mexican named Fernando, who has been in Whitehorse for 3 years. He did a fine job!

Cafe mochas & a 'Baked' mug from 'Baked'... a great dinner at 'Klondike Ribs' (Elk Storganoff & Salmon/Artichoke dip). Then back to Takhini to the hot pool. It was a nice way to finish the day.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The day has arrived! I leave for Yellowknife!... And Barkerville!

Internet will be few & far between on this trip, but maybe i can type up some entries, and just post them all on one day, whenever possible! Ok.. here goes...

Sunday June 5 – Today was the day... the first day of my new life. I waved a tearful goodbye to my Island in the Pacific, and Moo & i headed north. A long day drive.. about 800 kms, because i wanted to go to Barkerville. We went there with a couple of my kids years ago, and i just love the gold-rush history of the place! Can't wait to see Skagway Alaska & Dawson City Yukon for the same reasons, but that's not until next week.

A disaster was averted, thankfully... Moo left my backpack containing this very netbook, at Mr. Mike's in Quesnel, and made it about 1/3 of the way to Barkerville when i realized we had forgotten it. A quick, rather stressful (for Moo), sombre (for me) drive back, but (obviously), i was allowed to keep my netbook. I can't imagine howi could survive a year (or 6 months?) in Yellowknife without being connected to my life in Vancouver! *Whew*

Btw, there was a really cute little Casino in Quesnel... made to look like a sternwheeler... Just thought i'd mention that.

Anyway, we finally made it to Barkerville by around 9 pm,and we (and by we, i mean Moo) are setting up the tent as i 'speak'. It's 9:30 now, it's still light, and there's snow in the campground (it's 8 degrees C). Chilly willy! And the tent's zipper is broken and won't shut. Me.. with a phobia about bugs in the tent while camping... Hehe. *shakes head* Oh well. Tomorrow i get to go to Barkerville! Got to have Chinese food in the cute little 1860's Chinese restaurant there! Yum! Apparently when we went all those years ago, we went to that restaurant two days in a row because we liked it so much!

Well, i should go. Maybe help set up the tent. Oops! It's already done? Good job Moo! :-)

Monday June 6 – Today was Barkerville Day! Yay! Moo had a bit of a rough night last night though. His air mattress kept losing air, and he found himself lying on the hard ground 3 times! Poor guy had to keep re-pumping it. He ended up pissed off the third time (@ 3 am), and going and trying to sleep in the car. But it was WAY too cold... It went down to zero... there was snow on the campground. So he ended up coming back to the tent & pumping it up @ 6:30. Btw, it was full daylight at 3 am he said!

OH! The Whiskey Jacks in the morning! I had a bag of Popcorn Twists for 'breakfast', and i ended up holding my hand out with them, and the birds would land on my hand, look at me, take the twist & fly off. Lots of fun!

Anyway, Barkerville cost $15 to get in, so Moo decided to drive up to Bowren Lake to check out the canoe circut he wants to do some time instead, and i went into Barkerville alone. There was a fun historical tour with actors...

Barkerville, BC
Of course i ended up buying a few things (pink/green jade earrings, a hat, and some chopsticks & spoon from the Chinatown). Took pics, and i bought 5 varieties of reeeally cool fudge, including 'Drunken Cherry' and 'Chili Chocolate', because Moo loves fudge.. especially the fudge from Hell's Gate! And we both think this fudge from the Barkerville Mercantile (not the little fudge/candy shop) rivals Hell's Gate! And that says a lot!

And i didn't end up going to the Barkerville Chinese Restaurant after all. It was WAY too expensive! I ended up having a chocolate eclair at the Bakery instead. We DID end up at the China Cup Buffet in Prince George tonight instead. Whoa. I've never been to a buffet that had such a BIG variety! Pretty good Martian (what i call Canadian Chinese food (because it's so different than real Chinese food), and even their Chinese wasn't half bad! I ate so much i can hardly breath. SO good, but NO MORE BUFFETS! They're evil! I don't want to even THINK about how much weight i've gained!

And tonight, we're staying at the Prince Hotel in Prince George. Why are we not camping? Well yes, Moo does need to buy a new air mattress before we can camp again, but we'll do that tomorrow morning on the way out. We're at a motel because tonight is the Season Finale of 'Being Human'! I couldn't miss that!! AND Moo gets to watch most of Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final. So we're both happy, and it's worth paying for a room! Plus obviously, i got to get online! :-)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Forget 'Procrastination Queen'... I'm the Procrastination GODDESS!

Holy Zombie Geebuz.  It's now 7 weeks, not 5 months till i leave!  And still i have not done a thing!  I still have to walk around piles to get to the stairs, and step over things to get up the stairs, so i can sit on my hind-end and spend the entire day online, doing... um... important things!!  If i don't collect the coins for my pet & his friends on Pet Society (facebook) every single day, then the lottery dial will go back to day one, and that will just not do!  And... um... i do have to find everything 'North' there is to explore... and... art... and... *sigh*  I know.  I need to get down those stairs & de-junk & organize!  OK, OK, i'm going, MOM...

But first... i really do need to go for a walk!  It's so sunny & beautiful outside!  Honestly.. that's good.  It's yet another thing i've been putting off....

LATER NOTE:  I did go on a nice little walk to the lake & back then to the creek, where i sat & ate lunch... then did some Shambhala 'sitting practice', reading, thinking & just plain enjoying the scenery.  I'm going to miss the lush, tall, temperate rain forests of BC when i'm up north...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Uh oh... A bit of a dilemma...

Just a touch of a hiccup in my newest plan.  Not that it’s a new problem, because it’s not.  It’s been my first concern ever since this idea (moving to Whitehorse part way through my year) popped into my head!  Considering i won’t have my car to move my stuff from one place to the other... (never mind i couldn’t drive in January anyway, if that was the moving time)... just how do i get to Whitehorse from Yellowknife?  I mean really... they’re both WAY up north in Canada... it can’t be that far, can it?  

Well, have you looked at a map?  It’s an 1880 km drive!!  It’s almost as far to drive from one to the other (horizontally across the map), than vertically from Vancouver all the way UP there!  Canada is a big country... 2nd largest country in the world (after Russia).  I already knew this, but it really sinks in when you try to go from one part of it to the other!  And we're talking about only the far west side of it!

Check out the air fares?  Cost is anywhere from $500 to well over $1000!  Does nothing go directly from one city to the other?  It seems as if you have to go to Calgary & all the way down to Vancouver, then back up again!  Surely not.  Anyway, price & route, etc aside, that’s not the main problem.  It’s packing.  How on earth do i fit my stuff... (stuff that i’ll need for an entire year mind you.. this isn’t ‘just’ a short trip!)... into a mere couple of suitcases?  Can i take a large suitcase AND a large backpack for cargo PLUS a carry-on onto the plane at least?  

I mean, there’s the clothing... i really want to take my long skirts, whose bulk take up almost the entire suitcase just on their own!  Lol.  Never mind a variety of tops, sweaters, dresses, sleepwear (both summer AND cushy warm winter... OH that housecoat alone is very light weight-wise, but SO bulky!)  Then there’s my hats.. i want to take a good variety of them... gotta have SOME fun up there!  A couple of my Starbucks mugs (i can’t live without them!), a small sampling of my collections (i can’t live a year without them either!).  My netbook.. my traveling scale (so i can keep control of my weight hopefully). My favourite cookbook or two, and art books.  What about art supplies on top of all this??  OH!  I forgot about the bulky parka & clunky Sorel boots! (thanks ladybug... i did get some on sale @ 3 Vets this last weekend!... i hope the -40 rating is ok!)... OH NO!  And my 'beanie' pillow!  I can't live even one night without my enormously heavy & bulky 'husks' pillow!  *sigh* And the list goes on!!  All into just a couple of suitcases??

Well anyway, i’ve got to fit it all in somehow!  Just in case i DO do this mid-season thing.  I am just NOT good at downsizing... as much as i’d love to do it!  Hehe.  I’ll probably moan about this a few more times as time marches on...  :-)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Starbucks in Whitehorse... Just FYI... :-P

View Larger Map MAN i love 'Street View'! Just click on the picture and hold, while you move your mouse... you can look around the entire area! Or even move down the street to look further down! Just an incredible tool! It really give you a feel of the area before you go!

That said... this area is really cute! But the rest of Whitehorse seems to be pretty spread out, with no apartments in this area (which is where i'd want to live). Hmmm. There seems to be more 'downtown living' in Yellowknife... IF my Street View 'walkabout' there is accurate...

A bit of a change of plans....

I spent the entire day yesterday, creating a chart that compares events & festivals in 6 Northern communities… Yellowknife (of course), Hay River (YK’s neighbour across the lake) & Inuvik in NWT, Whitehorse & Dawson City in the Yukon & Skagway Alaska. The entire day & evening, and i’m not even half finished! Haven’t even looked at Skagway (just a 3 hour drive from Whitehorse) yet! Oh, so much fun is to be had up North!

Can Can @ Sourdough Rendezvous!
My reasoning? Well, there are so many great communities up there, and i want to live in them all, but can’t really do that, can i? ...Can i?  But maybe i can live in at least one more… Maybe the one i originally had planned on moving to in the first place? Whitehorse. To be able to kill two birds with one stone (urgh, what a nasty saying, but it applies well… live in two cities in one year) would be wonderful! Maybe then my Northern Yearning Heart will be satiated then, and i can go on with my life & get on the road & see the rest of the continent! I mean, i can just see it... After a year in Yellowknife, saying OK, now a year in Whitehorse! Oo! OO! Then a year in Dawson City!!

Well anyway... on with the events. The only ART Events i found though, was one in Inuvik in July, and Dawson City in August. And speaking of Dawson City… whoa, do they ever have a lot of events! :-) I would love to live in that quaint Gold Rush 1880’s town! Although, there are so many of these festival & events all over, that i would love to go to!  ... Yup.. found one in Nunavut as well...

Burning Away the Winter Blues
I think that’s what i’m going to do with this blog for the next little while... Post festivals around the North that i wish i could be at. ‘Yukon Quest’, the dog sled race from Whitehorse to Fairbanks Alaska just finished last week or so. The “Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous” (in Whitehorse) is starting right about now, so that one will be first. Then the ‘Burning Away the Winter Blues’ (sort of like a mini Burning Man... how wonderful is that?? OH i want to go to that one SO badly!!), next month, also in Whitehorse.  The Snowking Festival & Caribou Carnival (with Ice Castle and all!) is next month in Yellowknife...

*sigh* I wish i could be there...

Anyway, so seeing i have no life right now and obviously too much time on my hands to kill... i started this new version of my Northern blog. The other one’s name was life-in-yellowknife, and seeing i’m hoping to expand my experience of the North a tad, i thought a more all-encompassing version would be more suitable, before the Yellowknife one got too big to transfer all the posts.

Now i’m free to sing the praises of the entire Great White North! :-D

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

So THIS is what i've got to look forward to!

This YouTube video is about to go viral!  And why?  It's too cool!  :-D  What happens when one throws a jug of boiling hot water into the -30C air in Yellowknife?  THIS is what happens....

Thanks YKOnline for posting this!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Getting to know you...

I've been chatting with a few people from Yellowknife recently... making a few friends. It's nice to be able to ask a real Yellowknifer questions about YK! Hehe. And fun to get to know new people! I'm really looking forward to meeting them IRL!

I would love to meet some artists up there as well, and be a part of the art scene if possible. IF there is one! I am a member of a YK artist's facebook group, so i should check that out and see what's going on there! There are some fabulous artists in YK! I love their work!

Well, i have a long journey ahead of me, and only 10 months to meet some people and make some connections before i leave! Not to mention getting this house into shape so that Murray can entertain while i'm gone! Those 10 months seem like a short time when i think that way!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

So much fun!

You know, i am having SO much fun planning this. For years i've fantasized about picking just a few examples of each of my most favourite collections & things (as well as the regular things like clothing, etc), to load into a car and take off & move to a new world. Sometimes the fantasy is just picking tiny representations of my favourite things (little miniature versions), just big enough to fit into a little ziplock bag in my backpack but not take up too much precious room, just in case i become homeless (for some unknown reason... one never knows!). I 'need' my 'things'. The things that represent me... the things that i love. They make me happy just to look at them!

Samples of my toy robots & ray guns... my ‘Toy Story’ alien... a car-dash hula dancer... tiki mugs... my 'Frida' art collection... Maneki Neko (the Asian 'good luck' cat)... mini dolls (Liddle Kiddles, etc)... one of my sock monkeys... devil duck... mermaids... my fav art (other artists and my own)... art reference books... just to name a few. Oh! And mustn't forget all my hats!

And now i'm picking those things for me to take to Yellowknife! A very real possibility, not just a fantasy! It's incredibly invigorating! A fun way to pass the time! They're going to take up valuable cargo space in the car, but as far as i'm concerned, they are more necessary than anything else, because i can always 'shop at the dump' or the Sally Anne for anything else i need! A year is a long time, let alone the possibility of two years, to be without my 'treasures'!

Did i mention this has been fun? :-)

Wow, another epiphany!

Apparently there is much more to this thing than just the dream of living with the 'Lights' for an entire season! I was about to write a short note to a friend of mine as a little reminder, because he hadn't answered my last emails in quite a while (i had questions i had asked him). But i knew it would be silly to do, because he still wouldn't answer. He's just not online much any more. Which is a good thing, in my books actually, and something i aspire to. Actually NONE of my friends answer my emails much any more. I'm not complaining, mind you (*please friends, don't feel bad!*). I'm just commenting on the fact that they have busy social lives in the real world. And my social life is in the VIRTUAL world because i live on a little island (just off the coast of Vancouver) in the real world. So i don't seem to 'mesh' with my friends any more. It seems as if we're drifting apart. It's getting a bit too lonely here for my liking.

And that's where today's epiphany comes in! :-) If i move to Yellowknife, i have a chance to have a REAL life with REAL people in the REAL world! Living downtown in the thick of things... walking to everything... No need to be online hoping day after day to find communication and companionship any more! Of course i'd still write in this blog & on facebook... to keep in touch. But i'd hopefully have real-time friends too. Yet another fantasy could very well come to life! *crosses fingers*

I know i could take the ferry into the city to socialize, but.. it's just not the same as living there. I have to constantly bug people for a place to crash (OR get a motel room) if i want to do anything in the evening (the last ferry being 9:30 pm) and that can get embarrassing and expensive. Not to mention the ferry is really expensive as well!

Come to think of it, why can't i socialize here on my island? Well at this point in time, i actually can't answer that, because i don't  know why! Maybe it's because this island is my refuge away from the world. My sanctuary with a moat. I really do love that. We do have a couple of good friends here though... i really should foster that friendship.. they're good people. Maybe it would help. Geez. *shrug* I'll have to do more thinking on this.

OH, i shouldn't say that ALL of my friends have busy social lives. I do have one friend whose social life is as 'virtual' as mine is! And even though he's horrendously busy at work, he still magically finds time to write huge long emails to me pretty well every day... if i actually wrote to him, that is! Emails back and forth, back and forth... i loved it! But lately, i haven't been writing him. Since Murray & i got back from our month-long road trip recently, from Vancouver to Boston and back, i've been reading so much, obsessing about the possibility of this move, and trying to stay offline myself (i rather enjoyed being off that grid while on the road!), that i've been neglecting HIM! MY bad, and i apologize for that... (sorry Mark!) I'll have to write him today.

So, kudos to my friends who have busy lives! :-) Maybe i'll be able to join that world myself some day. Unfortunately, being stuck on this rock is not conducive to that becoming a reality... at least not in the sense that i'm wanting it to be. I would have to sell this house and move to Vancouver (or Victoria), and that can't happen. At least not for a while. Too much time, sweat & tears have been spent building this house. And Murray doesn't want to live in the city any more anyway. He works there all day and loves to ferry over to his calming rock in the Pacific.

So that's why Yellowknife is appealing to me too! Gets me to that real-time social place i'm yearning to be! Maybe i just need to scratch that itch for a year, and then come back to my reclusive life on my island. Hmmm. I guess we'll have to see just how itchy i am...

Sidenote: I had a dream last night that i got an apartment in Old Montreal! Another dream of mine. Just for the summer, mind you! With no 'Lights' to go with the snow, i could NOT handle Montreal in the winter! The apartment had double french doors to a New Orleans style balcony (oooo, New Orleans...) and it looked down into the busy street. I was SO excited to actually be living the dream... living in Vieux-Montréal! I guess i had that dream because in yesterday's blog post i asked about other hidden fantasies that i could make happen! :-)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Just a little epiphany...

Today i spent almost 2 hours to move less than 1/2 a kilometre. I was in line @ the Peace Arch Boarder Crossing on a “quickie” trip to Bellingham WA for a few cases of Cherry Coke Zero. On a Saturday. At noon. Good thing i enjoy the quiet company of my brain, because i had a LOT of time to think!

I LOVE to think! Think & plan & fantasize. And try to figure out WHY i think the way that i do and do the things that i think about. No surprise there. I’m female.

So while contemplating in that lineup, i had a minor epiphany. I figured out one of the reasons why this move appeals to me so much. It partially satisfies a very old “secret” fantasy of mine. To disappear off the face of the earth & start a new life somewhere else. Of course there will be no earth-face disappearing (i love my family & friends too much to do that). But it does kind of fulfill the rest of the fantasy... if only for a year or two! Now THAT was something i never thought could ever happen! I like it when fantasies come true!

Hmmm... Now what other hidden fantasies can i make happen...

Friday, July 16, 2010

Quiz: "Are you a true Yellowknifer?"

I did a silly little quiz on facebook today, just for the heck of it...

"Are you a true Yellowknifer?"...

My Result: You are the real deal

"You were likely born in Yellowknife or have lived here most of your life, you know everything there is to know about Yellowknife, and could probably work as a tour guide".

LOL... talk about a Yellowknifer wannabe! LMAO! I didn't know that i knew all that was to be known about Yellowknife! So there you go! :-)