Games begin as N.W.T. Rangers gather for Exercise Dene Ranger
'We were all quite happy: we all made it here in one piece,' says Sgt. from Fort Smith
About 130 Canadian Rangers have made camp at Weledeh Park along the Yellowknife River just outside of the capital to take part in Exercise Dene Ranger, the largest such event ever held by Rangers in the southern N.W.T.
"We were all quite happy: we all made it here in one piece," said Sgt. Brenda Johnson who travelled about 300 kilometres by snowmobile to reach camp.
Johnson crossed Great Slave Lake with the Fort Smith Ranger Patrol, meeting up with Rangers from Fort Resolution on the way.
She says despite one broken hitch, there was little trouble.
"We were quite lucky. The weather stayed with us. It was a little bit cool on the lake for some of us that aren't used to traveling on the open lake."
Nine teams of Rangers are at the gathering, from as far away at Wekweeti, Lutselk'e and Fort Simpson. In all, the Rangers will patrol more than 1,400 kilometres by the time they return home.
Today is the first of three days of skills competitions, starting with a rifle range.
Friday and Saturday will see more games of skill, including a toboggan race, a log push/pull, a fish net competition, snowshoe race and tug of war.
According to Johnson, enthusiasm is high.
"This is the first time we've ever done anything this big so everybody was really keen to go and spirits are good."
The Rangers will also make some time for the public.
They also plan to set up a parade and display on Yellowknife's Back Bay, inviting people to drop by and learn more about the Rangers.