Lesson: Be Adventurous
What drives a person to willingly choose to live or work in a harsh, isolated and cold environment? And why would anyone ever choose this when you can live in a comfortable climate, work in a nice warm office in the winter which also has air conditioning in the summer?
Prior to my work in the mining and exploration industry, I actually moved to a very cold place. The coldest day ever for me was- 62F, something I think everyone should experience once. Not twice, just once will do. But I did experience this extreme cold and wore it for years like a badge of honor. This is where I should note that, now that I am an American citizen, I am trying to drop the ‘u’ in words like honour and I report temperatures in Fahrenheit, not Celsius. 😊
At -62F, the air freezes and it sparkles in the sunlight. With no wind and no cloud cover it’s glorious, then the propane freezes and you have to go outside to wrap a blanket around it and put a space heater under the propane tank to thaw things. The trick is to never let your propane tank go below half as it won’t freeze, something I learned after that fact.
And when you go out at -62, it’s best to cover everything possible; everything, including your nose, which will freeze almost instantly. Me, I wore a snowsuit over top of snow pants, a winter coat and thermal underwear. And I will still cold beyond words I possess to describe it.
Once you are outside, which I don’t recommend you do for long, the frozen air creates a type of vacuum chamber and you can hear people talking from a great distance.
I only had to go outside for about an hour to deal with all things frozen but still – badge of honor.
Back to the cold places and uncomfortable working conditions… why would anyone do this? I think the answer is adventure and curiosity. I am guilty of both and have to admit, most people I knew back home in Ontario thought I was crazy and would end up back there before too long. And in these unusual places and unusual projects, I met people in the mining and exploration industry who are far braver than me and work in the most extreme of conditions – cold, isolated, harsh conditions. Yet they love it, and I am thankful for them.
These people, usually geologists and crew that support the exploration and the extraction of minerals – from cooks to cleaners to drillers – work in places most people will never see except in pictures. And with this work, they experience incredible beauty on their path to discovery of the minerals we all need in our daily lives. They have great stories and adventures most people only read about.
And most spend longer than an hour in these work conditions.
I thought I would write about them but really a picture is worth a thousand words so here’s 8,000 words worth of pictures to think about the spirit of these people who seek to discover minerals and develop mines for your cell phone, your car or that air conditioning. Without people working in these conditions, we would not have the comfort, safety, prosperity and luxuries we enjoy. And for that and many other reasons I am thankful for those people with curiosity and a sense of adventure.
PS. All pictures from places I have been in Canada, but that is all you get today… in case there is a great discovery!