November 4, 1998

Today I was picked up at Don's and taken about 23 miles away from Churchill across very, very icy roads (some parts were paved, others graveled) to the Churchill Northern Studies Centre (see related links).  Today I worked on researching out the vast amount of questions that I have received regarding some of the things here in the north-land.  While there, I met the director of the centre and many of the staff, researchers, visitors, students, and other folk.  In the library, I had access to quite rare pieces of research that are not housed any other place in the world.  Much of the arctic research, or copies of it, is housed here.  For me, some of the most interesting information was on the boreal (northern) plants and the animals.  There volumes of material on the formation of the new province called "Nanavut", which will be the eastern half, basically, of the Northwest Territories.  This land is being returned to the native (First Nation) people, generally speaking.  The information here is absolutely amazing and so exclusive!  I had lunch at the centre, which consisted of soup, sandwich, and freshly made Bannock bread.  This two inch thick, 5lb loaf, was filled with raisins and was absolutely delicious.  We make Bannock in our survival week at Clay.  I need to remember to bring raisins for it next year!!!  The afternoon was dedicated to learning about sled- and racing- dogs.  John and Shelly Stetson, who hail from Minnesota, come here every year for a few months to educate folk about this.  Their dogs have traveled across Antarctica--the full length/width.  They gave an incredible slide show about the uses of the animals and their journey in the southern hemisphere.  Then, out into the cold, where myself and two other folk, boarded and "wheel-sled" with a team of sled dogs attached.  We were off for a few mile journey around the area.  There was a truck following us with shotgun just in case bear appeared.  (There had been one at the study centre at 5am).  We had a chance to stop and take some pictures before we eventually returned to the CNSC.  What an incredible journey.  What incredible dogs!  We then took an "official" tour of the Study Centre.  Not only is there the library, where I was working earlier, but there is a full research lab with specimen storage freezers; equipment garage; rooms for their long-term visitors and students; full staffed kitchen; shop; and then very unusual Aurora Dome.  This is a heated glass bubble-dome that sticks out of the top of the centre that allows the user to observe the northern lights without getting cold!  (Unfortunately it has been thick with cloud since I have been here).  Now the other two people on this with me were quite interesting themselves.  The gentleman with his wife, was the Chief Veterinarian for the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus----he knew Indianapolis well, and just been in Indy a month ago.  He has just retired, but is still on call!  (He was called just as he was leaving for here to assist in the delivery and an elephant calf).  When had a nice warm snack, and then it was time to return back to Churchill for the evening.  As it is dark at 4:30 now, it seems so late, when we got back.  After leaving off my stuff, then off to the Tundra Buggy office to look around at their displays. Then I went over to the Northern Nights Hotel and Diner for dinner and to talk with some buggy drivers.  I ran into Chris Watson, a driver that I had three years ago.  We had a nice chat for the evening, and then I returned back here.  I am finding that I am still having difficulty with sending photos due to the mouse failure, but am truckin' away at it.  The temperatures today were still hanging around -10!