Kicksled – Flying Low

Now that it is starting to melt, I took the opportunity to kicksled around Yellowknife Bay with my trusty GoPro.

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One of the perks of living on the North is the occasional guilt free winter holiday…we deserve it. This is shot from the balcony or on the beach at our condo on Kauai. No excitement….just peace and relaxation. The batteries are now recharged.

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Old Town……the book

“In just 80 years, Yellowknife’s Old Town has undergone huge changes. What started as the centre of a 1930s gold-mining frontier town has become the relaxed, though often-controversial, historic neighbourhood of today’s modern capital city of the Northwest Territories. Despite the changes, Old Town has maintained a lot of its original character.

Author and photographer Fran Hurcomb moved to Old Town in 1975. In this book, she traces its evolution using more than 200 photos, most of them her own. Images of dog teams, shacks, Old Timers, float planes, houseboats and assorted characters illustrate a text covering everything from Old Town’s ongoing battles with City Hall, to how to build a houseboat, to the history of intriguing neighbourhoods such as the Woodyard and Jolliffe Island. This sometimes personal account looks at how Old Town itself has changed, as well as how this vibrant community has changed lives.”

“Old Town” will be available in November at the Book Cellar and Down To Earth Gallery in Yellowknife. If you are out of town, you can order the book by contacting me at The cost is $26.95 plus $4.00 shipping and handling in Canada, plus $1.55 GST. Total cost is $32.50.

Here are a few of the over 200 photos ranging from the 1930s to 2012.

View of the Rock, 1946

Water delivery 1940s. Tom Doornbos.

Peace River Flats 1954. N-1979-052-4517 – Henry Busse

At the causeway, early 1960s. Mike Piro photo

Bootlegger’s shack, Woodyard, 1976

My shack in the Woodyard. 1977

Slugger and Porkchop, Woodyard 1980

Commercial fisherman, Johnny Nault. 1980

My team on Campbell Lake, 1980

First houseboat 1982

Fixing the DeHavilland Beaver on the ice. 1986

Sander’s cabin Jolliffe Island 1985

All dressed up in the Woodyard. 1987

Crossing rotten spring ice. 1988

Ice fishing from the houseboat. 1994

Snow King’s Festival. 1998

Sluggers old shack. 2006

View from the yacht club docks. 2008

Stan “The Man” Laroque. 2012

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Gone Fishing – Northern Style

A little video shot in March with my GoPro. Shot on Great Slave Lake, about 15 km outside of Yellowknife.

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First Day of Spring

I dreamt it was the first day of spring, so I thought I’d go for a little walk around Old Town. Should I take my umbrella?

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Yellowknife’s Old Town: Not so Long Ago.

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Gargoyle Carving 101


Gargoyles….love  them. Spent a good hunk of time last winter photographing them in France and the UK. And I love snow…so Gargoyle 101 was obviously made for me. This is the week before Yellowknife’s Snow King Festival begins, so it’s pretty busy down on the ice. Snow King volunteer, Lady Icicle offered the 3 hour course with the carrot of actually having your own gargoyle gracing the turrets of the castle. What better way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Armed with a hack saw, paint scraper, 2 knives and 2 chisels, I trotted off to the castle. The day was sunny, bright and about minus 20 with only a little breeze. To be on the safe side (having learned from bitter experience), I wore my minus 40 outfit.

Five eager virgin snow carvers were armed and ready to work. After minimal instruction from Lady Icicle (looking at drawings, encouraging us to just go for it etc.) we leapt right in. As usual, I leapt way too fast. I attacked the flat face of my snow brick with glee. It was only about 30 minutes later that I noticed that everyone else was attacking from a corner, to make the gargoyle more 3 dimensional. One look at my gargoyle/cat and it was obvious that I was having trouble with this 3 dimensional thing. It was also obvious that my only carving experience has been with pumpkins. Well, what do you expect, I’m a photographer.

I decided to be mature about this, so instead of smashing my gargoyle (who bore an uncanny resemblance to Garfield), I soldiered on. Around me, some pretty amazing gargoyles were starting to emerge from their snow cocoons. The warm up shack (with cocoa and cookies) was in steady use, but for the most part, we were all quiet and focused. This snow carving is fun.

In the background, the sound of a dozen or so snow castle workers provided a soundtrack of hammering, sawing etc. Site visitors commented on our work and snapped photos. Small children seemed to like my offering. On a suggestion from a member of the Snow King’s crew, my gargoyle got a second snow block and morphed into a sphinx. In fact, I believe he will probably end up being a bench for small children in some obscure corner of the site. Oh well, my aspirations of having a magnificent gargoyle gracing the towers are dashed for now. But don’t despair. I’m not giving up. Anyone can make a snow block (pile up snow; leave overnight to settle; cut with saw). I’ll try again. But first I might head back to the castle to fix the front legs of Garfield/gargoyle/sphinx.

Lady Icicle discusses the merits of a snow block with a neophyte carver

Trying to decide where to start was our first problem.


Carving tools come in all shapes and sizes. My favourite was the paint scraper.


Where else can you use a machete with wild abandon?

No Sue ! Don't do it.

Shapes began to emerge from the snow blocks.

My Garfield gargoyle was destined to become a sphinx.

Our little group carved away, while in the background, the Snow King's castle was undergoing the finishing touches.

Finer detail work was done with the small chisels and knives.

This Cheshire cat gargoyle was particularly menacing.

Lady Icicle's evil flying monkey will strike terror into the hearts of even the most stalwart villains...and that is the point of gargoyles, I think.

Four hours after starting, our Vancouver Island visitor was chilly but pleased with the outcome of the afternoon.

And as for my effort...let's just say I have learned from my mistakes. My next gargoyle will be epic!

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