If you go out in the woods today....

Saturday, August 29, 2009 10:38 PM By Kennie

This afternoon I was invited out on a hike through the woods / hiking trails out around Ross River (across the river) with Brian and Ann (fellow teachers at the school). It was a good hiking day - a nice breeze and cool temperatures, the only thing that was missing was the sun.

For more photos from today head here.

Here we go!

Friday, August 28, 2009 4:36 PM By Kennie

Ahh ... sleeping in in the morning, how nice it is! Although soon I won't be able to do that any more on a weekday (booo!).

This morning I just puttered around the house, continued to unpack and put together the bed rails / frame. The instructions that were included with them sucked (yeah, Sears, if you are reading this, the instructions sucked). But, I did manage to eventually put it together. I guess tonight will determine if I did put it together properly or not.

This afternoon I went into the school to check things out. I got a great tour of the school and am slowly remembering where everything is. I do however, know where the office, my classroom, the gym, library and the Mac lab are located - in all , the rooms that I really need to know about :-).

And then I puttered around my classroom for a bit, downloaded my curriculum documents, puttered in my class again and then called it a day. I do have a feeling I will be in there all next week getting things set up and organized.

Sigh... I guess summer vacation is now over :-(

Day 1 in Ross River

12:19 PM By Kennie

Today was officially day 1 in Ross River.

And what a long day it has been so far.

This morning I traveled on back over to Faro to meet with the housing manager to sign my lease for my unit and to get other paper work under way (fuel, power, insurance....). After meeting with the housing manager, I headed on back over to Kara and Matt’s (you can’t get rid of me that easily!) to pick up some forgotten items and to have one last yummy lunch :-).

The drive in and out of Ross isn’t too bad .. there are patches on the road that are a little, dare I say, entertaining to drive through (deep rivets and pits due to rain) and well, the truck will go where the truck wants to go. Driving up here in the North is definitely making me remember a lot of rules from drivers ed (as in turn into the swerve, not away). I hope that after this year of driving on dirt /gravel roads all of the time I”ll remember how to drive paved roads when I hit the south again!

The rest of today was spent mostly unpacking my boxes (or opening them to see what is in them) and then finding what is desperately needed and what I don’t quite need right away (ie: parka). I can’t believe the amount of stuff that I actually have here with me. Some of it I don’t even remember putting into storage two years ago.. and of course, there is always some stuff that I wish I would have left back down south with the parental units (for safe keeping more than anything - ie: my special glassware). But, oh well. It might come in handy for something someday.

I checked out the two grocery stores here in town today ... Clare, you are right. I do miss the Northern. But, between the two of them, I should be able to scrape up enough basics until I am able to make it back out to Carmacks / Whitehorse for a proper stock up. And the rest of the day has been unpacking and organizing. The living room area is starting to look a little less cluttered ... but my bedroom is looking more like a tornado hit it every minute. A little bit at a time I guess. It will all eventually get put away (I’ll try not to send anything back home to you mom!).

Tomorrow, hopefully my modem will have arrived at the post office (crossing fingers) so I can get back online to publish these last couple of posts. Oh, how living with the internet is painful ... I don’t know how much longer I will be able to take it.....

I'm Here!

Thursday, August 27, 2009 12:17 AM By Kennie

Well, I’ve finally made it to Ross River.

The last couple of days (almost a week!) were great over at Matt and Kara’s. Thank-you Thank-you Thank-you for welcoming me into your home and ‘adopting’ me. Hope my disappearance didn’t cause too much chaos for you tonight with the rug-rat. Don’t worry, I’ll be back soon enough :-)

The drive out to Ross River was amazing. The scenery was breath taking - if I would have been more prepared, I would have just mounted my camera to take pictures on intervals, but .. I didn’t think of that until much much later.

I’ve made it to my house. It’s not that shabby of a place .. much better than I thought it was going to be. The only issue that we currently have with the house is the huge bee/wasp nest on the side of the house. But, housing is supposed to be coming over to deal with that soon.

My movers also arrived here tonight as well. I have boxes all over the place currently. Good thing I still have two weeks before school starts .. and at least a week before my housemates stuff arrives here in Ross. Hopefully by then it will all be sorted away .. or at least put away somewheres until I need something.

** note, this was posted after the fact as I just got internet today.

I'm official

Tuesday, August 25, 2009 11:38 AM By Kennie

This morning I ventured down to the Motor Vehicle Office / Liquor Store (as they are both in the same building - and as a side note, in the Yukon, especially in the smaller communities, the DMV and Liquor store are in the same building as both are government run - so not only can I get my license there, I can also stock up on brewski at the same time).

To say the least, I will definitely miss my Nunavut license. That thing was quite classy, even if it was only a laminated piece of cardboard. But at least it looked legit and had security features (plus, when explaining it to the RCMP/Police/Liquor Store, they actually did believe that it was legit).

Now, my Yukon drivers license? I could make it on my computer [and because of this, I am not posting up a photo of it - seriously, it could be QED]. I am not entirely sure how it will be perceived as my primary ID when I get on a plane (I did get some strange looks with my Nunavut one), or how it will be perceived by our southern RCMP/Cops/Highway Patrol/State Troupers. I guess, I will just have to see how that goes when I wind up having to present it to them. Good thing I also always travel with my Passport ... hopefully that will keep me out of too much trouble :-)

My Veggie Auction Haul-In

Saturday, August 22, 2009 4:47 PM By Kennie

Ahhh fresh, organic, garden grown, just picked this morning veggies ... and they are all mine ... mine! (plus, I supported a good cause in getting them .. the Faro Search and Rescue, as I imagine at some point while I am up here, I will be in need of their services).

Made it to Faro

Friday, August 21, 2009 10:59 PM By Kennie


Just a quick note to let you all know that I made it to Faro in one piece (without getting lost) and am crashing at Kara and Matt's for the weekend before heading to Ross.

Today was filled with crazy shopping (satellite, mattress and enough food for at least three weeks - minus fresh veggies .. gotta figure that one out now) then filled with crazy driving cross country. The scenery was amazing - I only with the sun would have come out for a bit so the Yukon could really show off it's beauty. Fall, I think, is also just around the corner as many of the trees (well, the leaves) that I passed along the way were starting to turn yellow and the temperature has taken a nice dip downwards compared to previous weeks.

I do have photos, and will be posting them as I can over the next couple of days (I don't want to use up all of Kara's bandwidth :-) ).

So.. these will have to do for now:

massively huge cinnamon bun from a lil bakery/pit stop in Braeburn (?? - or something like that)

My now very dirty truck .. it's even more dirty now

Brooks Brook / Teslin

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 9:30 PM By Kennie , In , , ,

Today orientation brought us out to Brooks Brook (about 30 minutes outside of Teslin) and to Teslin. Today focused a lot on making connections: connections to the land, to our heritage/culture, to education and to each other.

We first began by creating a large circle in the tent field where we were welcomed by the Teslin Tlingit Council/Representatives to the area followed by a prayer said by an elder in Tlingit (the language of the Tlinkit), followed by a very moving (and poignant) song sung by one of our teachers about the loss of her people's culture and what would elders think of it. It was quite a moving song, and did bring home the message of how today's First Nations peoples are struggling to find their way between the modern world and the traditional ways of their peoples.

After, we introduced ourselves to each other. It was quite amazing to see how many new teachers were there that are from out East. We had ourselves a little kitchen (well campfire) party at lunch and swapped stories.

We then broke off into round table meetings where we discussed the link between education and First Nations and how everything fits together.

Brooks Brook (Yukon River)

In the afternoon, after our first session, we had a "free choice" of what activity we would like to do. We had the choice of canoeing, learning about medicinal plants, traditional music, hand games, a philosophical hike thought he woods or a trip into Teslin to view the town and heritage center. I chose to head on down to Teslin/Heritage center as this might be the only time that I might get there, unless I decide to drive into BC.

Those of us who went to Teslin/Heritage Center were escorted by Chief Peter Johnston (of the Teslin Tlingit), who provided us with a vast amount of information about the history of the Teslin Reserve (now called a settlement site) and the town of Teslin itself. While at the Teslin Heritage Center, the structure of the totem poles was explained to us.

Each of the totems represent elements of land, water and air. On the outside are a raven (Kukhhittan) and eagle (Dakhl'awedi) that represent the air element. The two middle totems, frog (Ishkitan) and beaver (Deshitan) represent the water element. The center totem, wolf (Yanyedi) represents the land element. And because the Teslin Tlinkit are an inland peoples, the totems all point inland. edit: also as Michael has pointed out to me, each of these also represent the five clans within the Teslin Tlingit.

Raven / Kukhhittan

Frog / Ishkitan




Kennie with the Frog/Ishkitan totem

Kennie with the Beaver/Deshitan totem

After our visit to Teslin/Heritage center we returned to Brooks Brook for a delicious homemade supper of Turkey, veggies, salad and other fixins all made by some really great volunteers. The food was amazing!

After we all ate and cleaned up, it was time to get heading back to town ..... at least that is how we all felt as we were starting to fall into sleepy time (being up and at the Board office for 6:45am is tough).

It was a great day out learning about First Nations Education and the history of Education and First Nations as well as learning more about the Tlinkit people.

This Mornings Adventure

Tuesday, August 18, 2009 5:29 PM By Kennie , In , , ,

Since I currently have no personal transportation here in Whitehorse (I am picking up my truck on Thursday). my options for transportation are a) walking b) taxi c) hitch-hiking or d) bus. Well ... walking would have been nice, but it's a 6km walk and I didn't feel like walking through Whitehorse starting at 6:30 am to make it to a 8:00 am meeting. Taxi .. yeah, I kinda want to keep my money - well as much of it as I can. Hitch-hiking, don't really think my mother would approve. Bus. Oh the bus. Yes public transportation. We all know my experiences using the bus this summer in Fredericton (well, at least those of you who follow me on twitter / facebook).

So, yes, i dared this morning. I took the bus. But first, I had to find the bus stop. I had a general idea of where I had to go, so I just walked through downtown before heading out to the transfer location. And on my journey through the downtown to my bank as I needed some cash I found the most wonderful place in the world!

I almost didn't even see it as I was concentrating too hard on finding the bank building. But, just out of the corner of my eye, I saw that familiar green circle and that nice looking lady in the middle

Yes, Starbucks. Hallelujah! Grande Hazelnut Latte here I come!

Happy and caffeinated, I continued my walk downtown towards the bus stop. I found it. However, I had no idea what side of the street I should be on. Now, I did have a map of the city and the bus route map .. but my mapping skills are not all that great. Thankfully, there was a huge bus schedule billboard there that told me if I wanted to go on these routes you should be on the side of the road with the Canadian Tire (well, the old Canadian Tire building).

The bus driver was very nice too and confirmed that I was indeed on the right bus ... I however had no idea what stop I should stop at, but he said not to worry and that he would just stop at the one I needed (Yeah!). And yes, i did make it to my location for the day.

Photos from my Walk around Whitehorse

6:25 AM By Kennie , In , ,

I'm here!

Control Tower at Airport

Soaring Eagle Mural

Hendrix Mural on the Northern Hemphisphere Building

Gas is the same price here as down East!


Moose Dueling and Haut Couture

Dog Sledding Mural on Building

Mural on the Centre de la Francophone building

Yukon from the Air

Monday, August 17, 2009 7:19 PM By Kennie , In , ,

For any one who is curious, little video I put together of the scenery of Yukon that I was able to see out of my seat window as we were approaching Whitehorse. Video isn't too intensive (size wise ... ) but for those of you on Qiniq (you know who you are) it might take some time to load.

I should be given the title of Time Lord

6:03 PM By Kennie , In , , , ,

And rightfully so.

I have just finished traveling over 3000km, crossing/entering not one, not two, not three, not four but five Canadian Time Zones (Atlantic, Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific) and I have no idea which way is up anymore. I’m pretty sure I got my watch on local time as I tried to keep up with it as the time changed while in the air ... and I think I have it. Fortunately, my cell phone is smart and has auto updated the time .. so at least I have one clock that is correct ... I hope.

So, the flights ... Where to begin.

The Fredericton to Toronto flight was quite uneventful .. which is surprising as every time that I take that Fredericton flight to XYZ something amusing always happens (like “Oh, you’re luggage isn’t going to follow you on this flight, it’s going on the Montreal connector instead and will be in Ottawa when you land” [does any one remember what happened here? Yeah, my luggage SO was not in Ottawa when I arrived there ... it was in Vancouver]). I do have to say, there is something about taking the Toronto early riser flight as it is just usually filled with business people heading back to Toronto for the week. And this time, the Jazz jet was comfy! Nice leather seats and leg room! What did I do to deserve leg room??!!

Get to Toronto in normal time ... except for that I only had 25 minutes by then to report to my next gate. And dude! Pearson International is one huge airport! I swear I must have walked at least two kilometers to just get to my departure gate which was at the completely opposite end from my arrivals gate. By the time I found my gate after searching for 10 minutes to find an open bathroom (aparently cleaning bathrooms happens on the hour) I didn’t have much time. Sadly, I had to forego my Java fill-up as the Timmy’s line was snaking throughout the airport as usual, and Starbucks wasn’t much better.

Boarding the plane to Calgary in Toronto went off without a hitch. My seat on my flight from Toronto to Calgary wasn’t the greatest .. seat wise it was quite nice - comfy, leg room, and I even had the power outlet so I could plug in my computer ... however, the two people I got stuck between - well... i guess it could have been worse. On my left I had ‘Mr. I am wearing to much Axe’ and to my right I had ‘Mr. I’m gonna keep trying to send and receive messages / calls on my Blackberry throughout the whole flight’.

And then things just kept getting worse. We got delayed for almost two hours in Toronto as two passengers ‘decided that they weren’t gonna be traveling with us today’ (as the pilot put it) so they baggage handlers had to take all of the luggage off of the plane and go through it all to find these two missing passengers bags. First we were told the delay was going to be 10 minutes... then 20 minutes ... so far so good .. only 30 minutes behind schedule, still tons of time to hit up Tim Horton’s and call my Grams in Calgary when I land ... then the next thing I knew I was an hour into Star Trek and we still hadn’t taken off. Now I begin to wonder if I am going to make my connection. If we take off in the next 20 minutes, I can still make it without too much difficulty. Yeah right. Another 30 minutes pass before we finally taxi out to the tarmac. By now my flight that was to leave at 8:00am EST was now leaving at 9:30 EST. Wonderful. There goes my layover in Calgary.

The flight was alright. Watched Star Trek - it was ok, wouldn’t have paid to see it in the theater though, but it was alright and watched an episode of Flashpoint before I passed-out for a couple of hours. And of course, I woke up with a great body jerk (ya know when sometimes your body just spazes our for no reason what so ever when you are sleeping? Yeah, that was me).

Of course, I was not the only one in this predicament. Although I was the only one running off to Whitehorse, there were several other connections to be made that were going to be very tight. Thankfully, they did make an announcement that for those who had to connect to XYZ to leave the plane first and for everyone else to remain seated. Well, we all know how well people listen to instructions right?

Off running I went. As we all entered into the terminal calling out ‘Where is XYZ’s gate??!!’ our names are being called across the PA “Passenger ABC just arriving from flight 117, please make your way to Gate 123 immediately’. Yeah, immediately my butt. I had to go pee (I can’t stand using airplane loos .. just.. ick!. So I dashed to the loo then dashed to my gate.

Once I got onto my Whitehorse flight, I had the oddest seat in the whole jet. I basically was in the next row down from where a single row of seats turns back into a double row of seats. So I had no seat in front of me (bummer, where will I put my laptop?), which also means I have no on board entertainment system either (oh what am I supposed to do with myself for two and a half hours?). Luckily for me, our flight was only half full so I switched seats (went across the row to the open window seat. I quite enjoy having window seats. I didn’t enjoy the kid that wouldn’t stop kicking the back of my seat ... but I was able to stand that kid more than the other kid that sounded like Caillou’s human clone. So I spent my time watching Flashpoint, Monsters vs Aliens and playing Resistance on my PSP.

After 12 hours of traveling I finally touched down in Whitehorse. What a relief it was to get off of the planes. I spent a good 11 hours on them today and it was time for a stretch of unbelievable proportions. I hurt. All over. I get into the Whitehorse terminal and then I start to wonder if my luggage actually made it here. I did only have a couple of minutes to make my sprint to my flight, so did my luggage follow? Well, the luggage gods were looking over me today. My luggage arrived with me! Whoo-hooo!

I grab my bags and hop onto the shuttle to the Gold Rush Inn, drop off my bags, grab my sneakers and head out for a little walk around town to stretch. While walking I discovered where Whitehorse Motors was (and I think I saw my truck), the Superstore (which is huge - and I mean huge), Staples, Shoppers Drug Mart and of course Tim Horton’s (my favorite place in the world ... well, second favorite).

Now I’m just hanging out here in my hotel room debating wether I should go to sleep now (it’s only 6:00pm here, 10:00pm in NB) or if I should try to stay awake a little longer. I have a feeling sleep is going to win this battle.

All my bags are packed ... and I'm ready to go

Sunday, August 16, 2009 2:13 PM By Kennie

Well here we are. My final 12 hours in New Brunswick. Where has the summer gone? No, seriously, where has it gone? Soon I will begin my grand journey to the Yukon... at a very early hour too (gotta be up and going at 3:00 am cause I gotta leave for the airport by 4:00 am to arrive at the airport for 4:30 am to catch a 6:00 am flight to Toronto, then onto Calgary, then to Whitehorse.. and with any luck, will be arriving at 1:00 pm PST. It is going to be one long day.

I am quite excited to be heading out to Yukon though. It will be different than my time spent up North in Arctic Bay, but, similar in some respects.

Stay tuned for updates while traveling across Canada!


Wednesday, August 12, 2009 6:23 PM By Kennie

Nabbed this pic while out on a run through my old neighborhood

After the Rain

Friday, August 7, 2009 4:32 PM By Kennie

Arctic News

Tuesday, August 4, 2009 8:04 PM By Kennie , In , , , , ,

Canada discusses larger role in Danish-Swedish Arctic mapping trip

By Bob Weber (CP)

Days after a Danish-led mapping expedition left port to sail into the waters near the North Pole, Canadian government officials are still discussing the role this country should play in the mission.

"We are still negotiating the details of how far we are part of that," said Jacob Verhoef, head of Canada's Arctic mapping program. "It's a little bit late."

Last weekend, the Swedish icebreaker Oden headed for the waters north of Greenland to map the Lomonosov Ridge, an undersea ridge geographers expect will be crucial in determining boundaries in the Arctic sea bed. The expedition is led by Denmark, which has a claim in the region because of its ownership of Greenland.

Canada was a partner in a similar Danish mapping expedition in 2007. But Verhoef says only one Canadian is on board Oden this time. Nor is there any guarantee Canada will have access to data produced during the voyage.

"That's something we are still discussing with them," said Verhoef.

In 2007, Canada participated by paying Oden's expenses for several days in return for the ship's crew gathering data on a specific area of the Arctic seabed.

This expedition is expected to look mostly at the eastern side of the Lomonosov Ridge, which is likely to form part of Denmark's Arctic claim under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. But Verhoef said the boat is likely to get as close to the North Pole as ice conditions permit.

International law professor and Arctic expert Michael Byers suggested the lack of a firm commitment from Canada might stem from the Conservative government looking to save money on the Arctic file.

"The Lomonosov Ridge is an area where we have potential overlapping claims (with Denmark). We may be missing an opportunity to acquire some quite valuable information."

"Likely, the Conservative government is trying to do some cost saving," said Byers, who was a New Democrat candidate in the last federal election.

Other parts of the government's Arctic strategy have already seen cutbacks.

Six planned Arctic patrol boats have had their firepower and surveillance capability reduced. Their engines will also be less powerful than originally envisioned.

The government also recently announced that tests planned this summer for a High Arctic surveillance system at the gates of the Northwest Passage will be postponed.

All my Boxes are Packed ... and On a Truck

10:18 AM By Kennie , In , ,

.. I'm standing here in an empty storage locker...

Well, everything I own (well.. almost everything) is now on the back of an United Van Lines truck on it’s way to the Yukon. And I think reality is starting to set in now. I. Am. Moving. To. The. Yukon. It still all feels so surreal. Just 9 weeks ago I was living in Nunavut, and now I’m heading +4000km West from where I was. It just seems so strange!

But, all of my stuff (my many many totes) all fit nicely into the truck and nothing had to be repacked (yeah!) .. and only two boxes had to be packed in all. Everything else was either pre-packed from my move to Nunavut or had already been packed in rubbermaid totes (I will have plenty of storage buckets for the Yukon!).

Not too much left to do now. Just need to mail off some certification forms to Whitehorse, and then I get to relax for the next two weeks while I count down the hours till I take off into the air again.

Not too much longer now!

Sunday, August 2, 2009 6:40 PM By Kennie , In , ,

Wow, the summer has passed rather quickly... where did it go? It’s hard to believe that almost 9 weeks of summer vacation has already passed! And I feel like I’ve done nothing - well other than pack, buy stuff for the move, organize the move and well .. move! Maybe next year I’ll be able to have a ‘real’ summer vacation where I don’t have to worry about getting mountains of paper work done (maybe).

But soon, in 14 more sleeps, I will be heading off to the Yukon. Bright and early on August 17, I say farewell to NB once again, and head out for a 12 hour journey cross Canada.