The morning began with Harriet driving me about an hour to Hall Lake (population 500) to do my first reading. The kids were a little unsettled, but not horrible. My guess is that they don’t do a lot of group stuff, or get a lot of presentations, and are more comfortable one-on-one.
[I didn’t take pictures of the kids at any of the places, for privacy reasons.]
Then we drove back to La Ronge, grabbed a sub at Subway, and changed chaperones. Harriet doesn’t like to fly, so Kathie Tenold will be accompanying me for the next four days. Kathy and I drove to the airport and went on a one-hour charter flight to Southend. We flew in a 3-passenger Cessna 185. That’s the smallest plane I’ve been in since my air cadet days. I got to ride in the front. It was fun! Our handsome young pilot, Kyle, was great.
At Southend, we landed on the ice on the skis that you see behind the wheels. They flip down under the wheels or up, as needed.
You don’t realize just how many lakes and how much water there is in the north until you see it from above. The bare patches are areas where a forest fire swept through.
Southend is at the southern tip of Reindeer Lake and is home to about 900 people.
The kids were even more unsettled at Southend unfortunately (I had to break up a wrestling match on the floor in front of me), and the teachers didn’t seem too interested in doing anything about it. Except for one teacher. She came in and got them under control pretty quickly and made the comment to them “Yes, I’m here now so you better settle down.” I kind of felt sorry for her – sounds like she had to be the perennial bad guy. But after her intervention it went better.
[Truthfully, I was starting to worry that I wasn’t going to be able to connect with any of the kids up north. Things did get much better, I’m happy to say.]
One neat thing that happened was when I was asking the kids if they had any favourite books and one little guy said “Mystery of the Lunchbox Criminal!” which was written by my good friend, Alison Lohans from Regina. Shout out to you, Alison!
Kyle flew us over the Whitesand Dam on the Reindeer River, just east of Southend (the water doesn’t freeze over on this stretch of the river because the current is so strong) and then back to La Ronge.
Then we hopped on a 75 minute scheduled flight to Stony Rapids via Fond-du-Lac on a much larger (34 passenger) Saab 340. There was even a flight attendant!
We got settled into “Al’s Place,” our home base for the next three days, had a delicious supper and then off to bed, for an early start tomorrow.
La Ronge to Hall Lake to La Ronge to Southend to La Ronge to Fond-du-Lac to Stony Rapids – it’s hard to believe we fit all this into one day!