Monday, March 29, 2010

Extra-terrestrials attempt first contact with Fort Simpson....

Greetings from Fort Simpson, where a warm front has brought us this glorious weather this morning..........

Where do I start? So much has happened since my last post. Truly another bustling couple of weeks in the North.

Probably the single biggest piece of news was the return of the owners/operators of the Sub-Arctic Kitchen. "The Sub" as it is known locally, is the only real restaurant in Simpson (there is The Nahanni Inn.....but it's just plain gross) and it is primarily a Chinese food joint. The owners are real-deal Chinese and every year they spend a month back home in China. The fact that they essentially have a monopoly on the food biz in town combined with the fact that they actually serve up some decent grub means that Fort Simpson seems to go into a state of quasi-panic when they leave for the month. And then, when they do return, you can almost hear the entire town breathe a collective sigh of relief before everyone stampedes to be the first in line for some Sub Grub. Alas, the girlfriend and I succumbed to this herd mentality.....and it was delicious.

Yet another big happening, or should I say two big happenings combined to produce what I like to call an Uber-Happening. Last weekend was the NWT Dart Society Championships and yes, the event was held right here in Fort Simpson. And as luck would have it, the dart players would be brought in from Yellowknife by major television celebrities...The Ice Pilots. That's right, the coolest guys on the History Channel since the Ice Road Truckers. Buffalo Airways came in with one of their DC-3's full of the north's finest small, pointed projectile throwing athletes. As you can well imagine, it made for another crazy weekend in Fort Simpson. Friday night activities included a social for the dart players. Not being a dart player or a TV celebrity, I did not attend these festivities, but the girlfriend had volunteered to work the bar that evening. I almost feel like I was there, however, vicariously through her, and as a result, I pretty much had an indirect brush with celebrity. You see, being the beautiful girl that she is, it seems that one of these "Ice Pilots" was trying to pick her up. Wow, my girlfriend. Hit on by a celebrity. I've arrived.

As it would turn out, the next day the dart showdown began and saw 4 players forced to withdraw from the competition in true Northern style. Unfortunately they tested positive for performance de-hancing drugs....they were too drunk/hungover from the evening before to play.

On Sunday before the dart teams and TV stars left, I had a flight that was to stop in at the main airport here in Simpson where I was able to snap this shot of my little taildragger C-185 and the now famous big DC-3 taildragger.

The last couple weeks have seen the number of flights start to pick up. I had a huge trip from Fort Simpson to Trout Lake to Hay River to Yelloknife back to Fort Simpson in the 185. Even though the ice bridges are still in, it seems this particular passenger didn't want to drive this long lonely highway to Yellowknife.

There was also a particularly interesting trip to Nahanni Butte. Below is a short video clip of a herd of bison on Swan Point near Nahanni Butte.

Now, while seeing wildlife is always interesting, it was not the most interesting part of this trip. Actually it's quite the norm to see herds of bison in or very near Nahanni Butte. In fact, in the summer you usually have to shoo them off the runway before you can land. No, the truly interesting part of the trip was what I saw on a frozen portion of the river called "The Snye" right beside the golf course in town. I'm sure you're all familiar with the phenomenon of crop circles; well, I spotted a series of perfect Slats' Snye Snow Circles! (Being the discoverer of this 8th wonder of the modern world, I feel I should get to coin the new term to describe them.) I'm not sure just yet what these circles signify, but undoubtedly it is an attempt at first contact by alien life forms who have a message for Fort Simpson. I will be keeping my eyes to the night sky henceforth, you can be sure.

The warmer temperature we had for the Beavertail Jamboree gave way to the more usual cold and snow which in turns gives way to hibernation, at which Rocky is an expert.

Buddy is not quite as good at hibernating as his step-sister; his under-the-covers burrowing technique is non-existant. He is too busy with the orange, bouncy object of his obsession, anyway.

Lately, I have been mulling over the idea of adopting another sibling for Buddy. This is me weighing pros and cons:

Actually it's me after waking up from hibernating as well......
Anyway, lately there has been a semi-stray hanging around doing his best to look pathetic. His name is TJ and his owner has all but abandoned him. He is all skin and bones (and a lot of fur) but he is a beautiful, friendly dog.

He has managed to scam a few free meals out of us. I'd love to take him in and give him a home, especially when I think of the fate that awaits him out at the local dump if he ever gets caught by the bylaw officer. But the problem is that there are so many nice dogs in the same situation as TJ. If I bring one in, where does it end? Before I know it, I'll end up with a dog ranch and I'll never be able to leave.
Anyway, Buddy and I have taking full advantage of the empty field across the street which is perfect for fetch, now that his hip is recovered enough that he can run without too much trouble.

Every now and then some of his stray friends stop by to join the festivities........
Even his girlfriend and mother of his puppies showed up........

Stay tuned for dog adoption updates and alien message interpretations.............

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