Day 15 – Tuk – The end of the road

We rented a car for the drive from Inuvik to Tuk – we had been forewarned about the road and thought that with discretion and all that… it made more sense not to push our luck and instead drive to Tuk. We went to pick up the SUV and there are no real words to describe it other than a 2003 Dodge Durango with > 230k (which, as per Dale, is equivalent to 1 million Toronto miles) that was actively decomposing. At the rental we were told don’t worry about the lights on the dashboard (check engine, parking brake and the ABS light), only worry if they are flashing. The front headlight was broken, the windshield looked like a shattered mirror with lines all the way across, the passenger back door wouldn’t open from the inside and none of the windows worked unless the driver operated them – in essence we think perhaps they were hoping we wouldn’t return it and they could collect the insurance? In any case, we set off on a jaw crunching, tooth rattling, hemorrhoid inducing ride that was 30% road and I think 70% car. But we made it to Tuk! 

WOW – we stopped at the visitor centre to get the lay of the land. And then we walked to the end of the road, skipping stones in the Arctic ocean and having a bit of a dip. We got a team photo and asked a woman if she would mind taking our team pic. Turns out we interrupted her convo with the Mayor…..and then she said she is the Senator for the NWT – Senator Margaret Dawn Anderson!! I mean come on, what are the odds of that happening, so cool. She spent a good bit of time talking about Tuk and issues more generally in the north; she is originally from here – incredible hospitality. 

Checked in at the End of the Road Inn and then went exploring – we had been told by Mavis that there was good swag at the RCMP office so we met Constable Wright and she showed us some awesome gear – all to support the local kids. The Coroner is also an artist with amazing sketches of the local wildlife (some money was spent).  

We caught up with Jim (the vet) for dinner – we had the BBQ going and an open firepit on the point in public camp space. We had steak and potatoes (honestly, this is the first TYL trip where I am pretty sure I gained weight) and onion. We were waiting for the sunset (11pm)… and then an F150 stopped and out came a Tuk local named Dang. He spent about 45 minutes with us, showing photos, telling tales of the local life and culture and his polar/grizzly bear, and fishing exploits.

We finally got back to the lodge around 1130, and Dale got a slurpy from the small convenience store below the lodge – he kept getting ice cream headaches and making ridiculous faces – I split my gut laughing…oh what a night! 

Day 14 – Homestretch

Ascent 264m, descent 265m, distance 47.31k

What a glorious day – near bluebird sky, the road was mostly hard packed, minimal dust, almost flat (almost) and it felt like heaven to roll into Inuvik (in Dempster equivalents the last 8 km of paved road is apparently equivalent to your first kiss, I would have to say that this is totally true)!! Along the way we passed the Campbell viewpoint to look out on the ridge, lake and Inuvik. Dave had a real rear wheel wobble – turns out he blew two more spokes = we got in to Inuvik just in time. He jokingly said he did the Dempster solo (see photo).

Suneet did the final bit of the drive, parked and then biked back to meet the group so we could all ride in together. Miraculously, we had NO FLATS.

The locals are so incredibly friendly, the team photo was taken by the Sheriff! Dinner at a local place Roost. Post meal we had a great town wander. Highlight of the wander was Mavis’, a local woman with crafts who had us into her home. She told us about the history of each of the mukluks, mittens, scarves, and carvings. What a welcome. Inuvik had a town fair the evening we arrived with live local music and local crafts. Sunlight lasted till after 11 pm. Brightly coloured buildings and a Teacher’s convention in town. Random stat (perhaps for Dale, who is totally immune) this region is second only to the Amazon for mosquitos. Tomorrow Tuk!

16 miles on a school night

This week was a particularly grueling one for training. Blustery winds left over from the Nor’easter in Boston forced the long run from Sunday to Monday night. I was on service this past week which meant that I did not get home until after 6pm on Monday. The run lasted 2 hours and 4 minutes during which time the sun set and the temperature dropped from 0 to -4. It was the longest night time run I had ever done and probably the most difficult of my training.

Continue reading “16 miles on a school night”

Nahanni Day 18- Lindberg Homestead

Nahanni Day 18 – Lindberg Homestead

We woke up to a miserable morning with drizzle, mist and bloody cold. Had breakfast burritos and got in the canoes pronto. Most of the current is lost in the splits so we had lost that major advantage – the current was only doing 0.5-1 kph so a 30 km day seemed like a lot of padding. We got to it, and yes it was a long paddle. But the skies cleared and the water stilled and we could see forever. The reflection of the clouds on the water made you feel that you were flying. We happened upon a water bison huge and imposing on the shore and frankly not the least bit interested in us or what we were up to.

Continue reading “Nahanni Day 18- Lindberg Homestead”

Nahanni Day 17- The Splits

Nahanni Day 17 – The Splits

Distance travelled 50 km
Bug meter 1/10 (cold, cold, cold)
What a change compared to yesterday – we woke to clouds and about 15 degrees!
We started straight out with Lafferty’s rapids and as we scouted them Dale said ‘Is that it with a look like – that’s nothing?” (foreshadowing….). Perry got the Drone set up and the three boats – Rob and Dave, Mike and Sarah and Dale and I paddled back up river in the eddy and then did a forward ferry to get the line right. Perry was on Drone duty and Wendy on the camera.
We turned into the waves – needing to avoid a big rock/hole on the right, a large cliff face on the right and try to hit the waves at a perpendicular angle – i.e. head on, yet the waves were slightly angled. Just like they say loose lips sink ships – in canoeing you need to remember that loose hips, floats boats. Really important to be very flexible in the water and let your hips roll with the punches.
Once in the waves Dale got his wish – whereas the 4th canyon waves get bigger with rain (which we had a plenty in the days leading up to it – so they were HUGE); Lafferty gets bigger when the water is down a bit (and we had had three glorious sunny days…..). The waves were the highest Wendy thinks she has seen in > 10 trips – likely 7-8 feet. Holy Rollers to be sure. A once in a lifetime run. We started to lose our line and I thought we were goners, but we got it back. We caught air!!!! It was magical. And the best part is that there were no dumps, everyone stayed in their boats. The three boats then pulled over and Perry and Wendy packed up the filming gear and did the run (see photos).

Continue reading “Nahanni Day 17- The Splits”

Nahanni Day 15 and 16 – Lafferty creek

Nahanni Day 15 and 16 – Lafferty creek

Up at usual time today and did an easy hike back into the Dry Canyon – lovely walls stretching up it seemed like forever – got back to camp, packed up and then got prepared for George’s Ripples (I mean really who are we kidding, ripples? 5-6 foot standing wave is a ripple??? on what planet is a 5-6 foot standing wave a ripple?????).

Continue reading “Nahanni Day 15 and 16 – Lafferty creek”

Nahanni Day 14 – Deadman’s Valley

Nahanni Day 14 – Deadman’s Valley

Glorious glorious day – sun and not a cloud in the sky. Relaxed breaking down of camp and on our way at around 10. Paddled through 3rd canyon for the morning arriving at lunch break at 1230. Then we left 3rd and paddled 2nd canyon and on into Deadman’s Valley. The wind picked up, really blowing in to a headwind….. it was a lot tougher paddle.

Continue reading “Nahanni Day 14 – Deadman’s Valley”

Nahanni Day 13 (Hells) Gate

Nahanni Day 13 (Hells) Gate:

Maximum speed on water 19.6 kph

Distance traveled: 48 km

Altitude lost: 70m!!!!!!!

Tallest rapid 5 feet

Today was a red banner day for sure. Overcame the technical issues with the blog…..had a great breakfast and we were on our way. The canoes are set up as follows: Perry and Wendy (the Owner of BlackFeather), Dave and Rob (Guide), Mike and Sarah (apprentice guide) and Dale and myself.

Continue reading “Nahanni Day 13 (Hells) Gate”