Dianne’s Excellent Northern Adventure (Year 2) – Day 4

Wednesday, January 29th

Brrr! Another cold morning – minus 36 with the windchill. After another delicious omelette we left Buffalo Narrows and the Krow’s Nest Inn for the last time.

We drove to Canoe Lake, and on the way saw a bobcat! Not the machine kind, the animal kind! I didn’t get a picture because I figured by the time I got my camera out the bobcat would be gone and I would have missed getting a good look at it. It was beautiful.

Canoe Narrows is the actual name of the community (although everybody seems to refer to it as Canoe Lake), but the school is Canoe Lake Miksiw School. My uncle actually taught in Canoe Lake 40 some years ago. The school is a new one now. The community has a population of about 700. I’m not sure what the school’s population is. They chose 12 kids each from grades 2 to 6 to attend the presentation. They were a great group and I really enjoyed it. We were in the library, which was a bit disorganized due to lack of staff, but the kids were definitely used to being read to. After more of Harriet’s delicious homemade soup, we were off to Cole Bay.

Cole Bay is a smaller community of about 230 people. The school has about 45 students, so I was able to present to everyone who was there that day (31 kids). Another wonderful group! Very attentive, great questions, and they even wished me an early happy birthday when they heard that my birthday was only a couple of weeks away. Really nice kids, who showed a lot of respect for each other. Impressive.

On our way out of town we saw a squirrel. Silly squirrel – you wouldn’t catch me out and about in this weather if I was a squirrel!

We stopped at the school in Beauval so Harriet and I could both check our email, then it was off to the Sandy Beach Resort, which is about 11 km east of Beauval.

We’re staying in a 2-bedroom cabin. (You can also see our vehicle.)DSCN9050Despite the cold, I bundled up and walked down to the lake shore. (Not a great picture but it does say “cold”, doesn’t it?)

DSCN9052I bet this place is gorgeous in the summer! We went to the lodge for supper – homemade beef stew and homemade buns. It was soooo good! Then some friends of the owners’ dropped in and brought fresh fried bannock and shared it with us. I LOVE fried bannock!

Off to Jans Bay and Patuanak tomorrow.

Dianne’s Excellent Northern Adventure (Year 2) – Day 3

Tuesday, January 28th


Yay! It’s warmed up some! High of minus thirteen expected today. Plus I had a delicious omelette for breakfast, in case you were interested. 🙂


Stopped on our way to St. George’s Hill so I could get a picture of the amazing sunrise through the trees.

DSCN9018St. George’s Hill is another small community (population about 100) that is directly west of Buffalo Narrows, but 70 km by road. The school usually has about 30 kids (Pre-K to Grade 9) but almost half of them were away sick. Since there were so many away, the Grade One students from Dillon were going to catch a bus and join us, but a mix-up with the bus meant they weren’t able to make it. A really nice group of kids and a first-year teacher who seemed to have everything under control.

There was one girl who sat right at the front who had a speech impediment due to a cleft palate. She asked me a question but I didn’t catch what she said, and when I asked who to repeat her question because I hadn’t heard it she looked a bit disappointed but just said “nothing.” I felt bad. Later she tried again, but another girl who was trying to be helpful wanted her to repeat it to her and she would say it. But again, she clammed up and said “nothing.” I felt worse. I got one final chance, when we were heating up our lunch (Harriet’s homemade soup – yum!) in the kitchen. The little girl approached me and I knew this was my last chance – and I got it. “I’m staying for lunch.” “You’re staying for lunch?” I repeated and she beamed and nodded. “So am I!” What a brave little girl to give me so many chances. I’m glad I didn’t blow it.

Then we were off to Dillon, which is only about 10 km north of St. George’s Hill. There are about 800 people in Dillon, and the school is large and K-12. (Sorry, I didn’t get how big the school population is.)

The presentation in Dillon did not go well. First of all, I broke one of my own rules and exceeded the 60 kid limit I usually stick to. I felt bad that the Grade Ones had missed the presentation at St. George’s Hill because of a bus issue, so I agreed to have them join the group. This made the group 77 kids from Grade One to Six. My mistake.

My they were a chatty bunch – and don’t mean just the kids. It’s tough enough sometimes to keep kids’ attentions without the adults having conversations with the kids or with each other while I’m trying to talk. 🙁 I had to stop a few times and wait for quiet. About halfway through, when the Grade Sixes had basically turned their backs to me and had their own little circle at the back, I said that obviously they were not interested in what I had to say so they might as well leave. And they did. Not that it made any difference. So I shortened things up, left out lots of details I normally would have included and wrapped it up. A very disappointing afternoon.

Went for a long walk when we got back to the motel to de-stress. That was relaxing. Took a picture of the Narrows and one of the town sign as well.



Tonight’s our last night in Buffalo Narrows. Tomorrow we visit Canoe Lake and Cole Bay and move to the Sandy Beach Resort by Beauval where we’ll be for two nights.

Dianne’s Excellent Northern Adventure (Year 2) – Day 2

Monday, January 27th

It was dark when we arrived last night, but here’s where we are staying – the Krow’s Nest Inn.

DSCN9022It’s a very cold morning – minus 34 (minus 40 with the windchill). Yikes! Harriet phoned Bear Creek before we left to see if they would have any students. The teacher said yes, so off we went. Bear Creek is a small hamlet (population about 50) that is 60 km north of Buffalo Narrows. Sasdaze (Dene for Bear Creek) School is a one room trailer that has a total enrollment of 9 kids in Grades 1 to 6. It was so cold today that usually school would have been cancelled, but the teacher actually drove and picked four kids up so that I would have at least a few kids to present to. Normally I don’t get to learn the names of all the kids at a school, but I did today – 2 girls, Charlena and Elena, and 2 boys, Carl and Deandre, and their teacher Kelly Kwan. I really enjoyed it.

While we were at Bear Creek, Turnor Lake phoned and said their boiler was out so school had been cancelled. Harriet got on the phone and quickly arranged for us to go to La Loche instead. La Loche is a much larger community (population about 3000) another 40 km northwest of Bear Creek. The La Loche Community School has almost 900 students in Pre-K to Grade 12. I read to 59 Grade Threes. I was grateful that the Grade Three teachers dropped everything and accomodated me on very short notice.

The reading went well. There was one little girl who was full of questions about being a writer. I love questions.

When we got back to the motel, I bundled up and went for a short walk. Saw ravens and some boreal chickadees, but it was way too cold to go very far. Maybe tomorrow. This was the best picture of a chickadee I got – not great, but my fingers were already getting numb.

IMG_2527(2)While I was out walking, Audrey came and switched vehicles with us again. They replaced the heater fan motor in Meadow Lake.

Tomorrow, St. George’s Hill and Dillon, and it’s supposed to warm up. Here’s hoping!