the way home, day 1 (i figured out a way to have more days!)

DSC_2937DSC_2942IMG_5890DSC_2946DSC_2956 DSC_2982august 10. 675m, N 66˚39 W 136˚19.

over the course of the last two months we were inspired to comprise a list of…

things that can kill you:

rapids, moose, bison, black bears, wolves, wolverines, smoke, water, hornets, sunstroke, drowning, mudslides, lightning, falling trees, forest fires, men, grizzly bears, wind, barges.

(the list is more impressive in column form but i don’t know how to do that here)

that probably deserves a post all of it’s own, but i will continue…

we left inuvik the morning of the 10th after seeing off our good friends (sac dene) at the airport. right after that i got an idea: project time! nat had given us a piece of 2×4 that she had carved mountains into, along with the words ‘trainz ain’t jokez’. i loved the sign, and as a way to sort of keep them with us we decided to take pictures of the sign in all the gorgeous places we stopped at on the way home. fun! this also forced us to stop way more often than we might’ve to enjoy the places along the way. shortly after that, emma thought of another super exciting project we could do for them, but i can’t talk about that yet b/c it’s a surprise.

so we made it back to the tsiigehtchic ferry and drove as far as we could down the gravel towards camp and our gear. then, as we were getting out of the car, i spotted something different in the water. hey, isn’t that the rafters? it was! emma bounded down the beach towards them and flagged them down. they abandoned their raft and canoed to shore. that was something to see. we only had a short visit since they needed to catch up with the raft, but it was so lovely and lucky to see them one last time on our way home. emma also spotted eagle prints in the sand from, as emma put it, the “toddler-sized” eagles.

we stopped in fort mcpherson for gas and were able to check out margaret vittrekwa’s home-based craft shop. she had lovely bead-work and along with selling us one of her coasters (which i have since sewn onto a moosehide fanny pack), she taught us how to bead! thanks to her i have fallen in love with beading and have been able to make a few little things since returning home.

we camped that night in a gorgeous abandoned gravel pit and spent the next morning up the small shale mountain, taking photos and filming more dance. first however, we had night to get through. i completely slacked off – now that we were off the river – and was in the mindset of  ‘we don’t have to do such a good job pegging the tent down, we have a car! we’re safe!’ ok, sure, but who wants to leave the cozy warm sleeping bag on flat ground for the inside of a cramped car on a cold rainy night? along with not pegging the tent well, i neglected to go pee before turning out the lights. it felt to me like we were in a nice sheltered spot, protected on three sides by gravel pit, and one side by car. the wind was coming from the car side, so i paid more attention to pegging that side. fast forward to the wee hours of the morning when i awake to the bottom of the tent trying to roll me over. the wind had switched directions and turns out the gravel pit acts like a sort of wind tunnel. the wind is getting stronger and i REALLY have to pee. i am trying to figure out what to do as i am using my body weight to hold the edge of the tent down. we left most of our gear in the car, so there isn’t a lot of extra stuff in the tent to use as weight. as i am sitting here deliberating this i watch the tent floor undulate under emma’s head and wonder how long that will go on before she wakes up. i discovered over the summer an admirable ability of emma’s to sleep through things. i became her alarm clock on days where it was necessary and one of my favourite songs to sing (in our cannon of made-up songs) was, “i got no snooooze button! no snooooooze button! no snoooooze button!”. back in the tent, emma wakes soon enough and holds the tent-edge down while i relieve myself and search for heavy things. we end up using our 10 litre water jug and my rock collection bag, filled with extra rocks. never has emma been so happy for me to have a rock collection! [i guess i haven’t mentioned this, but our canoe wasn’t necessarily getting lighter as the trip wore on.] so once the weights are in the corners of the tent and i am back in my bag, guess what happens? one more gust of wind and it was done for the night. calm. uh-huh. that’s right. i kid you not. goodnight.

header and third photo by emma.

photo below: margaret’s bead-work on the right, my in-process fireweed on the left.


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