Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Big Book of Baby Names anyone??


Something you might be quick to notice here is that there seems to be a distinct lack of names. First names, last names, nicknames, etc. Or maybe it's all just a big joke that I don't get. But for some reason, it seems to be a requirement that all kids born here must have the name Charlie, Francis, Kay, Blake, or John/Johnny. Doesn't matter if it's the first or last name, they just need it. Sure, maybe I'm stretching the truth a bit, but isn't that what being a good neighbor is all about? (It isn't? Since when?...Oh, I see then)
To be honest, it's kind of fun since you're never more than 3 tries away from guessing a person's first and/or last name.
As always, I've provided you with an example of the fun:

The names of most geographical sites or features are all pretty generic too. Well the English names are anyways. I'd try and say a couple of the traditional Gwich'in names but I haven't eaten in a while and I don't feel like hyperventalating and passing out. No lyin! Lets see...there's Rat River, Stoney Creek, Bear Creek, "the foothills", and so on. Again, while I may be a bit unnecessarily critical, I love it all the same. Sometimes I feel like an adventure star when I get to say things like, "Gee wiz Cap'n! I seen some poachers coming down over the foothills on their way to Stoney Creek! Whatayasay we cut 'em off at the Rat River??"
(okay, so maybe I haven't been able to say that yet, but summer is coming, and you just know that evil gold prospector from 3 towns over is going to pull some crazy scheme! Remember when he tried to steal all the drinking water? Or when he tried to ban dancing all over town? Oh sometimes I think he'll never learn.)
Where was I? Ah yes, nowhere. So there's maybe another good week or 2 of skidooing left here, so I've been lucky enough to get out a lot in the past week or so. And of course, that luck was short lived. Although there was a couple amazing trips back into the mountains and in some good powder, there were some rough spots. Such as getting lost:
(notice the puzzled look of "I'm lost!" on Jason's face. While I, taking the picture, was completely not lost.)
And then there was yesterday when the shock snapped in half. Here's my brother showing off his lowrider skidoo:
Or the time when I was chased home by a pack of snowmobiling outlaws and their invisible leader:
(Or was that merely the broken skidoo being towed home?...hmmm my memory grows hazy)

Despite the setbacks, I did get to see some great sites. On the weekend a group of us travelled to a spot called Millen Creek, which is named after the RCMP officer who was shot and killed by "The Mad Trapper" back in 1931. You should look it up on wikipedia if you have the chance, it's pretty interesting. It's a tough spot to get to, but then we were fortunate enough to have one of the RCMP officers who was on the trip spot the memorial. It was in rough shape as it looked as though it was mangled by a Grizzly, but we were at least able to get a couple pics at the site:

And here's another group shot of everyone trying to spot some caribou up in the Richardson Mountains:

I know the days are going to get a hell of a lot longer, but already I'm finding it a bit odd. As a right this at 2am I can still faintly see daylight over the mountains in the distance, and at 11pm the light was just starting to get darker. But it does make for some great sunsets and twilight hours. I shot this one off the back deck at 10:30pm about a week ago:


Well, apparently there's Carnival happening all this coming weekend, so I should have lots of pics to put up after that. I don't really know what to expect, but I've heard rumors of snowmobile races, tea boiling contests, and last but not least, tents set up smoking caribou and moose meat down on the river. Now THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is what you would call a shindig.

Have a good week,
alex

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Skidooing and other made up words of nonsense...


It has yet again been a week with no updates, but considering it takes several minutes to do up each post, and also considering the fact that I grow more and more lazy with every day that passes, I'd say I'm doing pretty good.
Today's post will focus on snowmobiling, as it is a religion here, or an addiction I guess I should say. Because while a lot of people claim they're religious but in fact hardly ever goto church, people with an addiction will often try and downplay the frequency of their indulges. People snowmobile (or"skidoo" if you wanna be with "it")here a lot. Almost too much some would say. Not just once in a while, but everyday for the most part. You know how you'll often see parents waiting outside of schools to pick up their kids in their cars? According to my sister (who has been teaching at the school), you'll see a row of skidoos lined up waiting to pick up their kids. So naturally,to fit in with the cool kids, I try to skidoo as much as possible. While I don't have my own, I've been lucky enough to be able to "borrow" a nearby one frequently. There's literally hundreds of nearby trails to go on that are within minutes of the glazed Hamlet, I mean Hamlet, and even more areas to travel to on daytrips.
Of course you need to bundle up a bit, but even over the course of the past 3 weeks, the weather has changed significantly in that while I'd have to be dressed with as many layers as I could fit on before (and still be a bit cold), now I can wear a t-shirt with my coat, and then maybe a balaclava (oh grow up Jill Clark) with goggles. And still be sweating. Another benefit of being able to dress lighter is that it doesn't look like I pooped my pants or star in a rap video. (see first pic of this post for an example. Or, just look at the next pic down)

There's a park in the middle of the community where you can zip around too, but while it's heavily packed down, if you really try you might get yourself stuck. I have done so here, obviously as an example for all you viewers at home. Of course I would never get stuck unless I completely meant to. Don't listen to that guy. Or that guy. Or those 2 people over there that are saying otherwise.

As you can tell, I can really play the part of example-giver. See the questioning of God's existence at such a painful time here:

Where does everyone meet while skidooing you may ask? Why, at the Co-op of course.


But enough about that. I'll leave you today with some pics from a day trip to Bear Creek I went on friday with some men from the community. I only really met 2 of them that day. And the other guy is my brother's boss. So naturally we all got along like old grade school chums reunited:

But seriously, it was a great time and hopefully I get to do it again soon. It was about a 45 mile ride each way out to Bear Creek, and along the way we got to go through the Richardson mountains and on several big lakes and rivers. Needless to say my back still feels like hell today, buuuuuut what can ya do really. The cabin you see in the pics is one of several throughout the area built by Natural Resources that are there for anyone to use. And use it we did.
Anyways, here's the link to the album with some of the pics, enjoy!:

Bear Creek Album

Take care,
alex

Sunday, April 1, 2007

How to stay active when common sense tells you it's way too @#$&@*$ cold outside to even think about going out there...


(Lets just get this out of the way, this is a real post, and not some trick, because as you may or may not know, there just isn't any April Fooling in the NWT. It just doesn't happen.)
Okay so its been nearly a week since I updated, mainly because I've been sick most of the week and apparently there must be some sort of bylaw here that when one person gets sick everyone else has to get sick. And everyone is very law abiding too it would seem. As a result, things have been pretty slow and noneventful all week. Somehow I need to find a way to blame this on Whitehorse Motors. Give it time.

Anyways, so as some of you may have guessed, it's a lot tougher to stay active up here, or at least to motivate yourself to get outside when it's -30 to -40 most days. But it is possible. And even more so now since in the little bit the weather has been insanely nice. (INSANELY!!)
In the shade or out on the river it's still around -20 or so, but when you're walking around the hamlet (now fat-free!) in the sun it feels much closer to zero, and all you need is a jacket on, maybe a toque. Believe me when I say this is a good thing.
The main thing I've done to try and stay busy is to walk out on the river or snow shoe, that is until I broke one of the shoes last week. But I do have a new pair on the way from MEC in the next few days. So put down that phone, for I will make it.
Right, so on with a couple photos:
Here's a picture of said snow shoes, pre-brokenness

Please take note of the special "I was manufactured in the 70's" aura coming off of the snow shoes. Although they were quite clunky and unstylish, they got the job done. Plus, they were always down for a spur of the moment photo-shoot. You go snowshoes! You go.

I had no prior use with snowshoes before a few weeks ago, mainly because when the hell would you get to use them in Nova Scotia anyways? But the feeling of going through waist deep snow while floating on top is basically better then anything ever experienced by anyone in the history of Canada. No- the history of EVER!!! Ok so maybe I'm exaggerating a bit, but it's fun.
There's all kinds of different terrain to try out, such as deep powder in the woods:

Or a tundra like frozen river where the snow is a lot more packed down:

There's a few trails around which are mainly skidoo trails, but for the most part you gotta carve out your own paths everywhere, which is of course half of the fun. The other half is making snow angels.

(Please don't hold that against me)

But enough with the snowshoeing.

Luckily, I have access to a very nearby weight room. We're talking about 40 feet from the back door, literally. While it's not the biggest or best stocked gym, I can't really complain. Especially since there's no other gym to goto. haha You see my conundrum here, yes?
So here's the layout:



As you can see, there's not much to it, but it has most of what you could ever need.And what it lacks in equipment, it more than makes up for it in motivational tools. If these posters don't get you motivated, you must be dead:



The middle poster says something about how that guy is a cop hater and trains daily to fight cops on the street. Go figure.
So then you look out the door from the weight room and what do you see? Oh- it's a row of cell blocks:

One night I worked out and there was a guy screaming his head off in one of the cells. It was a good day.

So those are my main 2 sources of fitness, or main 2 sources of anything for that matter. Sometimes I feel a bit like my parents cause my sister and I will walk around McPherson commenting about the houses and the things on their lawn. Except instead of commenting on a new fence or car in the yard, we instead comment on things like new skidoos or Moose antlers nailed to the sides of houses. I need to get me one of those.

Anyways, that's all for today. Keep the comments coming, I've been loving those. Especially about the food. mmmmmmmmmmmm porkchop sandwiches.

Take care,
Alex