Journey Home Part 3: Winter
This is one of the mountains you see from Lake Louise. I really enjoyed being out in the fresh cool air, wearing layers and hearing the snow beneath the skis.
Driving on the other hand, I hate it. Much of Amber's extended family lives in Hazelton, BC on the highway between Prince George and Prince Rupert. From Red Deer, it's about a 14 hour trip, so we stopped for the night in Prince George. There is a stretch though that nearly sucks the life force out of you when you drive in the winter. This strech of highway is between McBride and Prince George - 200 kms. It took me 3 hours to do it when we went at Christmas. Visibility wasn't that bad, but the roads had a nice slick layer of ice that kept everyone (all 15 vehicles that passed us) going about 80 km/hr.
Once we arrived in Hazelton though, it was great - probably the most relaxing part of the entire trip. We spent all of our nights at Amber's uncle Terry and Aunt Liz's house. We got to know them a lot better along with their 2 children - Matt and Tiffany. Blaise got along well with everyone. We visited with Amber's grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles, and really for the first real time some of her cousins once removed (or Blaise's second cousins).
Terry owns sled dogs and has passed the skill on to his children. Another skill he's passing on is trapping. Matt and Terry invited me along to check their trapline on dog sleds. This was definitely a highlight of experiencing winter. The dogs were great. Two were named Takla and Skeena.
These are the furs Matt and Tiffany trapped this winter: 4 martens (up to $185 each), 1 white weasel, and 8 squirrels ($1 each). Terry spoke of how these skills aren't really useful anymore. In many ways he's right - technology is where the jobs are - but the work ethick, respect for nature, knowledge of self and the time spent with their father is of enormous value - even in the job market.