So last we left off, we made it to Inuvik! I can’t get over how hot the sun is in the high north. As soon as it’s out from behind the clouds, it’s like turning on an oven in middle earth. So 22 feels like 32. It’s also 24 hour daylight, so I find that really screws with my head. I lose all concept of time.
We didn’t actually do much in Inuvik which was too bad. We were only there for 2 evenings, and most stuff was closed by then.
One of the standout cool landmarks is the igloo church. They do tours 3 days a week, and we missed them. I heard the inside is pretty cool. I guess I’ll have to come back!
A friend of mine works at the hospital, so we got little tour. Beautiful facility and quite a busy little spot for the region. I just may have to get a NWT nursing license now.
We had supper at the best restaurant in town. It’s cool, they converted this old bus into their kitchen.
The food was excellent, these are whitefish tacos, whitefish is caught locally.
“Reindeer chili and an Eskimo donut”. It was very good.
We did some shopping for local crafts etc. I just thought these were cute, seal skin hello kitty!
They had no shortage of these assholes here. Definitely not cute.
The Road to Tuk!
Now we did get to spend the day in Tuk which we loved. The Tuktoyaktuk (called Tuk for short) road was just opened in November 2017. Before then, they were an isolated costal community on the Arctic Ocean, accessible by plane, boat, and dog sled. The road is about 138 km, hard gravel packed and quite rough in spots. You can only go about 70 km/hr.
It was cloudy going there, but nice and sunny on our way home.
There’s lots of little lakes peppered throughout the tundra. Home to many birds and fish, we could see white swans in the distance. Also this is grizzly bear country, but we didn’t see any.
There’s that beautiful Arctic cotton all over the tundra.
A red fox trotting along doing its thang.
A Komatik. A type of sled that is pulled behind skidoos.
Just to give an idea on how rough the road can be, on our way back to Inuvik, a large truck passed us going very fast. They kicked up a bunch of rocks at high speed, smashing out the side window. Luckily no one was sitting there. So slow down when passing. Especially for the cyclists and motorbikes. I would be biking with a helmet, face shield and wrapped in bubble wrap. Also be prepared for chipped windshields, flat tires etc.
We made it to Tuktoyaktuk NWT! End of the line. Just to give you an idea where we are in Canada. This is a map from where I live in Lethbridge Alberta, close to the U.S border, to Tuk.
Welcome to Tuktoyaktuk! Land of the pingos! My first question was, what the hell is a pingo? See that hill to the left. That’s a pingo. According to google, it’s a dome-shaped mound consisting of a layer of soil over a large core of ice, occurring in permafrost. (So write this down, it’s going to be on the multiple choice test at the end).
Longtitude and latitude 69.4454° N, 133.0342° W, Tuktoyaktuk is a hamlet home to the Inuvialuit people with a population of about 950. The name Tuktoyaktuk means “resembling the caribou”.
So in the past, many communities in Canada lost their original indigenous names. Tuktoyaktuk was the first community in Canada to revert back to its original name in the 1950’s.
We got a tour around town by a local woman Eileen. She runs the taxi, and is also doing tours, called Arctic Tours. Very much a highlight of our whole trip. She’s lived here her whole life and grew up on the land. Very smart, funny and interesting woman! So if you go to Tuk, call her up for a tour!
A cooler day in Tuk!
So our first stop of the tour was the Arctic Ocean. My initial thought was I want to get in and dunk my head under. I did that in the Hudson Bay in Churchill MB. But man, this water was freezing, I totally wussed out like a little bitch and didn’t get passed my ankles.
Arctic Ocean toe dip!
Mom was only willing to dip her fingers.
Lindsay dipped her tootsies in too.
Another certificate for the resume.
This loveable scamp came down by the water to check us out.
Then he stole Lindsay’s sock.
There he goes. Eileen managed to get it back. Then he returned and was eyeing up my shoes, so my mom had to hold them.
Lots of sled dogs around. If you look behind them there’s so much drift wood. Tuk gets so much driftwood from the MacKenzie River.
There’s no underground sewer or water system. Water is delivered through that green hose, and septic tanks get pumped pumped from that metal port on the side of the house. Wouldn’t want to mix those 2 pipes up.
There’s 4 different churches here. Eileen said they aren’t that popular as they were brought in during the time of residential schools. Even though they are so high north, Tuk was hit hard by the residential school system.
When Eileen pointed out this boat, she said, “this is the boat that brought the residential school to our community”.
Musk ox fur being dried outside a house.
Eileen took us to her fishing nets, where she catches and dries her fish. She’s hoping that she’d catch whitefish. She grew up on the land and has so much knowledge and so many interesting stories. I’m glad to see that many people still use traditional ways for hunting and fishing etc. It wasn’t all lost due to residential schools.
Eileen’s husband Billy, showing us various animal skulls and furs. This is caribou.
They have polar bear ski pants and mitts!
Eileen Invited us in to her home try some traditional food. She made caribou soup, dried beluga whale, raw beluga whale, dried whitefish, musk ox and bannock. It was good, all totally worth trying if you get the chance!
Dried beluga whale
Raw beluga whale (muk tuk). I tried this in Churchill before.
Bannock, always good!
Dried white fish
As we drove around town, we saw this local guy selling musk ox burgers, so when in Rome! (It was really good).
So since the road has been in place, there’s been a big influx of tourism that they didn’t have the infrastructure for. This is people camping. You can camp for free down by the Arctic Ocean sign, and there’s now outhouses there.
They are slowly opening bed and breakfasts, plans to build a campground and more restaurants. There hasn’t been much economic opportunities here, so it’s cool to see locals starting up their own entrepreneur endeavours. Our tour guide was a great example. She really came up with a solid tour. Some people aren’t sure what tourists will want, so as they keep getting that feedback, they could create some really interesting opportunities!
DEW (distance early warning) line radar. These are all across the North by the Canadian and American military during the Cold War. This caught my eye as when I lived in Churchill MB, they had them too, called the golf balls.
Solar powered boat. Never seen this before.
So we spent the night in Inuvik, then flew back to Whitehorse the next morning. I wish we gotta full day in Inuvik.
Arrived in Whitehorse and done the tour, but the fun doesn’t stop yet. Next up, Skagway Alaska!
Thank you for following, I hope I captured the amazing beauty of the North!