(Pierre Charlebois, AVC 2016, travelled with the Chinook Project to Natuashish. )
Canada is an amazing place; so big and so vast that the landscape can change radically within a few hours of flight. We’ve been here in Natuashish for many days now and after working hard treating over 80 local animals, we finally had a chance to explore the town and surroundings.
While we were able to appreciate the changing landscape from the airplane during our flights north of Halifax, I think that the majestic nature of this part of the country was only truly revealed to us by being on the ground. After driving a short distance on a dirt road to a nearby lake, the view became truly spectacular; the vast lake contained dark, slowly moving water with some areas still covered in ice, surrounded by a mix of beaches and beautiful forests of conifers. Overlapping mountains as far as the eye can see set the background and were peppered with snow. To make things even more stunning, we were there during the evening and were able to watch the sun setting in between the far reaching mountains, painting the sky and clouds different shades of orange and pink for us. No picture could ever do this landscape justice.
The differences in environment aren’t restricted to the great outdoors, however. We also had time to drive around the town. Natuashish is considerably different than any other small towns I have been to and a few things certainly struck me as very unique and different. For one, the streets bear the family name of the family that resides on it, so you can usually identify who lives on each street. I also noticed that lawns were not a common occurrence here. As much as people at home do everything they can do keep their lawn green, trimmed and clean, here the backyards consist of trees, shrubs and simply dirt. It is a small difference but drastically changes the look of a town. On the edge of the roads, which are made of gravel, their fire hydrants are built raised off the ground, in order to accommodate the large quantity of snow that they received every year. Driving around this town feels considerably different than anywhere else I have ever been.
It is really a privilege to have been able to travel in the community of Natuashish and I appreciate the differences everywhere around me. It is strange to be in your own country but feel like you are visiting a distant, different land. This beautiful place has shown me a different side of my country and it was an amazing experience to visit.