Chasing the Northern Lights

Jim was not well the night before we were to meet. Joan called in the morning just as we were suiting up for a quick run so as to be back in time to meet them, implying that we had a free day. But as we were almost ready for a run, we went ahead anyway, at around 9:30a.m., which was the normal time for meet up when we were having classes. We met no familiar faces, and I followed Su to wherever she took us, which normally would be somewhere we won’t need to queue up long. We had snow overnight so that we headed as high up as we could and did a few runs, until my right ski binder somehow began to act up and release the boot on quick turns a few times, which in turn slowed me down and waned my confidence. We decided to end early and have the skis checked at the pro shop.  I learnt something interesting when I went to collect the skis today. First, the shop assistant almost couldn’t find them. When they did, I asked for an account of what the technician had done to them. It took a while though; and I was told that my skis were now marked left and right with asymmetrical tunings, which is rather unusual, but the assistant couldn’t advance further to my enquires. I thought I would have a rest day after all, but I was wrong. Su insisted that I should try the skis just in case the technician didn’t do a good job. So we set out today at 2:30p.m. for a gentle ski down from the top to mid station in just over an hour including the upload and download, which was not bad and not too much work. The skis worked alright apparently; and in any case, we needed to pack up for tomorrow. The bus would leave Whistler at 6a.m. sharp for Vancouver airport, from where we would take a domestic flight to Yellow Knife.

So we ended up skiing every day we were here so far, and apparently Su had a great time, which is important. We began packing, but first we needed to decide how many bags to carry, for these domestic flights charge for everything and by the bag. It didn’t take long to reach a decision. We would each take one, so that even if we lose one, one would still have the other as back up. Yellow Knife has promised very cold weather and the main activities would be in the evening after 9:30p.m., which makes packing rather interesting. In any case, it would only be a four-night trip; and on the 5th morning we would fly back to Vancouver and then back in Whistler the same day. Su promised that this would be her last effort to track the aurora, after the last trip to Tromsø.

Looking back on last week, we slept in a lot, while Su took longer to prepare some meals. We skipped a few meals during the week and woke up late, but that didn’t bother us at all. Somehow, Su seemed to be spending more time on her phone checking up and replying to messages, to take full advantage of the phone card she bought in Hong Kong before we left. She had acquired two cards, obvious one for each of us, both with unlimited data when used in USA, Canada and Mexico, with one having an additional feature of unlimited phone calls to the countries mentioned. She could have had a blind spot thinking she could call Hong Kong free, but we found out soon enough that it wouldn’t add up. She ended up making expensive calls to Cathay Pacific on flight changes. That would be another story.

Somehow, Yellow Knife came up in the last few months in my life. I had never heard of the name before; and when a friend talked about it a few months ago in passing, I never thought I would visit the place, which sounded rather remote, uninhabitable and not as interesting as many other places that I have yet to visit. Somehow, I do not have a bucket list of places to go. Maybe I am getting on; or on a more positive side, maybe I have learnt not to have unnecessary attachments in life. In any case, I am now going there, and that is certain; and I hope I can tell you something about it the next time. Until then, stay safe and be healthy. I have heard that the civil servants are back at work. Good for them.

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