Dianne’s Excellent Northern Adventure (Year 2) – Day 1

Last year, as part of the Pahkisimon Nuye?ah Library System’s Northern Reading Program, I was flown around the northern part of PNLS’s area to do readings in schools. This year we’re doing the western part of the area. The tour was actually last week, but I didn’t take my laptop with me, so I’m going to recount the trip over the next few days.

Sunday, Jan. 26th

Harriet Roy (Assistant Director and Northern Reading Program organizer for the Pahkisimon Nuye?ah Library System) is picking me up in Martensville today. Here’s where we will be going over the next week: (Hopefully you can move the points over from behind the legend with the little hand)

And here’s the plan:

Sunday: Get picked up in Martensville and drive to Buffalo Narrows, where we’ll be spending three nights.

Monday: Bear Creek in the morning, Turnor Lake in the afternoon

Tuesday: St. George’s Hill in the morning, Dillon in the afternoon

Wednesday: Canoe Lake in the morning, Cole Bay in the afternoon, then moving to Sandy Beach Resort just outside of Beauval for two nights

Thursday: Jans Bay in the morning, Patuanak in the afternoon

Friday: Beauval in the morning, Green Lake in the afternoon, then back to Martensville

Harriet is an extraordinary organizer and a great traveling companion. We left at noon and headed north to Blaine Lake then through Shellbrook, and Big River and on to Green Lake. It was just outside of Green Lake that the heater fan began to make a strange noise. When it’s a cold winter and you’re going to be traveling between small communities in the north, you don’t want to take a chance that your heater might not work. We carried on to Beauval where Harriet’s brother lives. He used to be a mechanic, so he took a listen and figured it probably wouldn’t quit completely but that we should get it looked at.

So Harriet phoned the office in La Ronge and Audrey Mark, the director, drove the two and a half hours to Beauval and switched vehicles with us. This meant we had to kill some time in Beauval but that was fine. We went and hung out at Harriet’s sister’s house. Audrey took our vehicle into Meadow Lake to hopefully be repaired and we carried on to Buffalo Narrows. We got in about 10 p.m. A long day, but great company. I’m looking forward to a wonderful week.

Tomorrow it’s Bear Creek in the morning, then Turnor Lake in the afternoon.

 

Dianne’s Excellent Northern Adventure – Day 7 and Random Pictures

I’m on my way home. Just me and one other person leaving La Ronge on the bus south this morning. This week was amazing. It had its challenges, but nothing I couldn’t learn from. I am so grateful to Harriet Roy for inviting me on this adventure and for driving me around, to Sharon Hamilton for suggesting me to Harriet, to Kathy Tenold for flying, driving and walking around with me and to all the schools who invited me in. It certainly was an adventure I couldn’t have afforded to do on my own – with all the flights, Harriet says the travel bill alone was between eight and nine thousand dollars!

Harriet also presented me with a Pahkisimon Nuye?ah Library System notebook and pen and portfolio AND a USB with all the pictures she and Kathy took of my presentations. What a thoughtful gift! Again, because of privacy concerns, I can’t share the pictures of the kids with you, but I have them, to remember Thomas, and Anthony and all the others I spoke to this week. And I’ve been invited back to tour the east side of the region next year! I’m already looking forward to it.

 

Wollaston Lake

Wollaston Lake

Wollaston is a community that is built around a little bay. In the winter they use an ice road to cross, but any other time they have to drive around the end of the bay. We crossed the ice road to go to the elementary school from the airport, and drove around on the way back to the airport.

a pressure crack in the ice

a pressure crack in the ice

ice road through Fond du Lac

ice road through Fond du Lac

The road at the bottom, going into town, goes to Uranium City. The road leaving town, at the top, goes to Stony Rapids. The ice road to Uranium City is only open from about the middle of February to April 1, so in March they (U City) have to have all their fuel for the year trucked in. There’s an estimate you don’t want to be too wrong on!

 

raven

 

Here’s the only kind of bird I saw on the trip. But they grow them big up there!

above the sunset on the way to Stony Rapids from La Ronge

above the sunset on the way to Stony Rapids from La Ronge

Thanks for letting me share my excellent adventure with you!

Dianne’s Excellent Northern Adventure – Day 6

[Income tax is done – now I can finish telling you about my adventure.]

Now that we’re done flying, Harriet joins me for the rest of the tour. We drive about 100 km north of La Ronge to Grandmother’s Bay, a community of about 300. The school library is small, but we manage to pack all the kids (and the teachers) in. Despite being a bit crowded, it was great! A nice start to my last day of readings.

We returned to La Ronge for lunch and then drove about 30 km north to Sucker River, also known by its Cree name – Nemeiben River. It’s a community of about 300, and I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect ending to the day and the tour. I spoke to the grade 5’s and 6’s. I was a little worried at first, as the grade 6’s decided they wanted to stand rather than sit. But it wasn’t a problem and they felt more comfortable having that bit of control. The kids had all read my books, so I had time to share the “secrets” of each book with them. They were interested and had lots of questions. Anthony was my favourite – a bright-eyed boy in grade 5 who took in every word and was bursting with great questions. I think he might be a challenge in the classroom though, as when I complimented him afterwards for paying such close attention and having such great questions, the teacher commented to him something like “See? You can sit still!”  🙂

from Robertson's Trading

from Robertson’s Trading

Once I was dropped off at the hotel, I decided to walk down to Roberson’s Trading. Kathy had said to make sure to check it out if I had time.) It’s a general store with all kinds of animal heads and stuffed animals on display. They also had groceries and lots of leather goods and souvenirs. I almost bought a bead loom, but managed to calm my “7” tendency (enneagram classification – 7’s tend to want to jump in and try something new every chance they get) and bought a lovely beaded key chain instead. There’s hope for me yet!