Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ice. Ice? Ice! ICE. (Doesn't look like an actual word after a while does it?)

Greetings from the tropical Northwest Territories!
After a sustained cold snap of -40C (and below) for over 2 weeks, a chinook hit Simpson last Friday, blasting the area with unseasonably warm air and temperatures until Monday evening. But enough of the facts...what am I getting at? It was hell damn ass hot here on the weekend!

I have experienced stints of warm weather in the middle of winter before (I am from Nova Scotia after all) so I didn't really expect much other than less layers when I heard about the chinook coming. Well kiss my grits, cause I was wrong as not being right can be! Apparently when there is a shit-load of snow on the ground and massive amounts of ice everywhere, things can get messy quick with unexpected warm temperatures. I'll come back to this later.

Anywho, this weekend turned out to be great. FANTASTIC even!
The original plan was to go with a couple others down to Nahanni Butte (that's "bewt", not "butt") and hike up Nahanni Butte Mountain from there, but at the last second things changed and instead I was presented with the opportunity to skidoo out to Cli Lake with a couple of people to their cabin. What's a Cli Lake you ask? (and I thank you for asking so nicely. Those other little bastards always be asking out of turn!)
Cli Lake is on the eastern edge of the Nahanni National Park and is wedged into the Nahanni Range of mountains. Look! (as always, click on the picture for a bigger version)

We drove about a hour north of Simpson to the Wrigley ferry landing and then skidood (skidooed? skidoodoo'd? hmm...) a little over 3 hours west to get there. If you can't already tell from the picture at the start of this post...if "God" were to create a place that he would skidoo to for a weekend...I can say with no doubt in my mind that it would probably be just like Cli Lake. On with the pictures!

The lake is hardly ever fished, almost entirely undeveloped, and has been known to quote Shakespeare with impeccable timing.

As amazing as it was to be able to walk around with a t-shirt on, the warm weather made a lot of what we planned to do not possible. Take the lake for example...which was supposed to have been ice, was in fact water. For those not aware, skidooing does not mix well with water. (too salty!)

As a result, we weren't able to explore around the lake or check any of the fish nets. Bah!
Anywho, I really enjoyed the scenery out there, and I learned a lot about the land to boot. The 2 guys who's cabin it was are as knowledgeable as they come when it comes to being in the bush, so it really was a privilege to get to spend time on the land with them. Of course it's not all glamour and good times out there...witness the horror!:

Just kidding! I bet you thought that marten was dead huh? Well I did too, but once John got me to remove myself from a sobbing fetal position, he explained to me that Mister Marten was merely playing a nasty trick on me and was actually sleeping. Shame on you Mister Marten!

So that was the weekend at Cli Lake.
ummm so I know this is a bit unrelated, but Mister Marten sure has been sleeping a long time! He's still napping! Go figure.

Right, so getting back to the start of this post, and the title of the post...by the time we got back to Simpson on Sunday night the whole village was a complete mess! The chinook melted a good chunk of the snow around town, and then as the temps starting dropping a bit all of that water turned to ice. (I KNOW! Whoda thunk it??)
The entire village is basically one giant skating rink. True, one of my lifelong passions is to secretly laugh whenever someone falls on ice (oh come on! I usually stop laughing if they get gravely injured), but I've also been having a lot of issues getting to work and back. Turns out I'm a "laugh-faller"! What I mean is that I let out a big "HAH!" as I have a near-miss slip on the sidewalk.
You really learn a lot about a person when you see how they handle a public slip or near-slip on the ice. You see those who, without shame, let out a girlish scream as they slip. You see those who get flat out pissed off at the world when they slip. And then you see those, like me, who let out a big burst of nervous laughter...as if to exclaim to those in witness: "HA! Gotcha! I bet you thought I was gonna fall there!" or, if an actual fall takes place: "Ha! See how I fell? I did that for your amusement! Good times...good times."
As I've told several people already, my dream is to see someone walking across the road holding a huge stack of loose pots and pans and then take a dive. Hahaha! I can make myself laugh every time just thinking about how hilarious the sight and sound of that would be! Ohhhhh one can dream can't they?

By the way, if someone can make this dream possible I will pay money.


Tina said...

Those pictures are stunning. So if it's Stupid BC and Smelly Alberta, what is Saskatchewan? :)

Megan said...

Reflections of snow-covered hills!

Alex said...

ta da! I uhh umm thought you would like them Megan!
Good eye

Alex said...

Potty-mouthed Saskatchewan of course! I feel like I'm the only one who knows the proper names of these provinces or something...

Meandering Michael said...

Aw, John never took me to Cli Lake!

Meandering Michael said...

Oh, and if you ever make it to the top of Tthenaago (the Nahanni Butte), take your GPS and look for the geocache I left there!

April said...

Geocache? Wait a minute Alex - have you taken up caching? Hahaha - excellent

Kennie said...

WOW - those are amazing pictures Alex! Heck, views like that make moving down there sound like a plan (since I am starting the job hunt again).

And I highly enjoyed the map - very clever you are :-P