2017 Snow & Lights – Day 14

VANCOUVER to WHITEHORSE – ready to dance

At Vancouver airportFriday – dawns cloudy and cold so no morning photos for you.  Everything goes back into the suitcases, quick check to make sure we have everything and I must admit the ‘transporting the bags’ journey back to the car is better than the one we used to get to the room.

Tyler discovered that where he parked the car there is a door that leads to the elevators and it is much easier than hulking the cases around tight corners down to reception so the day is off to a good start.  We retrieve the car and then check out, where Kylie tells them about the very small bedrooms and as we have booked here for the return journey we hope that the rooms will be bigger.  We are given reassurances that we will be upgraded – so a win to start the day.

The drive to Vancouver International Airport is uneventful except for the amount of traffic.  One good thing though it keeps moving so we do not have to panic with the stop-start. Our flight departs at 11am the plan is to be there by 8.30am so that we can enjoy a relaxing sit down brekky.  Arriving at the airport we head for the long term car park.  It is not raining so that is a good thing.  We do not have to get a shuttle as it is within walking distance of the terminal – so Tyler and I find a trolley each and after saying goodbye to our 4 wheeled friend yet again; away we go.  The amount of bags etc that we take with us has to be seen to be believed but we are all within the allowance (hopefully).

Everything goes OK at the Air North counter – we ask if there are any rows on our flight 506 that do not have any seats allocated and we are lucky to be told yes and are moved.  The Air North lass blacks out the seats beside us – I am now in seat 17A and we see our bags go on their merry way as we head for brekky.  I think we dined at Lift Bar and Grill, but I cannot be certain of the name.  Juice, bacon, hash browns and toast hit the spot with a good drop of coffee and then it is time to head for Gate B18.  There is no TSA pre check so we have to  line up with everyone else.

Vancouver AirportWe go through security where there are no problems, then there is a scramble to regather our hand luggage, find our gate and then we have nothing to do but wait for the announcement to board.

Finally, we board and I have a window of course and once settled, the point and shoot makes an appearance.  Of course there are the usual photos out over the wing as we taxi along the runway and soon we are in the air.

I love take offs – they are such an adrenaline rush – I am such a tourist.

Not too much time goes by before the beverage service is thrust upon us.  Air North has their own little kitchen apparently and they prepare their own in flight food.

LunchToday’s light lunch offering is a ham, swiss cheese and tomato toastie accompanied by a packet of nibblies and a soft drink.  The toastie was delicious but there was too much ham.

All the filling just seemed to congeal in the middle of the bread so I ate only a small portion and left most of the filling in the foil.

It is a good flight – no turbulence so after filling my innards it is time to take some more wing shots.  Looking out the window there is white everywhere.  It looks so pretty but icy cold.

To WhitehorseTo WhitehorseJust as well we have our thermals and snow gear so we don’t freeze.

The Whitehorse airport is small and after landing we head to collect our bags.  Next stop is to get our hire car and another drama starts.  The car we have been given is not as big as we thought it would be.  Kylie is back into the terminal and discusses the situation.  If we want a bigger car then we will have to pay more.  BS as far as I am concerned.  It is only going to be uncomfortable for the journey to our accommodation and back to the airport and we can put up with that.

By the time 3 suitcases, 3 camera bags and various hand luggage is all packed in it is rather squeezy in the back seat but I am sure I will survive.  It is a good drive, spectacular scenery in parts – the roads are clear and just as well it is only a 15 minute drive out to the lodge – Northern Lights Resort & Spa (how good does that sound?).  When we arrive it is a hoot to see who or what falls out of the car first.

My chalet EnzianThere is so much snow – it is incredible.  We have a pathway to our chalets from the main house but we still have to be careful from the car to the main house as some of the ground is icy.

After we check in with our hosts – Renate and Wolfgang – we are given our keys and head down the paths.  Renate will be down shortly to explain the heating system and anything else that needs explaining.  This is going to be wonderful – I am so excited.

This is my chalet – Enzian – taken from the front of the Main House.  The pathways are carpet covered so there is no ice and it is a nice safe walk.

Main HouseThe photo on the right is the Main House taken from from my chalet.  You can also see the spa – but all that snow has convinced me that I will not be sitting in that at any time of the day.  I will stay in my two layers of thermals, snow jacket, boots, hat and gloves thank you very much.

The chalet is incredible.  Only small but there is only one of me so there is  plenty of room.  Here are a couple of  photos that will make you pea green with envy.

My chaletMy chaletMy chaletThere is a bedroom/living area with a wonderful gas fire which will get a good workout.  There is also a TV on the wall – for those who cannot do without news from the outside world.  The kitchenette will come in handy for hot coffee or tea. Once my gear is unpacked it doesn’t look tidy any more – Lord, I have a lot of stuff – especially camera gear.

Through the door near the kitchen is the bathroom that has a very ample sized shower and plenty of towels etc.  Yep, I am going to like living here for a week.

Renate arrives to show me how to work the heater – it is very high tech.  I just have to turn on the switch to the temperature I want.  The TV is more complicated though with a click to turn on the satellite box and another for the TV.  I will worry about that later.  Renate also requests that we do not wear our boots inside as they could damage the wood floors – there are cosy slippers provided for inside use.

This is the view from my front verandah – definitely wilderness territory.

View from Chalet resize

It is going to be wonderfully quiet at night but I am sure that we will be awake most of the time getting ready for the Dancing Ladies.

A Balmy DayOutside the chalet there is a temperature gauge – just what I need.  It is about quarter to 5 and the temperature is minus 5 – practically a heatwave.  Apologies for the blur but I did not have my gloves on (yes the $300 super doopers) – they are inside enjoying the warmth.  Well, they are going to get a shock before too long let me tell you.

We are to be at the main house by 7pm for dinner – so still have a bit of time to relax and enjoy the fire, with an occasional look outside to see what is happening.

Nothing is happening, so what did I expect unless I expected that the sky is getting darker and that makes me feel cold knowing that I have to go out into it for the walk to dinner.

At the appropriate time I call in next door and collect K&T for our short walk to the Main House.  On entering, we take off our shoes and put on the slippies – noting that something smells delicious.  What a great place this is – a big open room with a gas fire in the living area and at the end of the room is the dining area.  Very cosy I must say.  The table is set for 5 people so we are not alone and there are little brochures on the table informing us of tonight’s dinner menu.  All the food is home cooked by Renate and the menu sounds delicious.

Appetizer of Asparagus Crepes; Main Course Pork on creamy Thyme Sauce with Parsley Potatoes and Sugar Glazed Carrots and to finish – a Dessert of Grape Souffle.  If all the meals are like this I am definitely not going to lose any weight on this part of the holiday that’s for sure.

We are seated and water is provided.  There is also alcoholic beverages for purchase so I get a bottle of white, Kylie gets a bottle of red and as long as we are content that is all that matters.  The other two people have been here for a couple of days and tonight is their last night.  They tell us they have had a wonderful time and have seen The Ladies so we are very excited. Wolfgang tells us that more people will arrive tomorrow which will make us 7 all up.  There is a couple and their two boys so that is the four chalets taken – but more about that later.

The Dinner is delicious and both Renate and Wolfgang are excellent hosts.  Wolfgang is a master at Northern Lights photography and you can catch a lot of his work on the Northern Lights Resort & Spa FB page.  We are excited at the thought of photographing The Ladies – and we are told that they usually make an appearance around 10pm – but it is just a short visit.  The main show is around 2-3am.  Lordy that’s a bit of a shock, but we will cope I am sure.

I will tell you now that I do have one regret – I did not take photos of the food. Sometimes it just feels awkward and definitely not first class to whip out the camera and start snapping away at the dinner table.

On the back of the brochure there is also details of the Aurora Forecast; Weather Forecast and a Quote of the Day. Today’s memorable offering is ‘Age does not protect you from Love – but Love, to some extent, protects you from Age’.  Very prophetic.

After dinner we retire to our chalets to get our cameras ready and also to put on a few more layers so that we do not freeze.  At around 11pm there is a knock on the door to advise that The Ladies have arrived.  Here are a few to whet your appetite for what is to come –

Northern LightsNorthern LightsIsn’t this incredible?  There are a few clouds around so we are told that we may not get a very spectacular Aurora – but hey I am not going to argue with this.

Northern LightsNorthern LightsHow you doing so far?  These photos are taken from the front of my chalet.  There is no need to walk across the snowy fields.  How good is that?

Northern Lights

Northern LightsAt this stage the clouds have decided to fill up the sky so it’s back into the warmth of the chalet and have a nap before the 3am show – although Wolfgang tells us that we may not see it because of the clouds which sadly turns out to be the case.

Cloudy LightsNevermind even though The Ladies did not dance much tonight – I am convinced they just wanted to check us out to make sure we were friendly spirits – they will get more active – I just know it.

My layers and my Special Forces gloves with the Hand Hotties have done the trick.  I have also followed the rules and put my camera in a sealed bag before bringing it inside to the warmth so that it does not get any humidity in it or on the lens.  It worked.

I make myself a nice hot cuppa and sit in front of the fire before getting into bed – nearly fully dressed.  Falling asleep within minutes I check around 3am but the sky is covered in clouds so it is back to sleep.  Love it!

Highlight of the day : the Dancing Ladies of course.

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