Days 19 and 20 Leaving Inuvik

GOOD BYE

Inuvik

 

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I had a hard time leaving Inuvik

 I was invited to Donald and Myra’s home for lunch…. well.. not really…..  During the event at the Greenhouse, Myra had invited me for a picnic the next day.  Without thinking about details, we agreed to meet at the JÀK campground for a picnic.  What we didn’t think about was 1. the weather and 2. what we’d do if the weather were bad (i.e.:  we never exchanged phone numbers).  The next morning I woke up to cold dreary rain.  To my great surprise, Don and his almost-3 year old grandson found me and whisked me away to their home.  Myra had prepared a yummy indoor picnic complete with hamburgers (Myra… was that really hamburger?…hee hee), slaw, salad and wine.  While Myra finished up on the cooking, Don and I  sat in the living room talking about music and health.  Donald is a nutritional adviser and has an impressive library of books.  Of course my ‘expertise’ is in Poodle dietary health rather than Peoples’ so we compared notes… it’s not too different… I must say!  I learned, sadly,  that my poodles eat a healthier diet than I do.

If you’d like to check out his blog please click here ⇒

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It was a wonderful visit and I felt like I’d known these two open and generous people for a lifetime.  Myra asked if I was going to be in town for a while as she wanted to show me around.  Apparently there is a woman who has imported a herd of Reindeer and this was one person she wanted me to meet.  I don’t’ know why I didn’t just say an emphatical “YES.”  Instead I declined.  I was still battling that feeling that I had to ‘get somewhere’ and if I hung around it wouldn’t be productive.  I’m happy to relate that I’ve gotten beyond that traveling barrier.

Just before leaving Inuvik,  I stopped in the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation gift shop to see if there was anything that I needed. I like the idea of the shop because there’s little mark up and most of the proceeds go back to the artists.   I ended up with two things.

Just when I thought it was too late, I found my pair of antlers.  They’re made by a local artist from Iqaluit, Nunavut Territory, Matthew Nuqingaq

 CLICK HERE to see his bio  ⇒

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IMG_4525  They have a beautiful 3D quality to them and each is different just like real caribou antlers.  Unlike deer, elk and goats their antlers grow disproportionately.IMG_4526

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THEN I found this necklace.  It’s whimsical and exquisite.  Unfortunately, I forgot to get the name of the artist.  Surprisingly it’s not something given out readily nor do the artist always sign their work.

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I certainly didn’t have enough time to develop a full understanding of Inuvik or it’s people.  I’m sure one needs to spend time and probably a winter here to even begin to scratch its icy surface.  On top of that, the people I befriended were all transplants to the area, not of them of Inuvialuit and Gwich’in decent.  In an odd but strong way, I was reminded of Ladakh, India.  Despite the fact that the background of these people is entirely opposite:  Inuvik is at sea level with its native people surviving 100’s of years on hunting while Ladakhis were a nomadic people of the Himalaya, living at 11,000 feet and surviving on small wheat crops and goat herds, they were some how similar.  Perhaps it’s the hard- close-to-the-earth existence they share or perhaps a common ancient ancestry.  Maybe it’s that they are both somewhat displaced people making a life for themselves in an environment foreign to their historic past but maintaining a strong bond to culture, language and foundation.  They’ve both been placed in their somewhat artificial villages by a government trying to make them fit in.  I’m not saying this in a critical way.  I think it’s a fact of modernization, globalization and technology.  I don’t know why, but Inuvik had some feeling of familiarity to me.  It was comfortable and I felt in tuned with its  environment.  In any case,  when I left Inuvik, I left with a little tiny part of myself still there.

And So It Goes……

On my way out of town

I saw a scruffy looking guy by the side of the road.  He had a huge backpack and was wearing a very beat up jacket and huge rubber boots.  I just “took it in,” as you do anything you see around ‘these parts.’    Many miles down the road, as the poodles and I wandered around waiting for the ferry to arrive, I saw the same man getting out of a local’s pickup.  Since we were practically standing next to each other I said, “Hey,  I saw you down by the airport,”  and he (Gordon) told me that he was hitching a ride down to Eagle Plains (about 100 miles south).  So I offered him a ride.  We had a fascinating couple hours talking about things.  It turned out that he was in his early 80’s and had just finished a month-long canoe trip down the Porcupine River…. alone (as in by himself).  He had ‘put in’ at Eagle Plains and ended in a hunting and whaling village west of Inuvik called, Old Crowe.  His hope had been to see the Porcupine Caribou herd migrating across the river.  There are over 175,000 caribou that make a trip from the North Slope of Alaska to the Inuvik area every fall.  Alas, he didn’t see any.

It was evening by the time we arrived at the Eagle Plain’s hotel and Gordon offered to buy me dinner.  The ‘hotel’ is basically an extra large prefab building with dorm rooms, a dining hall and a store.  The store is a 10 x 10 room with a few magazines, candy bars and sodas.  This is the ONLY accommodations between where we caught the ferry in McPherson and Dawson City, so it’s really quite an oasis.

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Local (and only) gas station

The “shape” Gordon was in reminded me of how Phil and I looked after we’d gotten down from spending 28 days on Mt McKinley.  Skinny, sun burned, disheveled and very hungry for ‘real’ food.  You can see him in the very back of the room in the picture below.  He’s roughly between the dead caribou and the bodiless moose.

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Very typical dining atmosphere in Alaska, NWT or Yukon

We said our good byes, he picked up his truck and headed, immediately, home to Salmon Arm, BC where his wife awaited his return.  I decided to camp in Eagle Plains for the night.  As Gordon and I drove south on the Dempster, I couldn’t help but pine away for all the tundra we were passing.  I needed another Tundra Hike Fix.
So the poodle and I spent the night at the extremely nondescript campground in Eagle Plains and dreamt about hunting caribou antlers and dodging bears.

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More on THIS Photo LATER……

Day 17 and 18 Farmers market, Greenhouse fun, Making Friends

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IMG_3226Had a little scare with Nickel today.   She started gulping air and licking her lips.  She was frantic to get out of the truck and eat grass.  She was obsessed about it.  I looked in her mouth and saw nothing and she wasn’t pawing at her face so I didn’t think she had anything stuck in her mouth.  This went on all morning and the intensity increased to the point where I was afraid she was Bloating.  The only place I could think of going for information was the Visitor’s Center.   A wonderful young  woman named Jennifer was in charge and offered to called Whitehorse for me so I could talk to a vet.

Inuvik doesn’t have a vet.  As a matter of fact, they don’t have any extensive local medical support.  They have a hospital but anything more than a wisdom tooth is flown to Edmonton, the ophthalmologist and dentist make a monthly visit.

I had missed the only flight to Whitehorse for the day (of course it was Friday) so the only option would be to drive. Considering  that it’s 760 miles traveling at a snails pace of about 30 miles an hours, I was a bit concerned about leaving.  I had to wait for the vet to call me back and in the mean time Jennifer told me that it wasn’t uncommon for dogs to inhale the small fox tail that were going to seed at the moment.  She said that the local remedy was to feed the dog Caribou fat and hair.  Humm… I don’t have access to caribou parts!   When I finally spoke to the vet, he said not to  work about heading directly to Whitehorse and that it probably was fox tails.  He suggested giving Nickel bread loaded with peanut butter.  Sometimes this will pull the foxtail out.   Isn’t that interesting?  Caribou fat and peanut butter.  He said if Nickel wasn’t better by the end of the day she’d probably need to be put under anesthesia to remove the offending fox.

Long story short… It worked like a charm.  By late afternoon Nickel was back to normal.  Simple as THAT.

 

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SInce I was finally relaxed enough to think about exploring I headed over to the Farmer’s Market.  There weren’t many people there but I picked up a few items.  2013_09_10-Arctic-Market1_Samantha-Stokell2013_09_10-Arctic-Market5_Samantha-Stokell I stopped and talked to a guy who had some bags of herbs, lettuce and jars of pesto.  I asked him how he could grow locally with such a short season and he said that there was a community Greenhouse and that I should go see it.  I bought some pesto to send to my brothers.  I then met a husband and wife, Donald and Myra,  who were selling various carvings.  I bought a wooden spoon and a T-shirt.  The T-shirt was from the recent music festival and Donald started telling me about that.  He said that there was a fundraiser in the Greenhouse, to raise money for a new roof, that evening and I should go.  So  that was the plan!

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I had to drive to the event so I left early and took the poodles for a walk around town.  We came across the youth recreational facility.   As soon as one of the kids saw the poodles the word was out!   None of them had ever seen a poodle before.

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After getting the kids (furry ones) back in the truck I headed over to the Greenhouse.

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They had it decorated for the event but of course the best decorations were the plants themselves.  Due to the amount of light during the summer the plants grew quite big but sometimes the fruits were underdeveloped.  IMG_3260

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I liked how the artist made the Igloo church into a pumpkin

IMG_3253 I got to see a few of the Farmer’s market people again.  I was excited that I could bring home pesto from the Arctic Circle so I thought it would be fun to do an exchange.   I brought some of the huge beautiful cloves of garlic, that my friend Joanne had given me from her garden.   I gave it to the Pesto Guy. He was very pleased, saying it was impossible to grow such large heads in Inuvik.  Here at the fundraiser they had some more goodies for sale so I bought some coffee made in Whitehorse that was Free Trade and packaged for the Greenhouse event.  So now I have coffee from the Arctic Circle too… who would have guessed?   Maybe I’ll have to bring it to central america and trade it for some home grown coffee there.

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But the best part was yet to come.

A number of local people were there to play music.  One young man in particular stood out.  He’s teaching himself classical guitar.  He was astounding.

IMG_3271 and very humble IMG_3263

He said that he only knows 5 pieces so we heard those.

Myra and Don, the couple I met earlier were also there and Don was one of the musicians.  Here he played a ukulele but he also plays the guitar, fiddle and banjo.

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Don is in the middle with the white shirt

 

The end of the evening was closed with some great lively music that was completely impromptu with people who’d never played together.  My jaws were sore from smiling.

Some of the other talent

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Sequim Garlic and Inuvik Garlic Unite

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  GOOD LUCK with the NEW ROOF!

 

Day 15 and 16 First Days in Inuvik

Inuvik

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  • WhereisInuvik?
    • 68º 18’N, 133º 29’W
    • Located on the East Channel of the Mackenzie River about 45 miles from the Beauford Sea.
    • It’s 2° above the Arctic Circle (about 120 miles)
  •  What is the population?
    • Census in 2000 counted 3,451  and its about the same today
    • The highest population count was around 7000 during the 70’s oil rush
  • What kind of weatherdoesInuvik have?
    • Coldest  ≈ –70º F
    • Warmest  ≈ 89 º F
  • Does the sun REALLY never set?
    •  56 days of 24 hour light in June/July and part of August
    •  30 days of 24 hours dark mostly in  December

 

 

 A few sites (sights) around town:

 

 

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How Inuvik deals with water and heat:  The Utilidor

 

There are two basic types of Utilidors:  Those that have water and sewage lines and the thigh temperature heating system.  and those that carry only water and sewage.  The Utilidors with the heating system use the heat lost to keep the water running.  In the other Utilidor, the hot water is heated and the cold water line runs beside the hot water line using the heat to keep it from freezing during the coldest temperatures (remember it can get to be -70 degrees?).   Every house is connected to this system.
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Building in Inuvik

Every building, road and structure has to be either on piles or on a 3 foot gravel pad.  The airport is on a 6 foot pad.  Many areas of the town are built on ‘Ice Lenses’.  This is permanently frozen pockets of pure blue ice.  Well, not so permanent since global warming and building can melt them.  The end result is the collapse of the ground above it.

 

 

I won’t go into all the details of my days… it was mostly chores of laundry, groceries and some exploring…. and you know where we’re staying….

Midnight sun

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