And so it begins; our moderate descent into winter.
Fort Nelson never seems to get much of the two transition
seasons of spring or fall, everyone in Fort Nelson plays hard during our short
hot summers. River boating, camping, swimming and many other summer activities.
Although winter brings a chill and a slight sigh for everyone who endures a
long 7+ months of it, we still find way to pass the time and steer clear of
cabin fever. How do we do this you ask? Well one of my personal favorites as a
kid was family snowmobiling trips, you may be freezing but the activity does
get you sweating enough to start warming up. Soon enough the kids are riding in
the sled behind the snowmobile and the campfires are lit. The familiar smells
of exhaust, fire roasted hot dogs and marshmallows engulfs your senses and
winter doesn’t seem so bad after all!
Living in Fort Nelson my entire life, I was used to -40
degrees, gearing up in layers upon layers of long johns and socks. Thinking
back now I would not be so comfortable now walking to school in that! My life
long friend and I would get ready for school, meet at our half way point and
begin our 20 minute walk to school; it didn’t seem like much back then. The
worst we walked in was a near-blizzard -42 the school buses weren’t even able
to start up anymore! It would take a miracle to get me out walking in that
weather now. My grand kid’s best not think I’m lying when I give them the age
old lecture about “when I was your age…”
A few other events that brighten up the winters here are:
The Canadian Open Sled Dog Races, The Snowmobile Races and
the Community Christmas Eve Dinner. The sled dog races are something everyone
should see at least once in there lifetime, people crowded around the starting
line watching the mushers gear up the dogs, people buzzing with excitement as
the signal to begin the race finally is blown. The teams take off as if someone
held a match under their behinds!
My FAVORITE event is the Snowmobile Races, almost everyone
in town heads out to the airport on a Saturday morning; the races are held in a
field just a hop, skip and a jump away from the airport. The races are divided
into classes of age and type of machine. One of my fondest and proudest moments
of my mom was when she raced back in 1994, she was on a white Polaris machine
and she took off so fast that the front of her sled lifted! She did over half
the race cat walking the sled! She won
second place and the next year she won first (without having to ride half the
race in the air!)
So, even as I sigh and complain that winter is creeping its
way back into Fort Nelson, I just have to remember…
It’s Fort Nelson!