The Power of Trees

The Power of Trees

For the second time in the space of four days I am sat in candle-lit darkness.  It is not uncommon for rural areas in Canada to experience frequent power cuts, especially if power lines are surrounded by trees like we are here.  Last year, several times, my residential area was affected by trees pulling down power cables and blocking the route into town. Once in a while the power outages go beyond my residential area, affecting the entire region; today was one of those days. Beginning at 6am I woke to the telltale clunk followed by a beep, indicating that our house had lost power. Twelve hours later and we were still awaiting the restoration of electricity services and I have to admit I rather appreciate the time to unplug and unwind, guilt free.  Even the weather has decided to take a break from the raging storms experienced for the past two weeks and is contenting itself with a subdued drizzle.

Tree on power lines
The tree that knocked out power for 7000 people

Similarly, Friday night started the weekend off on the right track for relaxation with candles and a take-away pizza due to yet another power-cut but that was after an unexpected adventure on my way home. The Coal Harbour Road was closed so, like all great adventurers, I chose to ignore the sign to find out what all the fuss was about. Proceeding with (a little) caution I made my way home… or rather half way home where I met the roadblock offender in the form of two very large tree trunks sprawling across the road. Success! A gap about the width of a vehicle had already be hacked through. Nothing could stop me from getting home now!

As I continued on my journey I counted no less than six additional trees leaning precariously on power cables so I knew the electricity would be out for night. What I did not expect was to come face to face with another road blockage. This time I was not so lucky. It was manned and there was no way through… or was there?

Port Hardy (and nearby communities) is known for its Fishing, Logging, and Mining industries. These days the mine is closed and the intensity of logging is sometimes diminished, nevertheless the landscape is scarred with the old – although still occasionally used – logging roads and routes out to the mine. Most of these roads are unpaved and riddled with potholes, designed for and damaged by large trucks. They are not kind to smaller vehicles like my poor Ford Fiesta. There is quite the labyrinth of logging roads that stretch out for kilometres, winding through forest and over mountains, and of course very much out of cell-service. In the best of scenarios even within cities Canadians don’t seem to indicate diversion routes which can quite literally drive you round the bend! In this case I took my chances and crossed my fingers that the abandoned road was not as bad as I imagined, that no trees were down, and that by some stroke of genius my homing instincts would guide me.

Peaceful candles

Needless to say I did make it home in one piece and I was pretty excited to have driven off the beaten-track. I even found out where the disused road out to the mine is located which may be worth some deeper exploration sometime soon. Although I was even more excited to have an excuse to stay in snuggled up under the blanket in the soft glow of scented candles for a restful end to the week.

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