A Trip To The End Of The Road

I just got home from 10 days in Canada’s arctic including 6 days in Tuktoyaktuk, NWT.  It’s 148 km north of Inuvik and since 2017 is accessible by road.

Something called me to go as far north as the road went hoping that it would be a special experience and it was.  One thing I noticed is that by going to the extremes of climate, geography, culture etc I learned new things about the middle ie my life in Calgary.  Specifically the things that stuck out included 24 hours of daylight.  It was a challenge to go to bed when at midnight it’s still completely light out, kids are playing in the playground and life is just going on.  Standing on the edge of the Arctic Ocean and realizing that I’m at the top  of the world.

Another thing that I learned  is that in the Arctic you can not survive on your own.  You have to be connected to everyone else.  There are times you will need their help and there are times you need to help them.  In the city we can live with the illusion that we can get by on our own.

In the north you also learn some new lessons about letting go.  The prices in the stores are 2 to 3 times more expensive than in the city but if you need it you just have to buy it.  My favourite example was tomatoes 2 lbs for $17.99.  Also if you can’t get it in the store then you can’t get it.  It has to be shipped in which takes time and money. 

Finally  for people who love their connectivity in my week in Tuk I was never able to connect to the internet.  I finally gave up.  Phone service was great but not internet.  Other people told me that they use it but I was never able to access it.  It turned out that I was quite happy to stay unconnected.

Inuvik

I flew from Calgary to Inuvik.

Rex Beanland, Inuvik
Downtown Inuvik with Igloo Church (in background)

A great initiative in the Arctic is the creation of community greenhouses to help bring fresh produce to the Arctic. The largest is in Inuvik in a converted hockey rink.  People can rent individual plots and some is grown for a market.

Rex Beanland, Inuvik
Inuvik Community Greenhouse

Because Inuvik is built on permafrost water & sewage services must be above ground.

Rex Beanland, Inuvik
Above ground water & sewage

Tuktoyaktuk

Rex Beanland, Tuktoyaktuk
Houses on the Arctic Ocean
Some of the scenes of buildings on the water always reminded me of Nova Scotia.
Rex Beanland, Tuktoyaktuk
House Reflections
Rex Beanland, Tuktoyaktuk
Reflections
Rex Beanland, Tuktoyaktuk
A Peaceful M

When the sun was out everything was transformed.

Rex Beanland, Tuktoyaktuk
House In Shadow
Rex Beanland, Tuktoyaktuk
House Shadows
Rex Beanland, Tuktoyaktuk
Houses In Tuk
Rex Beanland, Tuktoyaktuk
Satellite City
Rex Beanland, Tuktoyaktuk
Visitor Info Centre: Stacey Sasha

Laverna, owner of the Smitty’s B & B, where I stayed was a real help during my stay and became a friend.

Rex Beanland, Tuktoyaktuk
Laverna
Rex Beanland, Tuktoyaktuk
Cemetery
Rex Beanland, Tuktoyaktuk
Distant Early Warning (DEW) Station
Rex Beanland, Tuktoyaktuk
Arctic Storm
Rex Beanland, Tuktoyaktuk
Flooding in town (Arctic Storm)

This field was totally dry the day before.  A major storm brought the ocean right into town.

Rex Beanland, Tuktoyaktuk
Pingos

Pingos are hills that are formed by ice heaving up.  They are a very well know landscape feature in this area.

Rex Beanland, Tuktoyaktuk
Pingo
Rex Beanland, Tuktoyaktuk
Car Top Tent

This car top tent is an extremely sturdy and comfortable solution for travelling with a small car.  The ladder is a structural element that gives it a lot strength.

Rex Beanland, Tuktoyaktuk
Made It!

On my last night Laverna and her granddaughter, Hanna drove me around.  We went up to the DEW Station and I took some photos.

Rex Beanland, Tuktoyaktuk
Looking over the Arctic Ocean
Rex Beanland, Tuktoyaktuk
Goodbye Tuktoyaktuk
Rex & Laverna
It was a fabulous trip!

 

In my next post I’ll be showing the paintings that I did on the trip.

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