Life in Colville Lake has been strange lately. The septic tank in the school cracked open and flooded the front of the school. School has been closed for close to two weeks now. A new tank was flown in and the soil was tested. School should be open again soon.
Despite the school closures, I have been keeping very busy within the community. The daughter of one of my friends had a birthday and I had the honour or joining in on family dinner and making a cake! The food was delicious and the time spent together was so special. I have been invited to lots of dinners and BBQ's. Less work has meant more time to build relationships and get to know families. I love how at home I feel in each home. Everyone is so hospitable and welcoming.
School closures and increased sunlight means kids are outside ALL day. We have been spending lots of time at the playground, walking to the store for treats, and exploring the land.
This past weekend I was able to join some friends on the land for spring hunt. The trip was AMAZING! My friend, Tracy, called me on Friday evening and asked me if I wanted to go hunt some ducks. She figured we would be back that night or early the next morning. Well, one thing led to another, and we were back Sunday morning at around 2am. Four of us traveled to Fish Pot together. Fish pot is only accessible by skidoo and takes about four hours to get there. We travelled across the lake and in through the forest. Breaking trail is a technical and scary experience (and I wasn't even driving). Tracy is probably the most talented skidoo driver around and not once did I feel unsafe. She weaves in and out of the trees with such grace and talent.
On our way we stopped off at many community camps. I was so amazed at their knowledge of the land and ability to navigate around. I would have been so lost out there without them. Everything looks the same to me. Their knowledge of the landscape and shoreline and abilities in spacial awareness is out of this world.
I quickly learned that a duck hunt does not mean hunting ducks. A duck hunt actually means hunting geese and swans. I have never seen so many geese and swans in one place in my life. Fish Pot is a creek that is starting to thaw and all the birds congregate there. Each year the locals venture out for the spring hunt.
We found the ideal spot on the side of the water and set up camp. I could not believe how comfortable they made it without any camping supplies. They laid out spruce branches on the ground for us to sleep on and created a wall of branches to keep the wind out. We made a fire and roasted a goose for dinner. I must say, I like goose better than ptarmigan and grouse. Goose meat is super tender and juicy. One of my biggest fears in moving the arctic was the idea of sleeping outside close to the wildlife. I am so glad I faced this fear!
On Saturday we ventured over to another camp where other community members had set up their hunting ground. Sheldon had gone out early and set up a tent frame with a wood burning stove in it. I was thankful for the shelter as it started snowing again in the afternoon. While at this camp I was able to learn how to pluck and singe goose and swan.
One of my students was at the camp with his dad. It was his first hunting experience and his first time using his own gun. I had the pleasure of being there to hear about the first goose he shot and witnessed him kill a squirrel.
The ice has been acting strange this year, which means all travel is dependent on the temperature and ice conditions. When the ice is wet it makes the skidoo slide around more. It is best to travel later at night when the temperatures are colder. Our journey back was adventurous. We took our time and went to a few more hunting spots. I love the pace of life here. At one point I said I was starting to get cold. So we stopped, the guys made a fire, and we warmed up and cooked more goose.
In the coming weeks I look forward to getting out and exploring more. The weather is getting warmer and Angela and I have been doing a daily walk to the airport. The school is set to do an On the Land trip. We will hopefully leave sometime in the next few days.