Friday, November 14, 2008

Giant raven? Small dog? Whatever the case, odd.

This photo is one of those times where you don't really notice how odd a scene looks as it happens - it's only later, when you look at the photo, that you realize that, hey, that bird looks as big as that dog!

I took this photo in September 2004 in the village of Fort McPherson, Northwest Territories, Canada. After covering the Klondike Road Relay race from Skagway, Alaska, to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, for my paper (an awesome event that I'll have to do another post about), I took about 10 days off to drive north on the Dempster Highway.

The Dempster Highway is a gravel road from Dawson, Yukon Territory, to Inuvik, Northwest Territories. It traverses beautiful country and is one of only two roads in North America to cross the Arctic Circle.

Aside from a lodge at the midway point, Fort McPherson is the first town you reach on the highway - 340 miles from the starting point. In Canadian terminology, it is a First Nations village, where the modern world mixes with a subsistence lifestyle. There is a factory there - Fort McPherson Tent and Canvas - that makes tents and bags; I bought a duffel bag.

On the north side of town, I noticed some sled dogs out in a yard, with a hungry raven hanging around, waiting for scraps. I took a few photos - including the one above - and watched as the raven waited until the dog was done, and then chowed down on whatever was left in the bowl. Then I went on my way. 

Only later did I notice how huge that bird looks next to the dog. It is standing behind the dog, so it isn't just a perspective issue. The dog must have been a puppy, and the raven must have been a big raven, and the photo above was the result.

The rest of the trip went fine - a couple flat tires, a couple cold nights sleeping in the back of my Saturn sedan, some unexpected snow. Just what I was hoping for when I set out. (No, really, that all made for a great trip in my book.)

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