Running With Wolves

Rhonda Miller was driving to work in Edzo, N.W.T last Friday when she thought maybe she was still asleep and dreaming. Maybe, she thought, she needed another cup of coffee to explain what she was seeing up on the road ahead. She surely never expected what she eventually saw.

Miller thought there was a man walking along the road. “I thought that was strange because you don’t normally see people walking on the road that far out,” Miller stated.

“I slowed down a bit and I got closer. I thought it was a bear, and I thought, it can’t be a bear because it was the wrong time of year.” She suddenly spotted another animal and realized she was racing along the road with two black wolves.

Rhonda Miller

Rhonda Miller near home in N.W.T. CBC/N.W.T. photo.

Numerous men from Miller’s community have been wondering how fast the wolves were running. Miller estimates they were traveling between 40 and 50 km/hr.

‘So many men have asked, how fast were they going? Had I been a man I may have looked. I don’t know. I think between 40 and 50 [km/h]… it was fast,’ says Rhonda Miller. (submitted by Rhonda Miller)

“I was so struck by the size of their heads and their jaws.”

Miller recorded the wolves thinking the whole time that this was the only way anyone would believe what she witnessed. She described their frantic gait as “flat out”.

“When I got to school, I shared it with the teachers and kids,” Miller said. “Everybody was just amazed. I think just the power of them and the beauty of them, seeing them running like that, flat out, is pretty inspiring.”

Hudson Bay Quest Cancelled

Hudson Bay Quest musher and dogs.

Hudson Bay Quest musher off at the start. This year’s Quest is cancelled as a result of the recent blizzard! Brad Josephs photo.

Race organizers have made the decision to cancel the 2017 Hudson Bay Quest dogsled race due to the recent blizzard that buried the Churchill and Gillam regions this past week. The race was scheduled to depart Gillam this Friday, St. Patrick’s Day, and finish in Churchill.

Unsafe conditions are the main reasons for deciding to scrap the race this year as deep packed and drifting snow have blanketed the course and inhibited train service from Thompson to Churchill while track sections are being cleared. The train transports supplies as well as mushers and their dog teams to the race and serves as a lifeline to the south.

Just recently the Town of Churchill declared a State of Emergency, allocating resources toward snow removal and dealing with the aftermath of a storm that necessitated the Churchill community businesses to shut down for three full days last week. The race will be missed for sure, however the safety of the mushing teams and all support staff out on the trail between Gillam and Churchill is of prime importance.

Here is the official statement from the HBQ organizing committee: “While many sled dog races have cancelled due to lack of snow, we have wiped the smug looks off our faces now that we ultimately have too much snow. The Organizing Committee for the 2017 HBQ wishes everyone a safe and productive year as we navigate through this experience, and begin our planning for the 2018 Hudson Bay Quest.”

We look forward to the 2018 Hudson Bay Quest, back even stronger than before!

Churchill Blizzard Finally Subsides

Environment Canada defines blizzard conditions as visibility is less than 400 m resulting from blowing and/or falling snow for a minimum of four hours. Well, Churchill endured these conditions and more for over 56 hours and now the digging out begins.

Between 9 a.m. Tuesday and 5 p.m.Thursday the town and region was under siege from mother nature’s wrath and was under full blizzard conditions. Now the town looks like the north pole. Wind and frigid conditions have prevailed hindering clean – up efforts and it will be awhile before the town is functioning normally.

Peak gusts of 105 km/hr kept the town at a standstill with only the health center open after the loading dock was cleared and used as an entrance for patients. As usual in Churchill, snowfall will be hard to measure within town limits as the wind gusts move the snow into massive drifts. More accurate measurements can be found in the boreal forest but hard to reach for sure.

These photos are pretty unbelievable and are the most snow we have seen from one system in decades! What a ride the last few days have been for all the hearty Churchillians! We should be getting some epic northern lights shots within the next week with unique snow formations in the frames.

churchill blizzard

An eight-foot tunnel of snow to get into the house! Kelly Turcotte photo.

 

churchill blizzard

Churchill’s loader clearing the streets finally. Jodi Grosbrink photo.

 

churchill blizzard

No way out of the human door even. Jodi Grosbrink photo.

 

Churchill blizzard

Snow piled up in Churchill all the way to second story of apartments. Jodi Grosbrink photo.

 

churchill blizzard

Churchill is surely snowbound. Jodi Grosbrink photo.

 

churchill blizzard

Engine compartment of a Churchill vehicle. Belinda Fitzpatrick photo.

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