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We drove slowly to accommodate the many vehicles, pedestrians, children and dogs sharing the road into the Lower Post reserve. Along the way we were struck by the appearance of the village; yards once cluttered with old vehicles were now tidy.
The signs facing the highway said this was a protest, but the gathering Thursday morning outside the Liard First Nation band office was a peaceful one.
"I don't remember it being such a pretty town," said Marcella McKenzie of this little Yukon burg. "That's because it wasn't," said Judy Couture. "There wasn't much here in the way of buildings when we were kids - no streetlights at all. And the roads were dirt and gravel."
Watson Lake doesn't always have something to brag about these days, but the residents can speak with justifiable pride about their annual horse show, and the Grounds where it all happens.
This event was a lot of fun for everyone, and the result of its success is a commitment to make it an annual event with a target date of the second weekend in June.
The name Hidden Lakes is magic to the children of Watson Lake. It conjures images of fun, food and friends.
We have always had hockey, softball and many other athletic activities, and many, many years ago sporty Watson Lake originated the infamous Tour de Liard Bike Race.
Attractive and successful, that's Amanda Brown. Talk to her for a moment and it's easy to figure out why there's so much happening in her young life.
There are many reasons people come to Watson Lake and end up staying here, ranging from job offers to romance to a desire to live close to nature.
The first event of the new year was the first New Year's Eve Family Dance at the recplex partnered by the Watson Lake Community Club and Watson Lake.
In 1952, when Evelyn and Lloyd Kostiuk drove north with their young son Pat, the trip from Fort St. John to Watson Lake took three days. When they got as far as Lucky Lake, a few miles south of Watson, after seeing nothing but stunted spruce trees and sand or moss,
'I wasn't one of those kids who left Watson Lake never to return," says Thomas Slager. "I can't remember ever wanting to live anywhere else. I told my Grade 11 teacher that one day I would have his job.
Eileen Melnychuk is a returnee. She was born in the Yukon, but is coming home after many busy and exciting years away. She brings with her a formidable resume of talent and accomplishment.
Zoe Miles was born on Salt Spring Island and has spent most of her life on the West Coast, but she is no stranger to Watson Lake. She lived here for five years when she was a child.
In Grade 12, while tutoring some Grade 7 students, Fred Statham had an epiphany. "I knew then I wanted to teach," he says. "I felt I was making a difference in the lives of these kids and I wanted to make that my work.
The attractive, soft-spoken Carmen Komish grew up in this town, and she harbours fond memories of her childhood.
Joanne Bailey is not technically a resident of Watson Lake any longer, having recently moved to Dawson City. But she lived here for 20 years, and having her mom, Brenda, her daughter, Jennifer, and two grandbabies in this community keeps her coming back on a regular basis.
'There is no way of knowing what will happen in a life. For me the best way to enjoy mine is to see it as an adventure.
Barb and George Millen have lived in Watson Lake for years and years: part of the backdrop of 'oldtimers' in the town that helped form its colourful history.
Amy Clements is living proof academic excellence depends on the student. A supportive family and caring teachers have contributed to her success, which has just been recognized through a $17,000 UBC scholarship to attend the University of Northern BC in Prince George.