Posted by: Silver | June 19, 2011

Peace River to Hay River

Distance: 607 km
Cycling time: 0

As those of you who’ve been following my blog for a while already know, this journey isn’t actually about the cycling, as far as I’m concerned. It’s a very attention-grabbing way of travelling, of course, which is all to the benefit of the real purpose of my journey (ie. bringing attention to the work of SOS Children’s Villages) but if cycling ceases to be sensible at any point (be it on account of weather, distance or damaged ligaments), I will happily switch to other modes of transport in order to keep the journey going. And so it was that, for the large and largely uninhabited distance between Peace River and the Northwest Territories, I switched to the bus again, in spite of the aversion to Greyhound that was fostered in me over the winter when one of their drivers was quite unbelievably rude to me and the company never even acknowledged my formal complaint against him, let alone did anything about it. However, spending almost two weeks simply cycling up and down the Mackenzie highway, without any opportunities to speak about SOS Children’s Villages along the way, would not have been an efficient use of my time, so the bus it was…

Fortunately, neither of the two main radio stations in the Northwest Territories seemed to think that this made my story any less interesting, and within a couple of hours of my arrival in Hay River, I was giving a live phone interview to CBC Yellowknife (basically Canada’s equivalent of the Beeb, but I would only have been heard within the territory, not nationwide). I also ended up live on air with CJCD (the other main station serving the territory), after the number I’d been given for them turned out to be their on-air competition line! I was extremely grateful that I managed to think fast enough to realize this before the whole of the Northwest Territories heard me having what I thought was a private conversation with a receptionist… Even better, it turned out that all one had to do to enter the competition was to tell the DJ something interesting, and it just so happened that I did have a topic to talk about… 😉

After successfully (I think!) negotiating my unexpected audience with the territory, the news department at CJCD rang me back the next morning to do a more normal, recorded interview, which then became the second item on their noon news broadcast! And the reason I know this is because the lovely young lady who had been interviewing me for the local paper in Hay River later that morning noticed it was almost noon and promptly gave me her keys so I could go and listen to the broadcast in her car! In fact, she was so inspired by my story that, when I went back to return her keys, she invited me to go for lunch with her! She’d noted what I’d said in my interview about being dependent on the kindness of strangers, and she wanted to be one of those strangers – except that, of course, by the end of the meal, we were far from strangers anymore. 🙂

Hay River is on the south shore of Great Slave Lake - a lake large enough to stretch way beyond the horizon

Red foxes come in several colour variations here. Apologies for the reflection in the photo, but by the time I'd wound down the car window, he'd disappeared back into the bush...

Perhaps the most bizarre feature of Hay River is its high rise apartment block: did they think they were running out of space or something?! (NB only Nunavut is more sparsely populated than the Northwest Territories...)

Hay River also has a designer purple school: apparently, they asked the students what colour they wanted their school to be, and this is the colour they picked!

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