Now that I am officially the slowest airplane on the team, my departure from Dawson City was scheduled 30 minutes prior to everyone else. An authentic local cab driver took me to the airport early, telling me local stories that I learned a lot from. Quick refuel and I was on my way to Old Crow, YT.
The scenery transition over this 230 mile leg was tremendous, and now we are officially North of the Arctic Circle. And also North of the tree line. There is a “tree line” going up in the altitude, and there’s a tree line going up North. In this area, the ground has too little nutrition and frozen most of the time, so no vegetation bigger than shrubs has a chance of growing full size here.
On final, the airport advisory reminded that the winds (and everything else) is now in True rather than Magnetic.
Old Crow is the most Northwestern community in Canada. This is our 17th airshow, but it is the first one in a community without a road access. The lifeline of the 250 people living in the community relies entirely on the access by air.
After we landed, the airport radio advisor lady came out and jokingly with a smile pointed to her grey hair “You gave me this! This is the biggest airport traffic I have ever seen in here”. The fuel guy was in tune when I asked for fuel and found out he already left for the day. When we called him and asked for gas, he said “How come? I already fueled one plane today.”
The airport building interior had a native touch to it:
and spectacular view of the Porcupine Cariboo Heard migration.
The airshow went great and was received with the greatest excitement. This is the first airshow ever in Old Crow. The entire community closed the stores, court, school and all other activities for the airshow. We totally had 100% attendance!
It started with the National Anthem – and it felt so special that I was singing it in the cockpit too while orbiting. Then Anna Sky Dancer had the privilege of opening the show with the maiden airshow of the citabria.
After the show, the spectators had a chance to check out the planes up close. Kyle’s “banana plane” was one of the kids’ favorites.
And a few curious future aviators were asking a lot of questions
With the Chief of Band (on the right):
So somewhere through the static display I chatted with the local girls about the native art that I am very interested in. They said that a very traditional item to get would be a pair of moccasins, preferably made by a local artist. I asked if I can find some of those in Inuvik, one of our next stops. “Yes, - they said, - but not as nice as here in Old Crow”. (Yes, Old Crow did not in the past cross my mind as a primary place for shoe shopping, but I can change my mind) Ok, can I find some here? “Usually you need to order them, and then they make them to size to fit… But let us see what we can do!” About half an hour later they came back with a true masterpiece!
This is a pair of moccasins the local famous artist made for the Duchess of York who was traveling and visiting here a little while ago. But the royal family made a firm “no gifts” policy, so these beauties stayed behind. This is rabbit fur and moose hide – and still smells smoked from the hand-made finishing of the hide. But the most amazing part is the beading ornaments, the beauty, the precision and the incredible beauty put in it by the master.
When the girls brought it for me, I was in owe. “But they are very tiny”, they said. It was a breathtaking moment. I put them on – and it was EXACTLY my size!
We left Old Crow in love with the place and very much connected with the people of it.
The short trip to Fort McPherson was uneventful, other than the reminder from the Flight Services that any trip North of the 67th parallel (which we are), even a circuit, requires a fight plan.
And we were right away welcomed by a few of the local 600 excited citizens:
The community welcomed us in their community center with a wonderful home-made dinner.
Canadian Arctic Aviation Tour so far:
Distance flown: 1773 nm (3284 km)
Airshows flown: 17