Home is where my little Northern Heart is ❤️❤️ ;)

I love travelling the world.  Seeing and experiencing new things, connecting with people of all walks of life.  I always entice myself with thoughts of being once again immersed in a completely different culture, with a totally different language that I don’t speak.  It’s exciting, and a way to push myself outside the everyday box, and even sharpening my survival skills.  It becomes a part of you, something that runs through your blood, well the blood of someone who has been bit by the travel bug.

However, no matter how many continents you visit, and people you meet, and explorations you have, there is always that one place, that lifelong place that you call home.  Where your roots are.  Where everyone knows your name….. Well at least if you happen to be from a small town like myself.  I was privileged enough to spend this summer back home, in my beautiful little hometown in Northern Canada.  The longer I have travelled the more I have come to love and appreciate it.  It’s small, it’s beautiful, at times its buggy.  Yes sir-ee, there is a season for swarming, clouds of bugs that you may or may not ingest when breathing .  But while also being the land of the midnight sun in the summer.  Other times(say winter perhaps) its freaken COLD! Try well below -30 degrees Celsius and minimal hours of sunshine, during the  majestic, and blood chilling yet heartwarming winter.  Where you can bask in the spectacular show of dancing colors that the Northern lights spread across the sky.  Yup this would be my Hometown.

Welcome to Hay River.

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Named after the River that flows through it, right into the Great Slave Lake, which happens to be one of the 10th largest lake in the world.  There is a population of about 3500 people.  It boasts some pretty amazing scenery, if I do say so myself.  And no….. I am not just being Bias because I am from there:) But its kind of hard not to be.

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IMG_0960There is fantastic fishing in the summer, as well as plenty of water for you to play on and in.   IMG_1299There is the Hay River Campground right in town located beside the beach, if you feel like connecting with nature, and forgetting that you are still right in town.  Run by Lucy Benoit for over 20 years, she always keeps it so well run and maintained.  I definitely enjoyed some time there this summer. The town puts on a town event every year called Hay Days, with a weekend full of different events, and there’s baseball tournaments(that other northern communities participate in), town dances(as there are no bars really), great people, and beautiful wildlife.  Although, you always have to be cautious of bears. IMG_0881 Beautifully impressive animals they are, but also can be very dangerous.  Wrestling a bear isn’t recommended;) and well neither is going in for a bear hug.

 

 

One thing I really enjoyed this summer was visiting the Fisherman’s Warf, which is put on every Saturday during the summer in the Old Town.

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There you will find different vendors, selling their homemade baked goods, fried goods, grown goods, handmade goods, and yup, you got it, FISH! Fresh fried or grilled Great Slave Lake Whitefish.  One of the northern delicacies, which I never get tired of.  The Warf is a great place to go and mingle with other people from the community, a great way to support the locals, and enjoy the charming little ambiance it offers, while also soaking up some summer sunshine.

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Located about 40km outside are 3 separate waterfalls, that are always beautiful sight to enjoy. And Yes. The water is brown. But fresh!:)

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Another summer tradition, one of my favorites!! Is floating down the river. ‘Oh, Heck Yes!’. IMG_4154Every sunny day there are groups of people who get together with their blow up rafts/tubes, a few beverages, starting up river, and floating down it for hours. Good weather, good company, good tunes. It’s just an awesome time, and super relaxing.

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Well the summers up here are spectacular, and pretty un-comparable, and I always feel so privileged to enjoy them.  Even though the winters are Long, COLD, and more night then day light, there are also so many incredible and very amazing aspects about it here then too.  But this article is for summer.  Winter can be talked about when that time comes.  It best to live for the moment;)

Here’s to another kick ass summer in the North, I love my home, its way up there for sure! So that being said…..

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That’s a Catch!!:)

When in the Northwest Territories Capital city of Yellowknife, a must stop for some incredible ‘Fish & Chips’  is Bullock’s Bistro. Located in the Old Town, in an old building full of character, run by a very friendly and talented chef named Andre,  it is one of my absolute favorite restaurants. Ever. 🙂 Any time I am back in home in Northern Canada, and in YK, I make it a point to go and eat there.

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What are you waiting for?! Come on in!

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It is by no means a high end restaurant, its more of a relaxed environment, where you can just chill out, take a load off and give your tastebuds a run for their money.  You can help yourself to the drink fridge, unless its a Alcohol filled beverage you are after, in which case you will have to ask for assistance. b10 There is a tiny patio outside as well, where in the summer you can enjoy the ambiance of the outdoors while deliting your palate.

It’s considered a bit pricey by some, with a fish and chip meal begining at about $26, but the fish is fresh from the ‘Great Slave Lake’, and you get a good portion, with fresh cut chips(not sure if he picked the potatoes himself tho, a salad, and ridiculously delicious hot out of the oven buns. b4 On a day where the reel won’t stop turning, and there are lots of  good catches,  you can be lucky enough to have the wide array of options that consist of Whitefish, Cod, Pike, Trout, Pickerel, and Arctic Char.

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I don’t know, but I do not mind paying the price for the quality, and freshness.  It is well worth it.

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One thing Bullock’s in known for is their secret sauce they make, that you pour on your fish.  It truly is delicious!! Hmmm, and as would everyone else, I want to know what’s in it!! They also have a really delicious home made feta dressing for the salad, which I thoroughly enjoyed! 😉b6  All these little touches just add to the dining experience.  If you want to get into the true spirit of visiting this little Bistro, then you can grab a pen and leave your mark on the wall.  The whole place is covered in people’s markings;) So of course I got right in there!! Gotta keep the traditions rollen on!:)

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Make sure you go there with an appetite and sweat pants.  Cause you are gonna leave full and your top button of your pants undone.  Yes, if you want a truly nothern experience, in a way that you don’t have to physically go out and catch some fish yourself(although, that’s always fun too!), then ‘Bullock’s Bistro’ is a great choice, and will provide you with nothing less then a memorable experience.  DeeeeLish!!

It was a Folken Good Time!:)

So here I am back on my Northern Canadian soil, and once again, at the annual ‘Folk on the Rocks’ festival in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. I love attending any folk fest I can, and well music festivals in general, but particularly this one. Not to be Bias just because I am from this neck of the woods;) But seriously, its stunning up here, and nice that I always get to catch up with old friends. This time around, it was a little up in the air if the roads from my side of the lake to Yellowknife were going to be open, as there are over 180 forest fires burning around the NWT at this moment, and alot of them in this area, and the roads were being closed and opened, as they fought and contained the fires. The roads were super smoky!!  So everything was happening moment to moment. I kept on top of checking the highway conditions.. And when it came time for me to hit the road, all signs pointed to GO! So off I went equipped with my tunes, and my keen sense of adventure, ready for an epic weekend.

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The drive itself is fantastic, and it’s pretty much a given that you will see Buffalo either on the highways, or beside them,  and if you’re lucky, a bear, or some other spectacular species of Canadian wildlife. I kept pulling over to check things out that looked of interest to me during the drive. It never fails, I always act like a traveller even back home. You can’t ever appreciate life too much. Just take it all in:) 5 hours later, and I pulled into the ‘Fred Henne’ campsite in YK, to meet up with my crew, and get my tent all pitched and ready to go. We had three campsites booked, and a group of phenomenal peeps, can’t ask for much more.

Friday night we went to a free performance in Sambe Ke Park, by this amazing group called ‘The Jerry Cans’, from all the way up in Iqaluit, Nunavut.  The music was amazing, and I love that they include some tradition throat singing into the mix, as well as country rhythms, blues, and reggae. Incredible. They definitely had everyone up dancing, and the Park was an absolute beautiful setting. The Friday night before Folk begins, is always one of the best nights to go out, as all the bands are playing at various bars, so you can bar hop and check them all out. It’s fun, but there are lines at places, that can be the only un-fun part. However well worth it!!

Hello “Folk on the Rocks”!!

Let the party begin. Ok, so it began the night before… So let the party continue! The set up is pretty awesome there are 6 different stages, including a cultural one and a children’s stage, artisan vendors, food vendors, and of course Beer Gardens!(which I became well acquainted with)… Haha, as you do, If you are wise(which we like to think we are), you will head straight to the main stage on arrival to Folk to lay your blankets in a prime location for later on in the evening.

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Strategy is always key:)And it fills up fast!! Inside the beer gardens you can get food, like hamburgers, etc.. your typical festival beer food, and, in case you didn’t guess.. Beer! or coolers..I don’t really drink either of those things, but during Folk fest, it becomes a different story.. And well, when the sun is beaming and the tunes are flowing, it all works very well together. The stage in the beer gardens always has good bands playing, so you also get to do some dancing, while you mingle with friends old and new, and just love the vibes. There was a super great line up of artists this year, and a few of my favorites were, Matt Mays, The Strumbellas, Yukon Blonde, and Harlan Pepper, The Jerry Cans(as mentioned before), but really there were many great performers at the festival. Saturday proved to be just as awesome as we had anticipated.  If you seen a puff of dust in front of the stage, that was me, dancing up a storm! Every so often people would come by giving little nick knack’s away,IMG_1168 and we scored some Bandana’s!! “what color would you like?” wow! I even get a choice. How spoilt. Haha. Hmmmm, but ok, ‘I shall take Blue.’ But really now, Bandana’s have their advantages, and will come in handy when you least expect it.IMG_1169 I also got some chap stick and bug spray, two northern Essentials!! The beers gardens are shut at 9, which then means Main stage is where it’s at. We were there till about 1130pm, then the day was done. Off we went. I really like that the city had a bus just for the Folk Fest! Very freaken handy after a day of festivities, and when you are ready to head back downtown to do some bar hopping.
Sunday morning, after a big Saturday, we all had the craving for a good hearty breakfast to top us up for another day of Sunshine, tunes, and bevy’s! Otherwise known as ‘Sunday Funday’. So we went to a well known local called, “Gold Range Bistro’. It is your typical diner style restaurant… But with its northern flare of course:) The food was good, and the company was obviously awesome! IMG_1181Between the Bailey’s/Coffee, and a plate full of fuel to start our engines, we were ready for anything! Anything entailing, live music, dancing, sun, sand, and beer gardens that is.
I have to say, I loved my Folk Crew!! They are all super awesome, each and every one of them, the weekend would not have been the same without the whole crew, because everyone added their own dynamics to it. I love when a group of awesome people come together. IMG_1178

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Being out and about in the hot sun, checking out different stages, you do tend to work up an appetite! So luckily there are all those handy food vendors there. Fries anyone?

IMG_1180This little vendor had fresh to order fries, and yup as you can see, it was a done deal.

A little later on during our ‘Sunday Funday’ adventures, I had the pleasure of running into, and having a beer with the group called Harlan Pepper. They have an awesome rock groove going on, have been friends since kindergarten, and are constantly growing in popularity.

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I have to say, not only are they great performers, but also a very nice bunch of guys. For sure enjoyed that encounter.

Photo Credit for this one goes to Jared Monkman(Bottom left), whom is a very talented northern photographer:)

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Main stage again in the night was going off! I loved how all the different groups/artists jam together at the end of the day, and love it just as much as everyone else.

It was the place to be. The place to finish another unforgettable folk fest. “Folk on the Rocks 2014!!”.

One of those hilarious moments, where you think you are posing for a photo, and a guy in the background is trying to photo bomb, and its on video!