My last blog about Jake McDonald taking me to meet some bush pilots has attracted some interest. In ACROSS CANADA BY STORY I gave the learned opinion that “every successful Canadian non-fiction book must involve stories about bears, wolves, hockey players, and bush pilots”.
Hugh MacLennan knew this. He won two Governor-General’s awards for his non-fiction (plus three for his books of fiction), and paid careful attention to Canada’s North, and to the bush pilots who fly the freezing skies there.
I quote the following story by Hugh:…..
“When winter comes to this region, it does not come slowly, it strikes with a crack. I met a veteran of many years on the Mackenzie who told me that he once escaped having to spend an entire long winter in Aklavik by a matter of a minute. His was the last plane out, and as he stood on one of the pontoons filling his tank with gas, he suddenly noted ice forming on the water. He threw the can away, jumped into the pilot’s seat without even taking the time to screw on the cap of the gas tank, gunned the plane, and took off. The thin ice was crackling about the pontoons before he became airborne, and as he made his circle to head south he saw the pack ice thrusting in, and the lagoon from which he had risen turn opaque as though the frost had cast a wand over it.”