I have crossed a couple of things off my bucket list in the nearly three months since my last blog. I’ve been to the Yukon, and I’ve been to the ballet.
The latter, I must admit, wasn’t really on my bucket list, but when the opportunity came up to see ‘Anne of Green Gables: The ballet’ at a local theatre, how could I resist? I’ve seen the musical and the stage play, watched the film and some episodes of the television series, and I’ve read the book.
I’ve paid homage here on PEI to the various locations affiliated with the orphan and the author; and tried to separate the two for numerous visitors. I’ve lost count of the “you know she’s a literary invention, right?” conversations I’ve had with those who want to see the ‘real’ farm where Matthew and Marilla lived, not the National Parks replica. But a ballet?
So off to Summerside we went, not sure if we were in for the most excruciating evening ever experienced or something that would be OK. As it turned out, it was better than OK. Although (spoiler alert!) I hadn’t really realized that there are no words in a ballet, no script for actors or a narrator to recite. So, if you don’t actually know the story, there are a few moments where you’re wondering quite why this older gentleman is so happy at collecting an orphaned young girl from a train station …
The Yukon, however, was very much on my bucket list, as it was the only province or territory in Canada which I had not yet visited. [As an aside, Tasmania is my Australian equivalent, but we’re hoping to get there next year. More of that in a later blog.] Having decided that we were going to brave the post-pandemic(ish) travel landscape, we had our booster shots and flew out to Vancouver. This was early April, before the great spring rush sent everything sideways when airports still in pandemic mode suddenly faced a zillion passengers. Our travel was uneventful.
From Vancouver we flew to Whitehorse, and were immediately transported back into the past, a kinder, gentler time. Air North serves food. Free food. To all passengers. Even those who are flying on the pensioner discount. And their sandwiches are so good, they sell them in shops as well!
Then, just when you’re enjoying your second cup of coffee, and looking out at the ice fields, they bring around warm chocolate chip cookies, which are absolutely delicious. This airline is one of the few left that is owned by an individual, rather than a bunch of pension fund shareholders, and so there is still a human element. Highly recommended.
From the Yukon we went to the Sunshine Coast (ha!) in the Sechelt area north of Vancouver. Our youngest daughter and her husband have a place there, so we had somewhere to stay out of the rain and chill of the coldest spring in fifteen years. All the houses have moss on the roof, which shouldn’t really be a surprise – it is, after all, part of the temperate rain forest. We also got to visit friends on Savary Island, which is a PEI-like sandspit of land off the coast of Lund. All in all, we had a fabulous break, like many people our first flights and holiday for over two years.
And like many other people, I’m fed up with the pandemic, with the increasing cost of gas, with the depressing news out of Ukraine, with global warming, and with the burgeoning food crisis. I think it’s time we worried about something else. No, not monkey pox.
In an earlier life I was a teacher of geography, with a focus on physical landforms. I am sure that everyone has heard of the Great Rift Valley, which stretches some 6400 kilometers from Jordan to Mozambique. It is not really a single valley, more a series of contiguous trenches that mark a fault line where two tectonic plates have shifted. In North America, there is the Denali fault which extends 4000 kms from Alaska into southern Yukon and northern BC, and where there was a major 7.9 magnitude earthquake in 2002. And a smaller 3.5 one last week, by the way.
We often hear ominous forecasts about the San Andreas fault, which runs for about 1200 kms across California. It is what is known as a right-lateral slip – basically, the tectonic plate on one side shifts against the other, causing earthquakes and much death and destruction. But I was surprised – nay, shocked! – to recently discover an equally significant fault line in Canada.
We were driving from Whitehorse to Dawson City and came to a small roadside information board, located in a layby overlooking a wide valley. Naturally, we stopped to see what information was being provided. The valley, it turned out, was part of the Tintina fault, another right-lateral slip, and at over 1000 kms about the same length as the San Andreas fault. This is the biggest fault line in Canada! Who knew? I sure didn’t.
It is just as likely that the next big North American earthquake could take place along the Tintina fault as along the San Andreas fault. Why, then, isn’t the Tintina fault always in the news? Why don’t we have breathless projections as to when the next ‘big one’ might impact McQuestern? Are not the 10 people who live in Stewart Crossing (Statistics Canada, 2021 census) just as important as the 10,040,682 who live in Los Angeles County (American Community Survey, 2020)? I think we need to contact our Members of Parliament and ask them to focus on our own potential geological catastrophes, rather than those of our neighbours.
Speaking of earth-shattering news, and as I mentioned in a teaser blog a few days ago, I am delighted to announce that my second novel, TRACKS, has now been published. For those of you who wanted a sequel to Traces, here it is, but it is also a stand-alone novel for those who want to see what the fuss is about.
Synopsis: Sergeant Gavin Rashford of the North-West Mounted Police has been posted to the remote reaches of southern Saskatchewan, where he soon finds that small town life can have both benefits and drawbacks. A chance encounter during a prairie storm leads to a challenging pursuit through the Alberta foothills – and an unexpected road trip to the Maritimes.