Hay River Saturday November 15th

We set out on the drive to Hay River at 5 am this morning. The skyline was amazing for the last hour and a half, it looked like the tips of the trees were aflame in fuchsia and magenta, gold and orange. The radio transmission went on and off, potions included CBC or a country station from Calgary and the trees went from being a metre high to 20 metres only a half a km down the road. You drive through so many different kinds of soil along the same road. We arrived around 8:30 and had breakfast in a motel surrounded by northern men wearing caps and light jeans and rubber boots. The food was surprising good. Terry got his winter tires and we did some scouting around for the presents the kids had asked for for Christmas. the owners of the general stores each want to provide you a better secret deal then the next one. Each greasy little man or elderly woman has a different sales pitch and talks in a quick clever whisper. We made some good finds. We have to go back and actually buy them because the school board has to provide the cash, which like everything else will take FOREVER. Hay River is about the size of grand forks, a little bit bigger actually and has all services, even french immersion. Although the libraries don't have colour photocopies like i had hoped and i saw a few drunk native men stumbling across the road. I me the principal of a school in Kinaska, which is about 3 hours from where I am. She is starting a dog team with her students. They have adopted five old huskies, although she told me two dogs would be more than enough power to pull the average person 100m/h. They often have to tie weights behind the sleds so the kids don't fall off. The power of twelve dogs in the big races must just be astounding. We drove to Great Slave lake which has the clearest water I have ever seen. It has a beautiful beach and looks almost tropical never mid the birch and spruce trees surrounding it and the cute little sail ships that are docked at the bank. There is a cannery and a little fishing community that consists of short wood shacks and bars with boarded up windows, the only buildings that survived the flood that overtook the area 25 years ago. Hay River is completely frozen with huge wave ridges all down the centre of it. very neat looking.I On the drive back i saw a brilliant red fox and a marten.I got to see the sun go down at 5:00, completing the day and giving the trees and snow this amazing clarity. Everything was glittering. The country music whined on into the evening and the conversation was easy.

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