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A new installment of Our Serial Epic

A new installment of our serial epic journey…wherein our Intrepid Adventurers (or one of them anyway) Voyages to the Far North, traversing along Thunderous Waterways! Encountering Giant Beasts! And fighting off Blood-Thirsty Hordes!!!!!!! All in the company of the dreaded…….MOTHER-IN-LAW!!!!!!!!!!

Now Illustrated!!!

There will also be Bison Butts.

Which will also be illustrated.



Our new adventure began one hot sunny afternoon as we lounged about our reading room, when the mother-in-law declared She was Bored. It seemed she had become discontented by the lack of stimulating activity to be found in our sleepy little town and so she proposed an expedition to the fabled Yellowknife, in the Far North.

After a few days of intensive not-doing-anything-at-all to prepare, except to buy too much random food, we set off in the pale light of mid-morning. Our expedition got off to a rousing start as a scant half-hour from home we spotted a baby bear running across the road, swiftly followed by its teenage, unmarried mother (well, ok, but it was an awfully small adult bear). Unfortunately, we were unable to document this noteworthy sighting, as my camera was in the glove compartment and by the time we pulled up near enough to capture these fine specimens, all that remained to be seen of their passing were their furry bear butts disappearing into the underbrush.

Those little buggers are fast!

Most fortunately for us, we were able to procure the services of a talented artist to portray these beasts!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/85834740@N00/216690290/

Shortly after this thrilling experience, we arrived in a small town where the natives were enacting a strange procession. Several people had attached antique-styled vehicles to the backs of horses, which they then paraded down the main thoroughfare of the town to the praise and rejoicing of what appeared to be the majority of the population. Some of these acolytes were even dispersing alms to the crowds. Perhaps it was a religious festival of some sort.

While we did manage to document this startling sight, as the fervent crowds trapped us, the pictures mysteriously did not turn out, so we turned again to our artist-in-residence.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/85834740@N00/216690291/in/set-1553760/

We travelled onward for many hours following this, with never a town or village in sight. And no bathrooms either. (Do NOT drink a cup of coffee before leaving for the northern territories, and take another for the road. No, REALLY.) After a few short breaks to sustain ourselves, at villages apparently consisting of a gas station/general/store/inn and one house, we continued north. (The town of Indian Cabins, last town south of the border, is just that. A general store/gas station and what appears to be three portables, which are presumably, the cabins.)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/85834740@N00/222455520/

Finally, we arrived at a great sign in the wilderness, the passing of which indicated that we had crossed the border into a strange territory.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/85834740@N00/212852027/

Not long after, it became apparent we were travelling alongside a roaring river. We stopped to see this Alexandra Falls for ourselves. We travelled along treacherous paths through dense forest to get there.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/85834740@N00/222455519/

A most wondrous sight it was.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/85834740@N00/212852026/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/85834740@N00/212852025/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/85834740@N00/212852024/

Unfortunately, because the mom-in-law was unable to walk any great distance, we were unable to proceed down the gorge to the companion Louise Falls.

See why she is so dreaded! Terrifying!!!!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/85834740@N00/212852030/

As it was getting late, we attempted to find ourselves some shelter for the night. This proved to be difficult, as we had not, in fact arranged any ahead of time. After a long drive 45 minutes out of our way, we discovered that a wedding and a native gathering had booked every hotel room in both the local communities. We were in luck, however, as a kind front desk clerk at one of them helped us book one at the next community north toward Yellowknife.

We continued on our journey through the vast Canadian Boreal forest enjoying the blazing sunset. And enjoying it, and enjoying it, and enjoying it…..

Hmmm, that reminds me, the Umpteenth Annual "Oh Gods, We're So Very, Very Sorry" Boreal Master Symposium is coming up in October at the Known World Bardic Congress & Cooks' Collegium

http://www.ece.uwaterloo.ca/~arnora/arnora/cooksbards06.htm#event

For papers presented at past Boreal Symposiums, see here:
http://www.ece.uwaterloo.ca/~arnora/arnora/borealhome.htm

All too soon our journey took us on a perilous crossing of the Mighty Mackenzie River.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/85834740@N00/212847925/

A handy barge was available for us to cross on. I hear in the winter they actually built a road of ice upon which to cross.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/85834740@N00/216690292/

Upon reaching the other side safely, we were welcomed by a committee of the indigenous wildlife. It appeared a new intern was being trained.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/85834740@N00/212847924/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/85834740@N00/212847921/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/85834740@N00/212847923/

We soon arrived at our lodgings for the night, located at a most providential spot. We were still enjoying the sunset when we retired for the night.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/85834740@N00/216699243/

The next day we arose at a bright and early mid-morning and continued on our way. We expressed a hope for another view of the giant beasts indigenous to this region, and no sooner had we pulled back onto the road north, than this fellow appeared.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/85834740@N00/212847920/

Note the flies. I have no idea what they were, though they looked like a cross between a miniature housefly and a flying ant. At least they didn’t bite. They did, however appear in vast swarms the moment you stopped your car. We had to learn to set our camera ready, roll the window down quick, take the picture and roll it back up. And we still had to herd masses of the little buggers out as we started to drive again.

It wasn’t much longer until we saw yet another of these beasts, strolling down the middle of the high, as laissez faire as you please. Actually what we saw was his butt. I told you there would be Bison Butt.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/85834740@N00/212854009/

At first, ALL we saw was his butt, but none of those pictures turned out.

So we continued on for several more hours. Many more Bison-beasts were seen, often strolling casually on the road, though they seemed quite good at not only recognizing the rumble of cars coming, but understanding which side of the road they would be on based on which direction the noise was coming from. Some were wallowing in sandy pits worn out of the grass.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/85834740@N00/222455516/

Blood-thirsty hordes were fended off each time were so unwise as exit our vehicle, though the greatest of the blood-thirsty horde was yet to come!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/85834740@N00/222455517/

Eventually we reached fabled Yellowknife, a golden city in the north, where we were warmly greeted at the aptly named ‘Visitor’s Centre’. Each of us were gifted with a golden knife, and a sheaf of brightly coloured paper detailing the delights of this legendary city (regretfully, we arrived a few days in advance of the yearly Arts festival, and did not have sufficient funds to stay until it started. Dammit.)

Being greatly exhausted from our arduous journey, we then repaired to a hostelry and retired for the night. Not, however, before exclaiming over the view.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/85834740@N00/212847919/in/set-1553760/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/85834740@N00/212835329/in/set-1553760/

And enjoying the sunset. For hours. Again.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/85834740@N00/212835328/in/set-1553760/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/85834740@N00/212835327/in/set-1553760/

The next day, my companion, the mom-in-law, continued to find herself exhausted by the journey and so, leaving her to sleep, I decided to walk the streets of this fair city, send a few missives to friends and family and take in what sights I could. Shortly after, I was joined by the mom-in-law, and we took our sight-seeing further afield. We saw many great and wonderful things.

The largest of all the Bloody Thirsty Hordes (we think it may be their Queen)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/85834740@N00/212854011/

Giant piles of stone

http://www.flickr.com/photos/85834740@N00/222476672/

And I took some photos of Planes for my father, the Airline Historian

http://www.flickr.com/photos/85834740@N00/212854016/in/set-1553760/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/85834740@N00/212854014/in/set-1553760/

I also learned a new textile technique called tufting.

http://www.bearclawgallery.com/Gifts.aspx?GiftID=24

They dye caribou or moose hair, bundle it together, and then sew it down (a bit like tying the centre of a pompom. After the hair is all in place, they shape the tufts with scissors.

Unfortunately, as our time and funds were limited, after another good night’s rest we were once again on the road, for our return journey.

The land up there seems much like Northern Ontario, with smaller trees.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/85834740@N00/212835325/in/set-1553760/

More wallowing bison were seen.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/85834740@N00/212835324/

And some spectacular views

http://www.flickr.com/photos/85834740@N00/212835323/in/set-1553760

Accommodations on route were easier to come by on the return journey (apparently due to a dearth of weddings and Native gatherings mid-week).

Our return trip was considerable less adventurous, though we had cause to bemoan our lack of foresight in not bringing along any Arrogant Worms (That’s good road music, it is).

Only one last adventure faced us before arriving home.

Deer butts. Just outside of town.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/85834740@N00/212852031/in/set-1553760/

And that dear readers, is the end of our adventure to legendary Yellowknife, Golden City of the Far North.

We leave you now, with one last image. Completely gratuitous Cat Butt shot.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/85834740@N00/222476674/

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fuzzy

November 2010

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