Thursday, January 26, 2012
Facinating People and Chasing the Aurora: Yellowknife, Part 2
During last night's aurora tour we drove three hours in the wilderness outside Yellowknife. It was snowing and cloudy, but our native guide Joe, who is a Dene Indian, thought the snow and clouds were moving in a certain direction and would clear, but they didnt. We had seven people on the tour last night, including an amazing Chinese family from Toronto .. the wife/mother has been to many locations chasing the aurora (Whitehorse, Yukon and Finland). They brought the whole family this time and although they did see aurora on Sunday and Monday nights, the aurora eluded all of us last night due to cloud cover. You may have heard on the news about the solar storms taking place right now, which would normally make for a stellar aurora experience, but first we have to clear the clouds
Even though we saw no aurora last night, I had quite an education ... what a wild and harsh country this is. I saw the ice roads that the truckers use to get up to the mines. I learned there are 2000 lb buffalos in the Northwest Territories. Who knew? When we came to one of the vantage points on the route we would all get out of the truck and look around, and Joe would have to take a flashlight to check there are no packs of wolves waiting to prey on us! I also heard stories of the many people who have died when the ice gave way while driving on it (no I am NOT going on any ice roads or lakes!). Apparently you can hear it cracking sometimes when you drive on it, even though it is several feet thick. The wildness outside the city is mind boggling!
One thing is clear to me, I (and many Canadians) are and have been completely unaware and ignorant of the North. I have a feeling I will be coming back here again!
Since I didn't make it back from aurora watching until 2 a.m., I missed the dog sledding tour I was to go on today. Oh well. This evening I'm teaching the first half of my "Reflections" class.
On Tuesday evening I delivered my "From Inspiration to Art Quilt" lecture at the Yellowknife Quilters Guild meeting. I met many women who had moved here from all over Canada and love it here!
Yesterday I walked around old town wearing nothing but sneakers and wool socs on my feet. At -10 the warm boots I brought with me would have been way too hot. I made a visit to the Gallery of the Midnight Sun. It sells hand-made arts and crafts from Northern Canada.
In the evening I taught my thread dyeing class. The guild here has access to a wonderful studio space used by the local mixed media group. Everyone seemed to enjoy dyeing thread.
Stay tuned for "Yellowknife, Part 3". I hope to have some aurora photos!