Frozen Day 11: The Music of Great Slave Lake

Temperature: -23 degrees Celsius

Feels Like: -31 degrees Celsius

Wind: ENE 10 km/hr

The sound of a rainstorm fills my ears, like when I was young and used to sit next to the open kitchen window while gigantic raindrops pelted our front porch patio after a long, dry spell. A petrichor fragrance almost seems to rise up out of the dull smattering, but then I am back in the moment and the rain isn’t really rain; it’s the sound of a sea of mittens clapping, trying to draw Terje Isungset out onto the snow castle stage.

The castle is packed wall to wall to wall with people, shifting their weight from foot to foot in an attempt to keep their toes from freezing. Their breath puffs out in long, excited streams of frozen air and then, after a long wait, we are all rewarded. The musician steps onto the stage and begins to play the ice of Great Slave Lake. 

Simple notes ring out as he drums his hands and fingers along large pieces of ice and I can feel that simplicity more than anything. A woman’s voice accompanies the sound and the combination is ethereal, yet beautiful. The castle is silent, but for their sounds and, like the instruments themselves, it takes me away to where there is nothing but nature. He moves around the stage, creating sounds from crushing ice, tapping ice blocks – each releasing their own unique music – and blowing through ice-sculptured horns with frozen lips.

“The instruments belong to you, to Yellowknife, to nature,” he says between songs and when the night comes to an end, he lifts each instrument into the air and passes it to the crowd, giving it back to this place. It’s a remarkable sight to see someone so easily let go of their creation, to accept the transient nature of the tools that give them their life, to fully believe that nature is the true owner of all things.


As I leave to go home, the chill has set in my bones but it feels quite alright. I can’t think of a better way to finally be ahead in the Frozen 31 Challenge than by listening to the frozen whispers of Great Slave Lake ring out amongst a crowd of Yellowknifers between the snow castle’s walls.

Time: 11:59 am – 1:01 pm and 7:41 pm – 9:45 pm

Today’s Minutes: 186

Total Challenge Minutes: 1340/3720

Ahead/Behind: +20 minutes

Frozen Day 5: Footpath Furor

Temperature: -11 degrees Celsius

Feels Like: -17 degrees Celsius

Wind: S 13 km/hr

Ah ha! I have devised a solution to the time conundrum. It’s rather simple, really. Today, I packed myself a PB and J and let my teeth go to work on it while at my desk – which left me with one whole hour in the middle of the day to get outside and bask in all those delicious rays of golden glory.

I have also learned that Yellowknife is a lot smaller than a person may sometimes think.

With only 1 hour before I had to link my chain back up to my desk, I didn’t think I should go very far. So I started off by taking convoluted turns that would keep me near the downtown area while still adding on a fair chunk of distance and time. It didn’t take long before I was halfway across the city. I joke. Slightly. I was a quarter of the way across the city.

Now, I won’t pretend to be better than I am. I have a fault and a pretty bad one at that. I get road rage. I’m talking ferocious, spittle-flying, demon eyes, dagger shooting asphalt anger. Alas, it is just that though. I merely fume and move on without doing anything crazy. Personally, I’m not psychotic or controlled by anger, though some are. Also, my anger dissipates astonishingly quickly; it’s basically all or nothing.

Footpath furor is a bit different, but it comes from the same place as road rage. As a pedestrian you are at the mercy of the metal beasts of the street. Yes, you hold the lawful power in that vehicles mustn’t run over a pedestrian; however, they hold the power because they are infinitely stronger than you and can crush you like a soda can. I find, as a pedestrian that I choose my route based on stop signs because vehicles just won’t stop to let a person through at the cross walk without one.

What I really don’t care for is when there is a stop sign, but you can’t confidently step out onto that pavement because you see a car hurdling down the snow-covered street towards you going faster than the speed limit and showing no signs of slowing down to come to a stop. So you wait. And just before the stop sign they hammer the brakes, come screeching in, and then impatiently bug their eyes out at you while furiously waving you to hurry up and cross the doggone street! Because it’s your fault they have to wait. You big old inconvenience you.

All this aside, though, it was a nice afternoon stroll through the city. See? I told you I get over things quickly.

Time: 12:47 pm – 1:44 pm and 5:14 pm – 6:22 pm

Today’s Minutes: 125

Total Challenge Minutes: 494/3720

Ahead/Behind: -106 minutes