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Travel Stories of Steve Goodyear

Wandering Sights of Yellowknife

CANADA | Wednesday, 8 December 2010 | Views [372]

For such a bleak place, or so one would expect in an arctic town in winter, it is actually quite visual with vibrant colours and spirit. The houseboats lining the lake offer a rainbow of colour and character on the horizon; the decorations on the sheds or the ice sculptures all add visual interest; or the old sheds preserved from when early settlers flocked to the town during earlier gold rushes that give a rustic cosy feeling.

I spent each day exploring the town, all on foot, and learning some important lessons for a photographer: when a flake of snow lands on my lens in the arctic, accept that it’s there now and don’t try to blow it off, or else my lens will frost up and I’ll be done shooting for the day.

Ravens, lots of ravens: the town is full of them. They look like over-sized crows, so on my first trip wandering through the town, I wondered why the crows were so fat here. Later I learned, these were actually ravens, a cousin to crows. Another unusual bird (for me) I saw on my wanders was the Ptarmigan. It is this white bird that you might pass unnoticed, as it blends in with the white snow surroundings. A particularly neat feature I found on this bird is their furry feet.

By far, one of the most interesting scenes during the day along the lake is seeing a dogsled racing by. You can hear the dogs coming as you notice a barking off in the distance. Suddenly, they come around a bend in the lake towing a sled. A marvellous sight where dogs and rider alike seem to be having a wonderful time. 

A more popular sight on the frozen lake is a skidoo sledding around, as locals enjoy their arctic playground. But the most bizarre sight on the frozen lake is cars and trucks driving up to their houseboat or taking a shortcut to a neighbouring village, or even just doing a loupe around so the passengers can say they’ve driven on top of a frozen lake.

The best view of the lake with all its houseboats frozen in place is from the top of “The Rock” in Old Town Yellowknife. This is the highest point in Old Town, accessible from a short climb up the stairs there, and provides a gorgeous view in every direction.

Tags: arctic, wandering, yellowknife


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