Monday, August 27, 2007

The wedding was terrific. We are really happy that we attended. It was a terrific time, Barry was the "named photographer" so he spent his time snapping pics on his brother's fancy new camera. The kids behaved beautifully and had a terrific time on the dance floor. Cassidy has natural rhythm and Elijah invented a truly strange dance step which involved hopping about on one foot, we could not imagine how he managed to keep it up for such an extended length of time.Quinn enjoyed the procedings and slept enough for Trish to teach Cassidy a few dance steps. He is a very alert young man, taking in whatever is happening, never dwelling too long on one thing but casting about to discover what else is new and different in his universe.

Kendra and James seem well suited for one another and it was a pleasure to get to know them better and here some of the stories about their past. The ceremony was performed by Margaret, the groom's Mom. and I could not believe how composed she was during it. It was great to have all of the Sam Lange's immediate family present and accounted for in one spot, and we have pictures to prove it. The wedding was held on farm property that has been converted to host weddings. There was a place to camp and hold a campfire, open space for the kids to run around and play games as well as a lovely dell where the wedding took place and numerous spots for truly memorable photos to be taken.

We are safely back in Yellowknife preparing for another work day tomorrow. Barry is going to stay in Yk tomorrow and then head back to Fort Simpson on Wednesday. He will take the car and then drive out with it when he leaves in Oct.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

We are now in Innisfail, Alberta. Heather, Cassidy, Elijah, Barry and I drove from Yellowknife. We are here for the wedding of our nephew James Lange, Bruce and Margaret's son. We left on Thursday night after work. We got to the ferry at 2315 hours, the last one was supposedly at 2330 so made it with plenty of time. Cassidy managed to stay awake so that she could experience the ferry ride, but Elijah was fast asleep and missed it. He did not want to nap the rest of the trip in the car in fear that he would miss the ferry on the way back. Grandma absolutely promised that she would wake him up the next time we get to the ferry. We arrived in High Level at 033o and got a hotel room and crashed for 4 hours. We were on the road again at 0730 and 10 hours later at 1730 we followed the signs to the wedding site.

The kids were amazing in the car, no fighting and we had great fun, singing, playing games and just looking at everything. We saw bison grazing on the sides of the road, a small black bear gamboling along in the ditch, a coyote scooting across the highway, cows hanging out in a field, horses standing on a hill, a bull surveying his domain and a beaver dam just waiting for some action. We also saw huge amounts of hay in bales waiting to be put away, everytime Elijah saw it he would say "Hay", and I would think he was saying "Hey", and ask him what he would like. It took me quite a while to not react when he would exclaim "Hay"! We had a great trip down and we have 4 movies for the kids to watch on the way back. If I can just remember to charge up the computer we should be in great shape. We plan to head part way back on Sunday and then hopefully drive the part of the road where the bison hang out in the daylight and arrive in Yellowknife late in the evening on Monday.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Heather and I and the kids all went to the beach today. It was the perfect day, sunny, not too hot, NO BUGS. The kids played in the water, we played soccer and built a sand castle and then we had a weiner roast. Cassidy got stung by a wasp when she was changing and had a huge welt on the leg. Elijah discovered snails in the sand at the water's edge and was busy poking in the sand finding as many as he could. We went and had a weiner roast and then headed back to the beach. We had finished drinking our juice boxes and Elijah figured out a great game. You take the empty juice box and you blow it up and then you stick the straw back in it and put it on the ground. Then you stomp on it and see how far the straw will fly. It was a classic little boy game, eventually the juice box would give up the ghost and burst and that made the best noise. Cassidy was a great help carrying the firewood up to the campfire and carrying the water to put out the fire afterwards. There was much stirring of ashes to make sure nothing was still burning.

On the way to the beach Elijah wanted to have a smiling contest and all our cheeks were truly sore once we got there from the huge smiles plastered on our faces. Grandma suggested a frowning contest shortly afterwards but no one could maintain a good frown, although I think Cassidy held out the longest.
I finished off the day by going to spend dinner with some of my old sailing buddies and remeniscing about days gone by and making plans for September long weekend in Moose Bay. It should be a blast.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Our trip into Tungsten was wonderful. It was a 20 year blast into the past. The weather when we left Simpson was not good, low clouds, wind and rain and were not even sure we would be able to land in Tungsten, but the weather gods smiled upon us and it cleared up as we flew over Virginia Falls and then cleared further on the approach to Tungsten so we could see our old friends, Baldy and the Dutchman in all their glory.

We were met at the runway by Mark, the safety guy, and after donning the required safety vest and hard hat we, Barry and I and the pilot, got a wonderful tour of Tungsten. We walked down the streets and visited our townhouse. I wandered into the out of bounds old school house to take pictures, then we got to go through the rec centre. It was almost sad to see the condition of it. Part of the top of the rec center had been severly damaged by an avalanche, but the lower part is still in good condition and the gym is in use, although there is no heat in the building. Tungsten is strickly a fly in operation now, 3 weeks in and 3 weeks out, with employees from all over.
Here the wall of the rec centre was buckled by the force if the avalanche.

The safety guy lives in Comox on Vancouver Island. Barry was fascinated by how the mine was being run now and quizzed Mark on where the ore was coming from and the changes in the mine and the mill. Barry smoozing with the current occupant of his old office and once again enjoying the tremendous view.

After we finished out walk down memory lane we were treated to lunch in the old cook house. Then we were driven down to the hot springs and Barry and I doffed our clothes and soaked in the natural hot springs. The pilot unfortuneately had to go back to town to make a phone call (aw gee, too bad) so we had the place in ourselves for about 1/2 an hour and soaked our troubles away. What a treat. The hot springs were pretty much as we remembered them and we were told that they are used a lot by the workers.

The flight back was quite spectacular, flying over a very rugged mountain range. We f;ew down the North Nahanni River and saw the confluence of the mighty Mackenzie and the Liard River as we approached Fort Simpson. When we landed it was rainy, cloudy and cold once again. I have fulfilled a dream of returning to Tungsten and although we did not get to trudge up the mountain to look for the tree we climbed when a grizzly chased us, it couldn't have been a better trip. We felt very priveleged to be allowed access to the town site because Mark made it very clear they did not allow casual visitors onto the site. Thank you North American Tungsten for your superb northern hospitality!

Notice the avalanches and the huge slump in the snow in this mountain shot.

Where the Mackenzie meets the Liard, a very important historic spot.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Well, it is official now. The crew of Obsession, minus the Spinnaker Stud, were presented with the Commissioner's Cup in the Commissioner's office on Wednesday. We got the cup and had to endure a gazzillion photos and then we were served lunch. The Commissioner's Office is wonderful with all sorts of paintings and sculptures that have been presented over the years, so I had tremendous fun snooping around all the treasures. The Commish gave us a bottle of champagne to drink out of the cup as well as some Tim Horton's coffee with a cup glued to the top so that it wouldn't spill out on the water. He had some nice photos of us as we approached the start line in Hay River.

This weekend I am heading back to Fort Simpson. Barry and I have tentatively scheduled a trip into the Nahanni with a stop in Tungsten. I called someone at the mine yesterday to arrange to see the town and although I have not heard back from him, one of our buddies who used to live in Tungsten, when we were there, had done some ground work for me and said that he had already talked to the guy and that he was willing to come and meet our plane and take us on a tour of the town. It will be a trip down memory lane. We all lived there from 1984 to 1986, when they shut the mine down and have not been back since. Tungsten in located just over western NWT border about 200 miles north of the BC border, just south and west of the present boundaries of the Nahanni National Park. We are going to be able to fly over Victoria Falls and down the Nahanni River before we land in Tungsten. Now, according to the airline fellow we should be able to stay in Tungsten for a couple of hours if the weather is good, we might even be able to get in a soak at the natural hot springs. I am bringing my towel for sure.

Heather and the kids were over at the house I am house sitting the other night. They have a big trampoline in the back yard so wonderful amounts of fun were had by all. I showed the kids around the house and Elijah thought he had hit the motherlode because there are 2 boys that live here, one in 9 and the other 10, so there were tons of toys for boys all over their rooms. The light sabres came into play very quickly. I am going to have them to sleep over next week and maybe the Lego will get used!!!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The crew of ObsessionThe crew of Ice Cubed The crew of Morning Glory

Well I went on the 25th annual Commissioner's Cup on the weekend. It is a 240 nautical mile sailboat race to Hay River and back. We left Friday morning and got into Hay River at about 1630 hours on Saturday, having motored the last 40 miles into Hay River due to lack of wind. We had a race dinner with the Commissioner of the NWT and then departed Hay River at 0900 on Sunday morning for Yellowknife. There was a brisk wind blowing in our faces as we left and we tacked into it for about 7 hours, then it died.

We motored slowly on, waiting for the rest of the fleet to catch up, then started the race again about 2100 hours and managed to sail the rest of the way into Yellowknife. It was a gorgeous sail back, spinnaker, gennaker and making 7 knots under white sails at one point. About 0300 on Monday the northern lights made an appearance and danced their way across the sky, shimmering pink and green shards of light morphing into broad bands of flowing colours, wonderful. About that time we had a fire drill to find out where the smell of propane was coming from. The Captain emptied all the lockers, throwing sails, pumps, lines and various other sailboat gear into the cabin in a frantic attempt to find out where the leak was, it was a little tense. We never did find it but the smell dissipated and we sailed on.
It wasn't always warm!!

Our boat won the fast placque into Hay River, which consisted of a bottle of rum and we finished first on the return leg. It remains to be seen whether or not my name will appear on the cup for a fourth time or not. I sure hope so. but if it doesn't a super time was had by all. During the motoring hiatus on the way back the three boats entertained themselves with challenges. We composed limericks, songs, haikus, and ballads. It was great fun, the ballad sung to the tune of on top of Old Smokie was legendary. Apparently the other 2 boats where pretty close together so they rafted up and the captain of one boat played guitar while all the other sang the
Is this Mexico or the NWT????
ballad, priceless. The Hardisty Island All Girls Marching Band once again outdid themselves and performed a spirited rendition of 76 Trombones as we sailed past. The batons were flying and the pom-pom were twirling and all was right with the world. It was just super to be back on the Big Lake and amoung friends.