So, up we went to Yellowknife (Northwest Territories, Canada), Graeme Gibson and self, en route to Kugluktuk, where we were supposed to join the Clipper Adventurer (ship) and Adventure Canada (group) http://www.adventurecanada.com on a Northwest Passage journey. But:
Our ship hit an uncharted rock
It made the boat to list so,
We had to stay in Yellowknife
And eat at Bullock’s Bistro.
(Old Sea Chanty.)
Luckily we had a plucky group: they read the “No Sniveling” sign at Bullock’s (pictured) and made use of it, as well as the last Dene Law (pictured), though we all saved “I Brake for Ptarmigan” for another day. The Yellowknifers were very friendly, and in the Black Knight pub (the NWT is riddled with knights) I learned what a B52 Shooter was, as Richard and his table sent one over. The Wildcat and Bullocks are both in Heritage Buildings, made with Ye Olde Knightly Logges in the days of distant yore. You find this out after drinking the Shooter.
Yellowknife was showing at its best, with many Land of the Almost Midnight Sun flowers in bloom (pictured) and the spectacular Great Slave Lake looking gorgeous. Our group vowed to take another crack at the NW Passage next year. Meanwhile we had many an in-depth chat, about Animal Tracking and its relationship to reading (James C. Halfpenny, http://www.tracknature.com, and I bought “Scats and Tracks of North America,” ultra useful when you find a mysterious something on you porch); and Scottish history and/or folklore (Lizanne and Ted Cowan); and Mark and Carolyn Mallory (Fulmars, seabirds, Arctic wildflowers), who turned into Our Fearless Leaders, never having filled that position before.
My last adventure of the trip — apart from getting jumped by the CBC as we were sadly but not snivellingly checking in at the airport on our homeward leg — was that I got locked into my trousers because the clicky thing on my Adventurous Pants broke. But nail scissors were not invented by the Black Knights of Yellowknife for nothing, and it took but several instants of thought (“This may be a case for ‘Scats and Tracks of North America’… no, there must be another way”) before I was liberated from the sinsister fabric predicament.
Thank you, Yellowknife #yzf, and especially Ariel at Overlanders, and Richard (who also sent over 5 Mimosas, once he realized that I had poured the B52 into the rum and coke and passed the curdled but lethal mixture around my table in a Bonding Ritual), and all the Merrie Groupe!! Including Murray the stranded New Zealander, who is having coffee in our kitchen even as I write… And congratulations to Adventure Canada staff, who worked through the nights, fought the Airline Booking dragons, and got everyone sorted out!
On the flight out, we had a spectacular view not only of Great Slave Lake, but also of the land south of it — looked like muskeg, with squiggly rivers and many (probably) kettle bogs, in deep blue, ochre green, copper orange… wonderful.
Next year we’ll take another run at it. Brace yourself, Yellowknife. We’ll be baaack…