One morning, while in Yellowknife, I decided to take the longer but more scenic route to my class. I was walking along the Frame Lake Trail, enjoying the warmth of the morning sun. Little waterfowl, types that I had never seen before, were paddling serenely amongst the grasses in the water.
Something made me turn my gaze from the lake. I looked down the trail and froze. Something big, black and lumbering was twenty feet in front of me, just off the side of the trail. It was nibbling on the ground. The bright morning sun was in my eyes and made it difficult to see, but the primitive part of my brain had activited. Shiny black hair and a rounded rump, with head down to the ground, it rolled when it walked. A bear!
I froze and waited for it to move again. My heart was pounding. For some reason, it hadn't noticed me yet, or didn't seem to care.
For some reason, instead of turning the other way, I took a step forward. And then another. A patch of trees took the sun out of my eyes and I could finally see the beast clearly.
It was an big, old, black dog. Arthritis or some other ailment caused her to lumber. I walked up to her and looked for a collar but she had none. "Well, I can't just leave you here," I reasoned.
I asked her to follow, and headed towards a local school - one of the very few places in Yellowknife where there is a payphone. The dog waddled slowly behind.
After a short while, she picked up her painful pace and lumbered in front of me, leading the way. She walked purposefully into a townhouse complex and right to a doorway that looked like it normally had a dog living there.
I knocked on the door and a woman answered. "Does she belong to you?" I asked, "I found her down by the lake."
"Yes, she's mine," the woman replied, and without even a thank-you, she took the dog inside and closed the door.
Call the Fire Marshall!
One night, I had to stay late at my course because we had a group case study to do. Our course was held at the Yellowknife Inn, which is located in the Centre Square Mall. The work went well, even though my nose was running like a faucet. After we finished our presentation, and I had cleaned out of box of sand papery facial tissues, it was time to call it a night.
I headed through the mall for the doorway facing the direction that I wanted to go. I went though the first set of doors, but when I tried to go through the second set, they were all locked. There was one door on the end that had a little locking mechanism, but as I hard as I tried, I couldn't turn it.
I turned to go back through the other doors, but since I had to turn a little knob to get through those, I couldn't get back through. I was trapped between the doors.
I resumed my attempts to get back through the outer doors, and a few minutes later was released by one of the hotel employees.
"I'll let you out through the Mackenzie Lounge," she offered, and I followed her through the lounge to the fire exit. Try as she might, however, she could not get the door to open. Eventually I had to backtrack through the entire mall to get out.
I have got to call the Fire Marshall.
Cameron Falls and Bullocks
One evening, after my course, Damon, Colleen, a co-worker of theirs, Phoebe the dog and I hopped into their truck and drove up the Ingraham trail to the Cameron River Falls trail.
On the drive there, we saw several bears. Damon was driving and commented, "If we see one more, we can forget about hiking today. I'm turning around." Bears can be pretty grumpy in the spring.
Fortunately, we didn't see any more bears and had a nice hike out to the falls over the glacier polished granite of the Canadian Shield. The spring runoff resulted in an impressive aquatic display over the Cameron Falls.
We drove back to Yellowknife and decided to go for dinner at Bullock's Bistro. Bullock's is legendary for bad service, but amazing fish - caught right out of Great Slave Lake.
They had two choices on the menu and we all got the Char. It was the most expensive fish I've ever bought and it took more than an hour and a half to arrive, but it was delicious.
I guess that having clear expectations makes a huge difference, so, even though we were all hungry, the long wait for the food wasn't all that bad.
My class ate at the Boston Pizza a couple days before and we waited forever for the food to come. Even though the restaurant was mostly empty, they started turning people away. The labour shortage is severe and they are having a very hard time keeping staff.
So, even though the Bullock's wait was long, if I have enough money saved up for the downpayment on the meal, I will consider going again the next time I'm in Yellowknife.