Thursday, December 26, 2013

Yellowknife's answer to Burning Man

OK, so maybe our little Boxing Day diversion isn't anywhere close to the scope and extravagance of the actual Burning Man festival, but it got me out of the house and standing around in the snow at -32C.

A couple of our neighbours had some dead wood to burn, so they decided to stage a little neighbourhood bonfire down on the ice of Yellowknife Bay. It worked - I'd say about 30 people showed up to celebrate the season and say hello to one another. It was a good bonfire, big enough without going over the top - my dad was a fire safety inspector, so I have a healthy respect for the flame.

My biggest concern was the slamming sound I heard right after they lit the fire. At first I thought it was a rifle shot, but I was early by a few days - in the North, people in some communities fire rifles to welcome the New Year. When I realized the ice under my feet was popping, I shuffled toward the shore. It's the same place I put my kayak into the lake in the summer, so I know it's only a couple feet deep. Except that it's -32, so it's frozen solid and no need to worry. So I shuffled back to the fire.

I lasted for almost an hour before my toes got too cold and I decided to go home. When I left, there was a ring of water around the dying fire and the people in charge were getting ready to shovel snow over the embers.

Wonder what they're planning for next year.