Week 3 in Northern Saskatchewan!

Well this week was a wild one… We dealt with the aftermath of a natural disaster, weather changes, and running a business with little power, service, or heat. Over all, I wouldn’t of changed it for anything though. So many of us coworkers got closer and we learned to cope with the situation.

Monday started off like usual with being at work an all that. This week was good because the tourism program that encourages local community engagement in with workforce was going to practice cooking for all of us at the resort (the food was great by the way). That happened most the week. But Monday around 2:30 we noticed the power turned off and our generator kicked in. All of this was fine, and kind of normal because up north the power can go out unpredictably (it had a couple times for a few minutes the couple weeks before). But this time the generator stayed on…. We soon learned that a lightening strike near Prince Albert Saskatchewan has started a wild fire. It has been so dry so far this year, which didn’t help the situation either. It continued to grow until Thursday.

Prince Albert (PA) is about 120km north of Saskatoon and just NE of PA was where the fire was. There’s a large pulp mill in the area and quite a few acreages and farms. We learned that the fire was spreading the later the power outage was happening, and that’s when we realized that we might be without power longer than we thought. The generator is set up to power the main level of the main lodge where the kitchen and reception is. No cabins or staff housing had power unless people in the town had a generator. This lead to some cold nights.

As the first night went on, it got a little chilly. It continued to get cold throughout the week until Friday when everything was back up and running. I think the lowest it got was -12. A few of us staff eventually decided it was to cold to stay in our current housing and were allowed to take over a cabin that has a wood burning stove/heater. This was great considering the situation. All of us dragged beds out to the living room and slept out there together. It was an awesome bonding experience and I’m sure will be great story to tell in the future.

The power outage happened until around Thursday evening. By this point there was no water in the town 😅. However, there was no heat to heat the water since Monday. So showers were cold unless you could find a place with a hot water tank still full 😂. Late Thursday evening after the fire had been contained, the power tried to kick on but there was a massive power surge that kicked it off until about 2:30am Friday morning.

All in all, it was fine! We all had a roof over our heads, food (until it went bad 😅), blankets, and each other. You don’t realize how important the small stuff is until it’s gone. We even lost cell service up there which wasn’t horrible – it’s just scary to think there was no way to communicate if something were to go wrong. We had some game nights playing Yahtzee, we all helped on another out, and we learned lots about one another as well.

Friday everything was back and running, and I finally moved out of my temporary staff housing that had a kitchen to cook until the restaurant kitchen was up and running. I moved into the main lodge staff housing, and then decided to go back to Saskatoon for the long weekend to shower with warm city water, and to take a mental reset before opening next week (opening got delayed again because of the power situation).

Some things I learned this week:

  • You need power for hot water
  • You need power for cell service
  • You need power to properly sanitize dishes as you need hot water (which is what mainly delayed opening)
  • You need a properly powered cell service tower to have internet
  • How long food actually lasts without proper refrigeration
  • Wood burning stoves are awesome
  • I have awesome coworkers
  • And I still love being up north and experiencing lake life every day

In Saskatoon I’ve mostly been relaxing. I had fancy coffee again (Starbucks), went for a 8km walk by the river with my auntie, surprised my grandparents, had a warm shower and did laundry! I’m living my best life in the city or at Missinipe. It’s the small things that matter ❤️ I’m grateful for the whole experience this past week!

Stay safe, healthy and get vaccinated ❤️ I’ll chat with you all next week!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Jo-Ann Wilson says:

    So glad you were able to make the best of a bad situation! Thanks for keeping us up to date❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Anonymous says:

    So proud of you Em! Lots of love, mom.

    Liked by 1 person

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