Mike's photo adventure weblog

Mike's photo adventure weblog: January 2006

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Northwest Territories

I went up north for my first two-week rotation at the diamond project (i.e. a mine under construction). I spent two days in Yellowknife before I got up to the mine because we couldn't fly due to bad weather. I got to see a little bit of this northern capital, which was nice. On the way from Vancouver to Edmonton I finagled myself into first class, which was also nice.
They don't allow cameras on site but I got some photos from somebody else who DID have authorization to take photos. The first photos are from the summer around the mine, followed by my photos from Yellowknife, followed by Paolone's photos from his recent trip up to the mine. Dan Paolone is another UBC Mining Engineering student who works for one of the contractors at the Snap Lake Project.
The mine is 220km NE of Yellowknife and very near the tree line. The vegetation seen in the winter is very interesting because of the sparseness of tree growth. Small withered trees cling together in tiny patches, separated from other trees on the tundra by hundreds of meters. Plus with the hoarfrost coating everything, the trees look more like snow sculptures than life forms. The temperature during my two weeks ranged from -20 to -35 (during the day, and without windchill consideration).
Click the thumbnail above for the gallery.

Monday, January 02, 2006


The Green Party of Canada has picked up a lot of momentum over the last few years. Their original platform, focused on the environment, has expanded and the party is no longer a one-trick pony. As I read through the platform I was quite impressed with what I saw regarding every issue. Click here for the platform and policies. They aren't radical environmentalists either - in the last election the Sierra Club and Greenpeace both assessed the NDP ahead of the Green Party on their environmental platform. I encourage everyone to take a minute and peruse their platform. Please let me know what you think about the Green Party and about anything else election-related, in the comments.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Temagami Snowshoeing

In keeping with tradition, I went out for the annual snowshoe trip. This year the group was Dan, Brent and I (in past years it was Dan, Eddie and I). The night before the trip, Dan outfitted our toboggan with his mother's old cross-country skiis, and thus was born the skiboggan! It worked much better than the toboggan for dragging loads across lakes. After a delicious stop for breakfast at Michelle's (Dan's girlfriend), we continued the 3 hour drive north to Temagami. We spent two nights on Cliff Lake, about a 5km hike from the access point.

Some interesting things we discovered along the trek included enormous icicles formed from ground water seeping out of limestone cliffs, icicles formed upside-down like stalagmites, and lake-ice of the thrilling thickness (or thinness). Click the thumbnail above for the photo gallery.

We also recorded MOVIES:
The snow was of a specific consistency so that when a snowball was bowled along the lake, it would slowly disintegrate. Due to the law of conservation of angular momentum, the snowballs sped up as they rolled instead of slowing down! And to add to how brilliant the effect was, the snowballs would keep speeding up and shrinking until they disappeared completely in thin air. See two movies: 1 here, and 2 here.

The ice was very strange in some places on this trip - thin ice with voids beneath, or thin ice hovering a foot over the lake below. See two movies: 1 here, and 2 here. More interesting ice conditions were found on a small marsh we discovered while trailblazing through the forest. Movie here.