So much to share about this trip and I guess I got to get pen to paper, or rather less romantically finger to screen to grasp the memories with clarity before they’re swept into the blithering mists of my god awful mind.
One of the things I was most excited for in my trip and was true to expectations, as one of the most memorable for me, was my personal helicopter tour. ‘Why so exciting?’ you ask. Well it’s not because it was my first time in a helicopter, because it wasn’t; it was very much about the pilot. Since the pilot for this very special tour was none other than my lovely Man. Seeing my joint partner in moronic conversation, bad jokes and general banter doing the serious side of his life was in itself entertainment, although notably necessary. The helicopter flight (I wanted to call it a ride but felt that seemed a bit fairground) itself was amazing for the ability to see the vast natural landscape and beauty of the area. So peaceful.
We also saw what I imagine was a less peaceful moment captured in time. A car half collapsed into a lake and frozen in there until spring. Clearly someone decided to go ‘ice road trucking’ without actually checking the ice – a lesson to be learnt for all there. Luckily as we understand the people did get away, but the car could not be removed and sits there pending it’s probable collapse into the remote lake sometime in Spring.
Most magical of all in our little outing was finding Moose – a cow and a calf. We saw some fresh looking tracks but didn’t presume likely to actually see them, when suddenly as if I was David Attenborough himself I spotted movement in the trees. Sure enough lolloping about in a way surely only a Moose can do, there they were! We didn’t stay long as we didn’t wish to disturb them, but that sight alone made me extremely happy. Wilderness, wildlife and nature have always been the most fascinating and life affirming things to me.
Our next adventure took in yet more of these elements. Dog sledding. I really had no preconceptions about this, I had been interested to try and as ever when it’s an activity involving animals my only stipulation is for it to be a place where the animals are well looked after and cared for. We certainly found that. The best part was that me and Man got our own sleigh and both had chance at driving. Which quite frankly I shall now admit i was hugely apprehensive of, even though I was not going to admit it at the time.
I was passenger first, mostly for the above reason. As a passenger you sit in the sleigh and are basically wrapped into it in a canvas cover that seeks to keep you warm and dry, yet is also somewhat like a hybrid between a straight jacket and Dracula’s coffin. Taking video or photos from within ones personal crypt was distinctly challenging, yet probably it’s done that way on purpose since I swear I nearly lost my hand to frost bite in the space of 2 minutes at -20 celcius and the wind rushing past us.
Photography wisely abandoned I could focus on the enjoyment – we all too often lose this in the desperate attempt to capture a still of the memory, so I’m grateful for being tied in. Quite the opposite to when you’re making them wait, when the dogs are running they are silent. Tongues and tails wagging, bounding in the air and with some severe cases of ADHD the dogs were on task. The sleighs were zipping through the soft white snow and the woodland all around us was silent. These were the most gloriously peaceful moments I have experienced in quite some time. Which seems odd when you’re dodging between trees, around bends and over mini moguls, yet the totality of nature around you and the dogs themselves were magical.
Being an animal lover I loved being able to pet the dogs at the half way point and find out more about them. All their own wonderful personalities and all very vocal to tell us all to ‘shut the eff up and get back to running’, which we studiously did.
Now it was my turn to drive. Lean into your turns, hold on firm, keep your feet on the runners of the sleigh at all times apart from utilizing one foot to push the brake down on hills and corners. And don’t get closer than 10ft to the sleigh in front. This means slow and this means stop, this means you’re a moron and the other means sod off. And we were off. And it was totally fine. I mean at the end of the day the dogs knew what they were doing more than I did – we’d have had a problem if they put me out front to pull and the dogs to drive but this really was pretty straight forward, since these dogs know these tracks – this was no their first tourist driving rodeo. It was Exhilarating nontheless – the quiet, the bracing wind in your face and the teamwork of woah man and beastie.
There are still more tales of Yellowknife to be told. I had to write this one because having not read my blog for a month, suddenly Man was on my case about updates – what gives bud? However, at this time from all the nature I am inspired to get back to my horse riding which I have sadly neglected for nearly a year!