Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Dark Jasper skies

Last night, amid the stress of moving, packing and leaving Yellowknife, Ian and I decided to take a breather. He filled his pockets with beer and a Ziploc of pepperoni sticks, I bundled up with a couple of sweaters (it's getting cold here!!) and we walked toward a large green space behind my house called Tin Can Hill. It was a nearly cloudless night and there were faint streaks of aurora across the sky. We spent about an hour with our heads tilted up, looking for shooting stars and satellites and watching as the northern lights became more vibrant.
I love that we're able to see so many stars even though we're not far from the light pollution of the city's downtown. I thought that was one of things I would miss when we moved to Jasper, but then I found out that my new home is actually one of the world's largest dark sky preserves. It received it's designation in March. And Ian and I are arriving just in time to celebrate, as Jasper holds it's Dark Sky Festival from Oct. 21 to 24.
I'm super excited to take part in some of the events, like dining in the dark and the guided lantern walk.
So anyway, yay for a new home, a new sky and new celebrations!

Oh! Before I forget, does anyone have an idea for a new blog name? Newly Northern Nicole hardly seems relevant for someone new to Jasper. Any ideas? How about ideas for a new banner? Help, please!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

I win!

While I was in Rankin Inlet last month, I submitted a photo to the Up Here magazine photo contest and guess what!? I was one of the category winners. My photo of an elder cutting caribou meat with an ulu was chosen as the top Arts and Culture submission.
Here's the photo:
Now if you recall, I haven't been taking photos for very long, so this is very exciting. Even more exciting was seeing my photo blown up on high quality paper. It takes up an entire page in the new issue of the magazine!! Check out the latest issue to see the other winners. The photos are fantastic.
And if you don't care about the photos, at least check it out to read my friend Katherine Laidlaw's profile of Tanya Tagaq. Quality stuff right there.

Friday, September 23, 2011

I'm movinggggg!!!


Oct. 1 will mark my one-year anniversary in the North, and Oct. 3 will mark my last day in the North.
I have accepted a job at a paper in Jasper, AB.
Ian and I have been discussing the possibility of relocating for a few months now and were fairly indifferent about where, so I started applying for jobs across the country – in all the provinces and territories I have yet to report from.
When I saw the posting for The Fitzhugh, I knew I had to apply. I haven’t been to Jasper since I was 17, but I still remember its beauty.
The news is still fresh, so we haven’t worked out all the details, but the plan so far is to drive down in our new car. (That's right, we bought a car TOGETHER!) Anyway, we’re going to pack our adorable little Rav 4 (that I can't yet drive because I don't know how to drive stick) with all of our worldly belongings and slowly make our way to our new home, with a short pit stop in Edmonton to visit some friends and family.
It’s all very exciting, but it also means a lot of work. I received the job offer last Sunday and that afternoon I was already packing, purging and organizing.
Monday was devoted to giving our notice at work and apartment hunting. My new employer is helping with the apartment search by putting an ad in the newspaper and on the website, that way potential landlords can contact us. I thought that was pretty quaint.
I’m getting really excited for a new adventure. Although it wasn’t that long ago that I was on an adventure in Nunavut, I have had the urge to pick up and go for quite some time now.
I love Yellowknife and have had an incredible year here, but it just feels like it’s time for something new. And I just can’t wait to be near mountains and big trees again.
The whole time I was in Rankin Inlet, I was overwhelmed by the size of the sky, with no mountains or trees blocking the horizon, it just seemed to go on forever. I found it unnerving and strange to have so much open space.
It’ll be nice to get back to a landscape that looks a little more like home. It’ll also be nice to be a little closer to home, for that matter. And now that we have a car, it will be that much easier to make the trip or at least to meet my parents in the middle at my sister’s house in Kelowna.
I see many road trips to B.C. in my future. But first I have to get myself to Jasper, so I better get back to packing.
See you down south!