The next great adventure of Yellowknife was somewhat less environmental. In fact it left me smelling like a fuel drum for the remainder of the trip. What was this joy? Snow mobiling (is that what you call it or did I make that up? Looks weird)
Anyway, it was great fun, despite the irritating tourist on the snowmobile in front of me who left me with murderous thoughts, but more on that later. As with the dog sledding I had an extraordinary non confessed, yet probably painfully obvious, anxiety about fucking this right up and either making a tit of myself, breaking myself or killing someone. So again I listened intently to the instructions. Left hand brake, right hand throttle, it needs a fair amount of throttle to engage and move, but do it slowly, otherwise you’re liable to get thrown backwards through the air whilst your snowmobile takes off on a short solo adventure. Don’t get close to the person in front you might kill them. Don’t break single file you might die. Watch and pay attention to my hand signals otherwise you might die or kill someone else. And don’t piss me off else I might just kill you myself.
The chap was incredibly genuine and a nice guy, which above does not suggest, however he has the awful job of trying to get various tourists many of whom hardly speak English to not act like idiots and kill someone – I do not envy him one bit. A good story he shared was of a petite Asian lady who’s hands were so small she couldn’t grip the snow mobile handles, yet she was convinced she could ride the vehicle non the less. Amazing how people can’t understand why his insurance wouldn’t cover him to allow that and attempting to trick him or get aggressive with him really won’t get you anywhere.
Anyway, back to our joyous party. There were 8 of us and only 2 of us to whom English was our native tongue. We were put into order for the ride. 2 of the snowmobiles were to have 2 passengers each since and the other 4 of us would each have our own. All started reasonably well and the two man snowmobiles loaded up and headed out to wait at the edge of the enclosure. Then Man got me told off by telling me to sit on one of the waiting snowmobiles so he could get a photo. I was uneasy about it as I felt the other man would tell me off, but like a fool I did it anyway. Seconds later arms waving and a good telling off delivered with maximum intent from behind his helmet I knew the other man now thought I was merely another cretinous tourist. Moving on however, the first of the solo riders headed along safely and then second. Slight problem. This person couldn’t drive in a straight line nor seemed capable of turning either, which seems odd. They just kept ploughing right on toward to exterior barrier. The guide managed to get them to stop. Tried to re-direct them, but the second he stepped away, off toward the barrier they headed again. This chap would not be driving his own snowmobile today; his friend was placed as driver of two instead. And he was to be my nemesis.
Next was my turn. Deep breath, try not to flip through the air, crash into barrier nor drive into someone and crush them. Thankfully as per the dog sled it was nowhere near as dramatic as I feared it in my head. I was away and I was in line. Teachers pet Man was bringing up the rear since he had driven snowmobiles plenty of times before and thus was the favored one of the group. Idiot.
Next we were away. Clear instructions issued to stay single file and stop immediately where you are told as it could be a hazard ahead. Here the annoyance with my compadres in front began. My safety conscious geeky self was annoyed as they started weaving massive loops rather than following the single file. Given that one of them was clearly a moron when it comes to driving anyway seemed to make it all the more irksome (great word!). More importantly, however, because I was unable to tell when they would suddenly turn and cross back over my path it was hindering my ability to pick up speed! Wherever possible I held back super slow to create space between us to zoom on. Ultimately though I was hoping for them to dive face first into the icy lake below. It didn’t happen. I could only hope they felt a hint of pain from the eye daggers I sent their way.
Snowmobiling was super fun. With weather as nice as it was at only -8 if I get the chance again I’d go further and explore more. This was an exhilarating adventure of the petrol head variety. When we got back Man was asked to help park up the snowmobiles whilst the less capable of us sat in the classroom like naughty school kids. I blame Man for getting me told off, I’m sure I’d have been asked to help otherwise.
Post snowmobiles we dipped into a local art gallery and shop where I promptly purchased a lovely scarf with foxes on it. Made in Korea.
After that we headed to my favorite cafe – The Fat Fox. I love it mainly for its tea selection, notably the strawberry tea latte. Sounds horrific, tastes scrumptious. I also love the decor and the fact they’ve painted mini foxes in surprising places along the wall. As ever simple things please simple minds.
Of other culinary delights in Yellowknife was Bullocks Fish and Chip shop. Quite the place, very bohemian and crazy. People who visit can write on walls and tables and pin notes and business cards at will. It was a total delight of a place. My only slight mess up is that I thought Artic Char was a whitefish like cod. It wasn’t and it doesn’t appeal to my palette, but that is merely a reflection of my stupidity; The bread in this place alone is to die for.
I’m not sure I could live in Yellowknife, especially since it was mild, at a low of -23 C, the week I was there. However, I genuinely felt at home in this delightful town with its slightly hippy vibe. It plays to my burgeoning hippy self that seems to be coming more and more to the surface these days.