Words by Yolanda:

It’s a frosty Sunday morning, and Dease Lake is a ghost town. We wander over to the store/gas station/diner/liquor store all-in-one complex in the hopes of finding youth to interview, to no avail. We leave with coffee instead. 

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Back at Curtis’ house, we have breakfast and decide we might have better luck later on in the morning. We’re realize just how remote we are when we tag along on a dump run — there’s no such thing as garbage pick up here. There’s no drinkable water either — Curtis always drives a couple kilometres down the road to fill up water bottles out of the stream. According to our conversations last night, there was no connector road from here south until the mid-70s, and even now the road is often cut off by avalanches throughout the winter. There are none of the conveniences that are taken for granted in more urban settings: there’s no cell service, no cafes, no bars, and just one store. This is remote even by Haida Gwaii standards, which is saying something! It’s a stark reminder of all that we take for granted, and a good wake up call to the realities of living remotely.

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On the way back from the dump we stake out the store and find two youth who work there who agree to meet us later that day. Encouraged by our success, we decide to explore the region. We venture out into the backcountry on Curtis’ “side-by-side” (i.e. oversized four-wheeler). We jolt and lurch our way up icy stream beds and through mossy bogs on a track that leads 110km into the bush to where people still mine for gold. It’s the most beautiful of terrain: scraggily pine trees on colourful tundra, with snow-capped peaks surrounding us on every side. This, we decide unanimously, is where we should film Curtis interview.
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Back in town, we are excited for our interviews with two teenagers from Dease Lake. We speak with Bluebell, who works at the store, and tells us of her love of hockey and how close-knit her community is. Later on that night we speak with Tyanna in her woodworking shop. She wants to be a welder or a carpenter after graduation, and speaks to us passionately about her dirt biking and hunting. As if to reiterate the point there’s a full on (fresh) moose head in the corner next to us. The tongue, she says, is the best part.
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Rounding out the evening we are delighted to share some fresh apple crumble. We’re plugging away late night working to sort and edit footage when Curtis tells us there’s Northern Lights outside. It’s my first time seeing them this bright and this close, and I spend an inordinate amount of time watching them dance across the sky. s

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Northern lights!!

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