Thursday, 25 June 2015

Morning at Muncho Lake

We are far enough north that the Internet is problematic and cell coverage is non-existent. It will get better, perhaps, in Whitehorse although Dawson and Inuvik are doubtful. That’s the way it is up here, away from the large, or even small, cities and towns. Life is what you make of it up here, and that can mean no Internet from time to time. Blog entries may be intermittent, depending on service.

I awoke this morning to the sounds of a woodpecker hammering away at a tree nearby. I couldn’t tell the time, as sunrise here happens while I am still fast asleep. By 6:00 AM, the sky is already a brilliant blue. Here at the Northern Rockies Lodge, fishing is a passion and pastime, meaning the fly-in/fly-out trips start early, most likely around 5:00 AM. Once again, I am unsure. All I know is that it was past sunrise when I heard the first bush plane take off.

The mountains here are sharp and short, their steep slopes covered in stiff, short trees, like the quills of a porcupine, thick and dangerous looking. There is plenty of wildlife here, bear, deer, moose, bison, elk, and any number of smaller creatures. Yesterday we even saw a marmot sitting on one of the roadside barricades, espying his territory, perhaps seeking the warmth of the sun. Today we expect to see bison, and perhaps a bear or two. Perhaps not. These are wild creatures, their pathways chosen by whim and the presence of easy food.

We are also going to visit the Liard Hot Springs. This is a non-commercial hot springs with limited development and no services. They are in the middle of the Liard River Provincial Park, and the BC government has been kind enough to emplant a changing room and boardwalk through the swamp. The hotsprings themselves are in mostly natural pools, with only one embankment to create separation between the upper and lower, or hotter and cooler pools. I cannot go in; alas there is no wheelchair ramp or access. I can, however, make my way to the side of the hot pools and encourage Katherine.

It may be simple to see that I love the north. I love its wilderness, its unpredictability, its complete disregard for the pulse and passing of modern man. The land has been as it is for thousands of years, in spite of our massive efforts to destroy in search of wealth. Mining, logging, oil; all of these are here yet the landscape dwarfs even the largest of these efforts. This is nature writ large; I just hope we don’t get so greed that we screw it up completely. We, humanity, needs this wild country. It is all that reminds us of how small we really are.

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