By Glenn Nolan, VP Government Affairs
When the weather gets rough, I always think of our workers. Whether it’s bone-numbing cold and hurricane force winds or hot summer days when the air is filled with biting flies, I am often taken back to my days working in the James Bay Lowlands cutting survey lines with my crew between ’79 and ’95.
We knew it was a colder than usual day when we could see our breath inside the prospector tent in the mornings and frost on the walls rained down on us whenever the wind blew.
We would start a fire in the wood stove, make breakfast and put together lunch for the work we would be doing away from camp. We filled our thermoses with tea and coffee and dressed in our warmest outdoor clothing. Layers of t-shirts, sweaters, vests, inner coats and over coats covered most of our bodies. With thick mukluks on our feet and warm fur hats on our heads, we ventured out to cut lines through black spruce.
We were confident we could remain safe (comfortable even) as the temperature registered -52. We made our way along established snow shoe trails with packs on our backs and axes at our sides.
On warmer days we built a fire, made tea and shared our lunch. On cold days, we remained in our own world of bundled clothing, balaclavas and frosted faces. We knew stopping would lead to getting chilled, then cold, something we couldn’t risk. At the end of the day, we made our way back to camp, content that we were able to do our job and stay warm.
Clothes today might be lighter and warmer, and the machines better able to handle the cold, but it remains a challenge to stay warm, happy, safe and productive on cold days. My (fur) hat goes off to our camp workers who do their job well and safely regardless of the weather!