The hidden years,142, Yellow knife

Door San-Daniel gepubliceerd op Saturday 29 August 07:41


Yellow knife

We had the fuel tanks filled with diesel and a cargo of steel tubing towered out above the cabin. The diesel grunted us across into the distance as drove over the almost deserted road. We had High Prairie behind us and still had zo'n1200 kilometer to bridge to Yellowknife. We were going Up North! After half an hour I started about Yellowknife and our work. ‘What exactly are we going to do, Bill, why pay us a portion of our earnings ahead?’ ‘We will bring materials about 350 miles deeper into the north and then come back’ Bill replied thoughtfully. ‘Well that sounds like a push over,’ I laughed .'Hmm ‘said Bil,’ that is what you would think if you do not know how things go.‘ ‘Bill,’ said emphatically, ‘I  do want to know how things go, ‘ I said,’ so shoot Bill!’ ‘All right then,’ began Bill ..

‘Yellowknife is nothing and actually has no right to exist, it is on a lake that you could easily take for an inner sea, which is 150 meters deep in places or more. It is among the top 10 largest lakes in the world.‘ ‘Yes,’ I said impatiently as I would have liked to have heard a lot more about our work and that Yellowknife lay near a lake did not seem to have really a lot  to do with it. ‘Give me a moment,’ said Bill, ‘because it's good if you understand things correctly. That prevents a lot of unnecessary questions'.’Yellow Knife was founded as a settlement in 1930, before that there were some huts and shelters, but as a place that was actually placed on a map it had no meaning. The first fellow actively working in the area was called Earney Blakeney and there is a statue in his honor in what you might call downtown Yellowknife.

Blakeney was with a friend from New York on his way to the Klondike in 1890 or around there .Much gold was being found there , so much that it caused a 'gold rush' fortune seekers rushed deep into Alaska to strike a claim and to become immeasurably rich. There were no roads, and just like now, no railroad, no planes so it was a monstrous enterprise in which many lost their life. Blakeney found on his way to Alaska in what is now called Yellowknife, gold. It made him wealthy but the gold discoveries of Yellowknife did not compare with the discoveries in the Klondike and the area around Yellowknife. ‘You have no idea what gold does to people,’ said Bill, ‘it changes them, friendships go to waste if one finds it and partners are murdered.’ ‘I know what you're saying,’ I replied, ‘something I experienced when we thought  with some friends to have found gold, and that was still under pleasant conditions in BC, say a holiday camp compared to where we are driving now.’ ‘Then I do not need to say anything about hardship or gold panning, Bill laughed. ‘No,’ I replied, ‘as I really do know a bit about panning’.

Blakeney put his camp up and had on some encounters with polar bears that he scarcely survived and was on a night almost kidnapped by a Sasquatch. ‘ ‘Do you know what those are, Bill asked?’. ‘I believe so,’ I said. ‘ The Sasquatch tore his horse and mule  apart on one night and then went for him '' When the morning light came the creature disappeared and Earney made it barely back to Yellowknife, then he never wanted to go into the wilderness again, Bill laughed, ‘yes stories become legends ‘category, strong stories I would say.’ I could not believe my ears. ‘Yup,’ I said and I thought of the Chucklewigs at Dead horse river, you never know ‘


‘Yellowknife is only 400 kilometers from the Arctic Circle, so you can imagine what a nice welcoming area that is.’ Bill continued. ‘I begin to understand,’ I said. ‘And last but not least,’ Bill went on,’ there are no roads! ‘ ‘What do you mean there are no roads,’ I asked bewildered. ‘ ‘I have to explain a lot, I see, said Bill. ‘ Pay attention, where does water flow to, always? ‘To the lowest point,’ I said, as an apprentice plumber in my last job I had been told that it went downhill. ‘Right,’ Bill, ‘and so it did up North,’ he said, so if there are no roads and you have  to go to get past mountains,to  a diamond  mine or an oil well, how do you get there? ' ‘I can not imagine it,’ I said. 'Over the lakes' shouted Bill triumphantly! ‘ ‘Over what,’ I cried bewildered? ‘ 'Over the frozen lakes, ‘Bill repeated now more thoughtfully,’ It's a bit problematic and there are sometimes  trucks that don’t make it because they go throught the ice, but it is the only means of supply and therefore it is also so well paid.‘ ‘Look Great Slave lake is 400km long so you will have a fairly long smooth road '

‘You want us to go on a longer drive to other settlements over frozen lakes,’ I asked. Not believing my ears?’ ‘Yes,’ said Bil, ‘that’s what we are going to do. But with us, many others. ‘ ‘Phew,’ I said, and you're telling me that now, now that I can not turn back? ‘ ‘That's right said Bill,’ but it's only for six or eight weeks. ‘

San Daniel 2015

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