some pictures from the NWT

As Erin mentioned in a previous post, I recently went to the Northwest Territories to hunt mushrooms. I spent much of my time tramping through forests burned down within the last two years, peering intently at the ground trying (a) to find morels that were rather similar in colour to the ground and (b) trying to avoid both stepping into swampy holes in the peat and stepping onto the fire-sharpened pointy trunks left of little trees. This area isn’t quite as swampy as some we were in but this picture gives you some sense of the sooty trees among which we hunted for mushrooms:

And this is the prize we were looking for—black morels:

An especially nice patch:

We had, of course, heard all manner of horror stories about how awful the insects up north were: gigantic mosquitoes, clouds of blackflies, deerflies, and so on. They turned out not to be as bad as I had expected. We had very little trouble with most of the insects we had been told about. Even mosquitoes weren’t as bad as I had feared. I ended up not even using the head net that I bought for the trip. Of course, I had tastier people along as decoys … That said, the mosquitoes did get pretty bad a couple of times. On one such day my left hand held still for five seconds during lunch break:

We also heard lots of warnings about bears and for once in my life I actually got to see some. None of the bears seemed at all interested in sticking around once we got into the vicinity, though. See if you can find the rump of the bear taking his leave in this photo (and, yes, this is the best bear photo I managed to get):

Bison, on the other hand, weren’t perturbed in the slightest even when trucks drove by a few feet from them, and they seemed to be very fond of grazing right by the edge of the road. Here’s one such fellow, contentedly chewing away and not so much as moving his eyes to acknowledge our presence:

I see why prudent people don’t want to drive in this area at night. Hitting a deer is bad enough. But hitting something that weighs over a ton sitting on the road because it can’t be bothered to get out of the way?

Of course, we were far enough north that it never really got dark. Basically, we had a couple of hours of dusk. This photo was taken pretty much exactly at midnight from the back of my cabin, looking at the Deh Cho bridge over the MacKenzie:

Finally, a picture of Lady Evelyn Falls:

It’s a beautiful part of the world. I’m not sure why there aren’t more people living there. Perhaps if I hadn’t been sweating in the heat every day but instead had been freezing at minus forty on a dark day in the middle of the winter, I might better understand why there are so few people north of 60. Then again, winter would have brought spectacular northern lights. I think I need to go back in the winter …



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