Wednesday, August 18

Northern Circles

I'm back in Edmonton, having completed the loop up to Yellowknife. It's been good to rest a bit, and also to have a bed, but it'll soon be time to hit the road again.

A few other things about Yellowknife that I didn't mention in the last post...

First, the nights were freakin' cold, alot more so than I'd expected. In the days leading up to my going there, I watched the forecast for the area, and it was usually a not-too-shabby 15C or so. All very true, at least when the sun was up. But for the four or so hours of darkness, the temperature would plummet, sometimes falling 6 degrees in one hour. This made camping less appealing than I'd expected, but after picking up a few blankets and some warmer clothes, nights were much more pleasant. Still, it got downright hot by about 7 am, so I'd have to strip off a few layers before going back to sleep.

Second, the town itself had a weird layout. The western half, or 'New Town', looked like any other small town, and was located a bit farther from the water than the other half, called, as you'd expect, 'Old Town'. The eastern part was much prettier, IMO, and felt alot more like what I was expecting. Being on the bay of Great Slave Lake, it felt like an old port town, complete with winding back streets and somewhat-run-down buildings (actually similar to the run-down fishing villages out east). This was the part of the city that retained most of the character of days gone by, and was where I spent alot of time wandering around. It wasn't very big, so exploring didn't take very long, but sitting and staring out at the water helped to pass a few quiet afternoons when my legs were tired of hiking around the back country.

I hitch hiked back, and one of the rides that I got after getting back to Alberta was a little... different. A very nice guy, very well spoken, but a little rough around the edges. The weirdest part of course was that he happened to be a full blown Hell's Angel, and very proud of it. He was driving a fairly new Dodge Ram, and I didn't see the patch on the back of his leather vest, so I didn't clue in until he started going on about the workings of the 'Angels', and went into detail about how to join the organization. Not that I asked, but apparently he was trying to make small talk. Apparently one never ever asks to join the organization. Instead you find some 'Angels', and hang out with them for a few years until they offer you probationary membership. Then, if the powers-that-be like you, after a few years you'll be given your full 'stripes', which means always wearing the vest with insignia on the back, and getting the tattoo on your arm, which he was very eager to show off. The conversation kept going back and forth between normal and downright unnerving, but again, the guy was very nice, and took me about 4 hours of the distance, almost to Edmonton. Still, I get the feeling that I'm becoming way too old for hitch hiking, and if that wasn't my last hitch, it was very close to it. Most of the places that I'll be headed for now are close together, so hitch hiking isn't even practical any more, even if I still felt like doing it. The main reason that I was hitching in the first place was that up until now, each stretch of the distance that I traveled was at least 600 km, if not more. Not only did the hitching save me alot of money, but in the end, I usually made better time than the bus, which would stop into every little armpit along the way. But once I hit B.C., the towns aren't nearly as spaced apart, so buses are much more appealing.

I've been asked about posting pictures, and though I'm not likely to get a camera (even if I did, finding a way to get the pictures scanned or uploaded to computers would be difficult at best), Yellowknife was very special. To get my experiences across, it would definitely help if I post some pictures. Now, unfortunately, because I'm at the library, I can't post pictures directly, as I'd have to save them to the hard drive, but there are some good ones at the following URL:

Check out the ones under 'Yellowknife - Old Town'.


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