Inuvik Journal

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Back at the Helm...

Hi Folks:

It has been a long time since I posted on this blog and recently I have been thinking about changing that. Time is the issue of course. It's not like I don't have things to talk about! We have lived here for more than five years now, and there have been plenty of experiences worthy of a blog posting. It's time to share those experiences, and to end the posting drought.

When I first started writing this blog (and it's predecessor), the concept of blogging was relatively new. Now six years hence, it is still a popular source of posting on the Internet, and I have to say that that surprises me a little. Sure there are lots of new methods of web publishing, most notably all things wiki - pedias, leaks and whatnot, facebook, twitter, etc., etc., but blogging remains a popular method. So there is no danger of not being relavent. At least for now.

Unlike the past, methods and systems are no longer the challenge in publishing one's thoughts. The media is here, and virtually free for all (even in the Arctic, where precious little is free). No, the challenge these days is time. It seems that the more technology and "time saving" devices invade our lives, the less time we actually have. And that is a very curious phenomena indeed!

But some things are important enough to find the time, and lately I have been thinking that writing this blog is one of those things. So, I will try my best to find the time to write this blog on a regular basis (who am I kidding, semi-regular basis at best!)

If the media is relevant, and more importantly, if the content is relevant to you, leave a comment. If not, leave a comment saying that. If you have questions or suggestions, let me know.

While most of the posts in the future will be based on living, working and playing in the Arctic, there's plenty of things on the go in the world that beg comment. Most recently the disaster in Japan, the situation in Libya, Egypt, and plenty of others. I'll try not to get too political, not only because I find the subject essentially uninteresting, but mostly because opinions and debates about politics often get out of hand way too quickly. That said, I have definite opinions on most subjects, so when I say that I will attempt not to get too political, I will try, but I cannot guarantee.

Cheers for now, and I promise I will be back soon with something a little more interesting to say.


Sunday, April 15, 2007

Caribou, The Jamboree, and Fire

In February, Lorie and I drove to Whitehorse for supplies. Some might call that an inconvenience, having to drive 2500 kilometers round trip for groceries - but for us, it's a chance to get away and see something different for a change. Here a couple of picutes of caribou that we spotted just on the Yukon side of the border:

It was pretty cold that day and the batteries in the digital camera lasted only a few minutes before they were dead (batteries do that in the cold). Because the batteries were short lived, I couldn't use the zoom lens much - another reason why the pictures aren't great. Here's another:

So, in this picture you can see the faraway image of about two dozen caribou. What you can't see (and what we didn't realize at the time I took this picture) is the 300+ caribou on the hill just to the left. They blend in so well that you they are difficult to see. Unfortunately, by the time we realized the hills were alive with caribou, the batteries in the camera were dead.

The survival instincts of the caribou are impressive. The routinely ignore cars speeding along the highway - they are of no danger. However, if one stops, it gets their attention. For the first minute or so after we stopped, we were pretty much ignored. But after a short "grace period", we were apparently worthy of attention. We could even see some of the calves playing in the distance. As the herd started to move off to the west (slowly at first, then more quickly), the adults ran off leaving some of the calves behind (these would be almost yearlings at this point). It was poignant watching these calves struggle to catch up to the safety of the herd. They eventually did catch up, and the herd moved off as a unified group.

Every year Inuvik hosts the Muskrat Jamboree. It's a variation on any of the thousands of community festivals held across Canada each year. Most of the rest are held in the summer, but Inuvik being in the Arctic, must hold theirs in the winter. It's a pretty unique event consisting of such events as the snowshoe races, snowmobile races, muktuk slap, muskrat skinning, and the harpoon throw. The real draw though is the dogsled races. Here are a couple of pictures of that:

This finish was one of the closer ones we saw.

Another of the events at the jamboree is the tea and bannock making contest. Contestants have to build a fire, chop ice, put it in a kettle, melt the ice, boil the water, make tea, and make and cook bannock. First person to get all that done wins.

Lorie having herd of this back in the summer, decided that it was time that she knew how to make a fire. This was back in August or September, I think. And when Lorie gets something in her mind - it happens!

So off we roll, down the highway to a quiet area in the bush...on a Sunday morning. My task - to teach her how to build and light a fire, and boil water. She did a pretty good job, if I do say so - here are a few pictures of that:

I chopped the wood, since I didn't feel like rushing her to the hospital that early in the morning!

So she's got the thing going and she decides to guard it with a rifle! Just kidding, we were actually doing some shooting as well. A girl's got to have skills after all! To her credit, there was a light dusting of snow and the temperature was about ten degrees below zero (both factors which make it harder to light a fire), but she did just fine.

Here's a shot of Lorie tending to her "creation" and boiling the water in the can. The cup of tea she made me was good. Also as you can see, animals aren't necessarily afraid of fire. Well, I guess most are but, in Ripley's case the need for heat is stronger than the fear of fire. I think he would have crawled into the fire if we'd have let him!

Finally, here's a picture of the jeep after the short run down the Demspter highway on a wet day. It's a muddy highway, to say the least.

Well, that's about it for this edition of Inuvik Journal. I am starting to run out of pictures to post, so that means I will have to get out and take some more. That shouldn't be hard since the daylight lasts till midnight now, and the temperatures are getting quite comfortable. Before we know it, it's going to be getting above zero again. Sigh! I guess I will just have to hang on until the snow flies again in September.


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Even More Trip Photos

Here are a final few pictures of the Dawson City trip Lorie and I took last summer. These are actually shots taken along the Dempster Highway. You have read about this highway in previous posts, but for those who haven't - it's a 740 kilometre long gravel highway that runs north from the Yukon. The scenery along this highway is quite a sight!

I don't exactly remember where along the Dempster this is, but I am guessing it's North of the Tombstone range in the Yukon.

Here's another shot of the Arctic Circle crossing marker. It's about 30 kilometers North of Eagle Plains, or 340 kilometers south of Inuvik - however you'd like to look at it.

That's about all of the pictures of that particular trip. Starting tomorrow, I'll post some of the other many, many pictures we have taken since we have been here.


Sunday, April 01, 2007

More Trip Photos

Hi all:

Here are a few more photos from our trip to Whitehorse and Dawson City in the summer of 2006. This first picture is a shot of one of the mountains of the Tombstones. The tombstones are a mountain range along the southern part of the Dempster Highway. The mountains pretty much mark the half way point on our trip to Whitehorse. There's lots of scenery in this area and tons of wildlife too. Unfortunately, we are usually in such a hurry that we just drive right past.

That won't be the case this summer; we specifically plan to spend time camping and hiking in the tombstones. I'll be bringing a rifle since the bears are always on the lookout for unsuspecting hikers!

This is a shot of Lorie walking down one of the restored streets in Dawson city. They have done a good job of restoring the town, and many of the buildings are painted bright colours such as these ones.

There is discontinuous permafrost in Dawson City, and this issue plays havoc with buildings. If the foundations are not constructed properly, the result is this:

This would be one of the buildings from the original gold-rush days. And yes, Lorie is leaning a little bit to accentuate the lean of the building...or perhaps she's had one too many cocktails at Diamond Tooth Gertie's. More on Gertie's in a future post - you will just have to wait.


Saturday, March 31, 2007


Hi everybody:

After an inexcusable absence, I'm back. I'm so busy these days that I won't have time to post long entries...however, I have a ton of pictures that I can post. My plan is to post two or three pictures a day...with a little commentary, maybe! Click on the picture for a proper sized view.


Here's the first installment:

This is a typical view of the mountains that border the Dempster Highway. On a trip south to Whitehorse and Dawson City in the summer of 2006, Lorie took this picture. As you can see, the views are astonishing. Only in the north!

This is a picture of one of the many boardwalks in Dawson City. This is a neat place to visit, there is a lot to see, even though the place is small. Lorie and I went there in the summer of 2006. We had a great time even though our stay was short...and, we will be returning. In a future blog there will be more on Dawson City and its famous (or infamous) sour-toe cocktail!

Cheers for now!


Sunday, December 31, 2006

Home Again

Hi Folks:

It's been a while since my last post. Most of that time has been used either for getting ready , travelling to, or enjoying the visit on the east coast.

It's New Year's Eve now and the last few weeks have been great. I visited with tons of family, friends and former co-workers. It has been great seeing you all again.

Lorie will be joing me today. She has been spending Christmas so far with her family in PEI. We will have another 10 days or so in the south, then it back to the Arctic for us.

Although it's been a good trip, we are looking forward to getting home to Inuvik. Isn't it weird how fast a place becomes home. I guess that's where the job and all your stuff and the routine is - so that makes it home.

There should be a little bit of daylight available when we get back, and I will have to use that light to get a few pictures of the town. I have had multiple requests for pictures of the town itself. I will do my best to accommodate those requests.

Here's a link for you to check out if you are so inclined:

It's all about the the Yukon Quest dogsled race from Whitehorse in the Yukon to Fairbanks, Alaska - 1600 kilometres. It's billed as one of the toughest races in the world.

Well, that's all from Canada's most easterly province. I'll be writing much more when I get back to the Northwest Territories.


Monday, November 13, 2006

Hi Folks:

Looks like we are in for the first cold night of the far. The forcast is calling for minus 30 and it looks like we might get there and then's already minus 29.

Overall it was a good long weekend, too short of course, but nice nonetheless. We did a little bit of walking and a bit of snowmobiling, watched some movies, cooked some good meals and generally took it easy. We are just four work weeks away from the trip back east. It's been a year of change for us...a long year and in certain ways a hard year - but a rewarding year. The hardest part is working a whole year and not having any time off. Well, that's not exactly true, we did have a few days off for a trip to Whitehorse. And Lorie had a few more days off for a trip to Edmonton. The month off over Christmas will be great. It will be great for us to see our families and friends, and have the time off work.

Lorie and I, and another friend of ours Eric, did one short snowmobile trip yesterday; only about an hour off into the bush, but it was fun. We also brought Ripley along and ran him so that he would be tired for the rest of the evening. It was good to get out on the land again. Unfortunately the wind was coming up and a bit of a blizzard was forecast, so we turned back. There will be plenty of more opportunities.

That's all for now. I have been taking some flak for how infrequently I have been posting. One reason is that I'm not sure what people want to read. If you have any questions, be sure to post them and I will do my best to answer them. If you have requests of things you'd like pictures of, post those too. I'll do my best to accommodate. Once the ice roads to Tuk and Aklavik open, we will travel a bit more and take some picture for you.