We slept a bit late after a cold night in the tent. If we were this cold here, it should be fun in Tuktoyaktuk!
The clouds were very low and made driving a bit challenging as we went through Wright Pass into the the Northwest Territories.
Of course we stopped at the NWT border for a pic. We also learned that not only do birds migrate to the western arctic from all over the Americas, the Northern Wheatear migrates from Northern Africa. Now that is one heck of a trip! Shortly after we left the border we encountered a Grizzly running down the road towards us. Unfortunately it dashed off into the bush before we could get a pic, but Linda was happy as she had never seen a griz before. We also saw 2 arctic foxes along the way. Again, no pics, but really we did see them.
Our next stop was at a view point that gave a 180km view down the Mackenzie Delta. The vastness of this land continues to amaze us.
There are 2 ferry crossings on the way to Inuvik. The first one is the Peel River ferry, a cable ferry that operates on demand.
Next was a quick stop into Fort McPherson to get our passports stamped, then back on the road to the MacKenzie River ferry at the confluence of the MacKenzie and Arctic Red Rivers. This ferry has 3 landing points, 1 on the McPherson side of the Dempster, the 2nd is for Tsiigachtic a small village between the 2 rivers, and 3rd is on the Inuvik side of the MacKenzie.
We stopped for directions and our Arctic Circle certificates at the visitor centre in Inuvik, got fuel at Bob’s Welding, and hit the road.
If we thought the Dempster was a bit challenging before, it now seemed like a cake walk compared to the new Tuk highway. Because it is such a new road, there are many areas that have not quite settled in yet and for many kms the gravel is deep and loose, it is like driving in sand. There is a not bad section in the middle, then many kms of pot holes and washboard. We drove slow and had ample opportunity to enjoy the view. 2.5 after we left Inuvik, We’ve arrived!
We stopped at the RCMP to ask where we could camp, as there are no campgrounds in Tuk. In Dawson we had heard that people were using the ball diamond and “the point” The RCMP told us the point was our best bet, so we joined a handful of other die-hards who were spending the night here and not heading right back to Inuvik. There were only a few other tents most were campers or vans. We got a site about 50 yards from the shore of the arctic ocean with the use of a picnic table and fire pit. It was very cold and windy and we used the car as a windbreak for the tent. We also put on all the headgear and jackets we brought with us.
Dinner was weenies roasted over an ocean driftwood fire, and canned beans.
Some enterprising residents have erected a wall tent and will be running a concession from it shortly. In the mean time, flyers taped to the outhouses let you know that you can get burgers and hot dogs delivered to your tent.
We campers seem to be a source of entertainment for the town. Carloads of residents drive around the point to look at us. It kind of makes us feel like we are in a zoo, but is fun none the less.
As one might imagine, is was chilly sleeping in a tent a few feet away from the Arctic Ocean in June. We used a Nalgene bottle as a hot water bottle and even I had pants on in the sleeping bag.
The influx of tourist, and campers has put an extra burden on the town, for example the porta-poties need to be emptied with greater frequency. And, I think so far the economic benefit to the town has not been that great. Next year will look a lot different I think, with an actual campsite, and fees. We feel privileged to be in the first few to experience it the way it is this year.