Monday, June 20, 2016

Northbound Train

I have not been looking forward to this 46 hour train ride.  It sounds incredibly arduous...
Even though this will have been the fastest way I have gotten to Churchill.

Today is our second day.  We are freshly back on the tracks after a 5 hour layover in Thompson.  We still have 16 hours left, but it's just overnight at  this point.

Hanging out in Thompson wasn't as ridiculous as it seemed.  I'd rather get into Churchill at 9am than 4am anyway.

I chatted a bit with the people I've met on board.  Many of them are working up North, while others are just visiting.  I was skeptical about visiting at this time of year, but so long as the sea ice has broken up, there's a chance for both whales & bears.  Luckily it seems that there's little enough ice that they've seen the first few whales of the season, but enough ice yet that the bears are still up North hunting for seals.

Some hiking around town brought me to the Tourism Centre/Museum, which is interesting, but the woman who works there is immensely fascinating!  Tanna grew up right across the street; grew up eating caribou & moose meat, she says.  She was super supportive of sharing my photography & getting it onto Travel Manitoba's instagram, as well as sharing Alex's photos.  She says the best thing is to post as much as I can, & put little tidbits on the pictures.  We talked so much about travelling on the Nelson, about Pisew Falls & other features along hwy 6, about Churchill & Thompson, it really got me stoked about what is currently happening.

I'm on the road to Churchill to work for the summer.  This is happening.  I have been telling people on board about the cycles of polar bears, or other interesting facts around town.  There's a British couple up for the season to work at Lazy Bear Lodge (Emma & Mark).  I gave them a healthy fear of bears.  They'll work it out though.

After finishing everything in Winnipeg, I was finally excited to go.
As I pass through the Middle Track, heading towards the Land of the Little Sticks, I feel calm.
I understand the features of the land as I'm travelling through this country.
This is my home, and I know it well.

Stepping off the train to the earthy smell of mud, mixed with the smell of 10,000 pine trees gives the satisfying impression of when you arrive at the cabin.  It feels like a long trip to the lake.

I give longing looks to all the rivers I could ever paddle in a lifetime.
The Assiniboine River; that grows through the filtered silt of the Prairies, and the banks on which I grew up.
The Grass River; the lesser known river of the 'Middle Track', that feeds the 2 largest waterfalls in the province.

We are approaching the Nelson River now.  I am ill-at-ease as its presence looms.
The 4th largest river in Canada has a powerful and dangerous spirit.

There are not enough names in the world for all the bodies of water we pass.
A large lake is a drop in the ocean that is Manitoba.
The ground is soft, the effect of summer on permafrost.  The train is slowing...
The forest is dense here, and while the trees are shrinking, the beaver lodges are getting bigger...
The days are stretching, and not just because of the long train ride...
The train is slowing, dragonflies are passing us...
Won't turn around until we reach the ocean.
12 more hours...

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