Dec 13, 2006


I spoke with my ex again last night. He is now staying with my son, Waylon till he gets back into the Army Domiciliary. They're two frigin peas in a pod and I can only pray that time has brought on maturity and the two will stay out of trouble. So far so good.

I was talking to my ex and I think the conversation started when I told him about the pic in the last post and he said,"Well, I rode 'The Polar Bear Express,' don't you remember that one trip..." I decided to look at my site meter. I began to tell him about it and I read him off a couple of names, sites which happened to be
Canadian; Whitehorse, Calgary, Alberta, Saskatchewan and on and on. I read on and on at his request. He was so excited as if it were a reunion. The Yukon Territory was calling his name again. He was even more excited and wanted to know about everybody Canadian on my sidebar.
My ex, Sonny is Sioux and French Canadian with very strong roots. He is a Baribeau (my name also),(pronounced as you would Caribou but with a B) to the fullest extent and was raised to think and honor age old traditions and an ingrained
Canadian homeland in his heart. His travels to Canada on adventures are actually documented on film, many places, only accessible by Bi-Plane. The hairier it was to get into, the more they liked it. Tales of a mammoth beaver smacking his tail so hard, right next to him in the wee hours of the morn, the canoe rocking, almost tipping or being on the **38th Parallel where all water run North and Black Bear or Grizzlies the size of a small truck, were always fodder for conversation when they all got together. In turn, Sonny passed on that love for the Great Outdoors, at least to my youngest, Waylon.
Sonny's Father, who still spoke with an eclectic UP Michigan and French Canadian accent, was the ring leader and both sons, Sonny and Ron, from a young age were taught to respect and love, to never forget their Canadian roots. Sonny's Grandfather was from Canada and emigrated to America, along with his 15 year old Sioux bride, he'd met on the reservation, after being fancied by the young girls father. She died in childbirth after the last son, Ronald was born. The last of 5 children, Ronald and his brothers were raised by Granddaddy Beau on his own, never to remarry. It was a harsh upbringing in the marshy swamps of UP Michigan. But they were Canadians, they just happened to live in Michigan.

Homage to the Land

Sonny, his brother Ron, who was named after his Uncle Ronald and his Dad, "Big Beau", too many times to count, would pack it up and head to Canada, returning with thicker beards and a smell quite unbecoming to my city slicker nose. Mosquito's the size of Eagle's soared overhead as he retold his tales and exploits in the Yukon. The very last trip, before the death of Sonny's Dad, was the drive across the Dempster Highway and up into the wilderness. They'd planned this thing like you would a climb up Mt.Everest. Extra containers of gas, plan for this, plan for that and this trip was talked up for years. They called it "The Dumpster Highway" because of the tales of people who'd not made it, abandoned their vehicles, opting to be flown out or had been stranded when their car or truck had broken down, due to the unforgiving terrain of the weather, area and highway and would be "Dumped" on the side of the rode. "Those dumb sons a bitches, didn't plan know did they, eh?," was repeated verbatim, every time it was brought up, always in a mocking tone and a clink of the Molsen's among them. They were not gonna be caught with their pants down vulnerable to the elements. This was planned and talked about for so many years I almost thought it was of mythical proportion. But they did it. They went to Ernie Whiting's and ate breakfast like kings every morning, slept better than could be explained, got their dose of that good Canadian air all the while fishing and hunting, a small tribe running amuk in the Yukon. Big Beau died a happy man, not long after.
The stories of the Great Baribeau Hunters will now be passed down from generation to generation with, I'm sure, a little elaboration tied on the tail of the tale!

**I believe this to be true but am not sure if it was the 38th?


xmichra said...

Pretty damn close to it anyways. I always thought it was the 40th parallel, but I grew up in the Northwest Territories which is over the 40th. So I couldn't say for the Yukon (just because i don't presume to know things ihave never looked up). But the water running north, that is a trick of the McKenzie River, now called the Deh Cho River, after the people who lived there. It is the only river to run the opposite of any other. Quite the feat. it is a cold river, and there is an iceroad we used to travel in the winter to get to Yellowknife (whice is also on your map).

I grew up in the center of the north, so things like hunting a nd fishing were prevelant. But the more west you went, the more grizzlies, and the more east, polar bears. Still hav enever seen one that wasn't stuffed. but still. I would know one to see it.

There are MANY An American who travelled north for the land and her bounty. It is a remarkable sight.. the land stretched out, plains of the tundra are breathtaking. It is a desert of rock, moss and snow in the spring.. which is when the best hunting tends to be as well.

Fishing.. oh my, the money that was made off of people. Fishing in the north arm, this is an area of the great slave lake.. it is beyond good. You will catch trout the size of tuna. It truely calls the fisherman in a man. lol.

I kid you not, those stories may be a tad exaggerated.. but not by much! And the mosquitos? Ya, they are big.

xmichra said...

I am looking for tat 40th to 48th paralle as well. And i can't find the refrence to what i thought. Anyway, the arctic circle provides a much better example as to what you can find 'up north'. lol! i thinnk we called that the tree line, as trees do not grow past that point. Some shrubs, but no trees.

xmichra said...

okay, i could clearly go on and on here.. lol...

another interesting factoid, Grimshaw Alberta is mile zero for both the makenzie highway, and the alaska highway (which is the route you have up there to Inuvik.. which is in the NWT).

we go up the mackenzie highway every year, and every year it is something different than the year before. The roads are covered with Bufflo once you hit Fort Providence, and the highway is pink. Pink because of the shale rock in that area, which is crucshed to make the pavement. Sorta like barbies highway.. lol :)

Babsbitchin said...

Xmichra, it's all absolutely fascinating. Now, my husband wouls just die to sit w/ you and talk about all this. I will read this to him tonight or tomorrow night. He is kinda stuck in the house at Waylon's as he's at work. So Sonny's there by himself and I may call him. He just gets so excited, I mean you can hear it in his voice. he comes alive!

Anonymous said...

Wow - what a neat damn story that was! What a cool fuckin story about your ex and his pals and Uncle and dad and the stories they would sit around and tell. It’s absolutely beautiful up there. Would give my right arm to be there again. The farthest I ever went was British Columbia. Fuck I never wanted to leave. Had friend who lived in Revelstoke back in the 70’s - about six of em (including an uncle, brothers, friends). They built a damn cabin on some beautiful mountain-top, lived there a few years and then moved up into Yukon territory. They eventually migrated back to VA. Everyone around here used to take off to Alaska to fish off the vessels. They made mega bucks. Wish I had gone when I had the chance. The memory and beauty of BC will never leave me. Last wish is to get my ass to Alaska one of these days.

And a big-ass beaver slapping that tail? Hell Yeah! I love it, oh ya know I just love it!

Cool cool story.

Can't get my SHIT TO POST!


Babsbitchin said...

Brotherray, how the hell are you my good good friend? Yea, a trip like that is enough to die happy with, eh? The Alaska gig would be too cool, huh? Hope you are well and I am always thinking about ya. Big hugs and big love!