We had a remarkably good sleep considering how chilly and windy it was last night. That hot-water bottle was a great help, not to mention the stylish head gear. The ensured everything was dry for packing up this morning though, so that was a nice bonus. It also meant that we had to cook in the car, as the heat was being blown away.
After everything was packed up, we put on our sandals and waded into the ocean. OMG was it freekin cold! I have been in glacial lakes and thought it would be pretty much like that. Boy, was I wrong! And, I have to confess that the original plan was to put on bathing suits and take a quick dip, but we wussed out and only went in to our shins.
We stopped at the Northern Store looking for Tuk shirts, but they didn’t have anything that really grabbed us, and I was looking specifically for a Tuk-U shirt. So, we headed over to the town office, they didn’t have Tuk-U shirts, but we wanted to support the local economy at least a little, so I picked up a long sleeve T-shirt, some stickers and we got our “I traveled the highway to the arctic ocean” certificates. We seem to be getting quite a collection of certificates from this trip. We’ll have to scan them when we get home to put them in our photo book of the trip.
We drove around town looking at the sites and taking photos. We discovered that Tuk is the northern end of the Trans-Canada Trail. We also saw a sod house, and the under structure for making a sod house.
Just outside of Tuk is Pingo National Park. Pingos earthen domes unique to the north and are formed when lakes dry up and permafrost pushes up the previous unfrozen ground and water. There are around 1400 around Tuk, ranging in height from 3 to 45 meters.
The road to Inuvik was just as challenging as when we came up, but it seemed to go by a faster even with us stopping to take some pics we didn’t get the day before. One thing we found interesting is that snow-machines and sleds (kamiks) are left in what seems to be random places along the road. We wondered if they might be at someone’s trap-line, but honestly we have no idea and sometime we just make stuff up.
When we got to Inuvik, we had hoped to have lunch at Alestine’s Restaurant as they are rated the best in town and serve local fare such as Reindeer chili, local fish and Eskimo donuts which are pretty similar to what we would call fry bread on the prairies. Alas, they are only open for supper until next week. There are not a lot of restaurants in Inuvik and after looking at short list we picked up at the visitors centre that included the hospital cafeteria, we decided on Cloud 9 at the airport. As we didn’t want to have to double back we decided to get gas and do our shopping before we left for the airport. Still in search of a Tuk-U shirt we headed over to Mavis’ house as she sells the shirts. We were looking for some sort of sign attached to a house, but no, there was nothing. I did see a woman standing in her window waving us in, so figured we had found the right place. Unfortunately, she had no Tuk-U apparel left and wouldn’t get any until next week. Too late for us. She did have a great assortment of hand-crafts, the bead-work on the moccasins was amazing. It seems she used to work for the development corp and when she left the elders kept bringing her their work anyway. The north really is a different place, with a different pace of life and a different way of doing things than we are used.
Next stop was the Inuvialuit Development Corporation. They have a craft shop and hold the copyright for the Tuk-U apparel. At last, we sort of had success. There were only 4 shirts left, 2 small and 2 XXL. Since it took me over 40 years to get here to pick one up I couldn’t leave empty handed, so picked up an XXL sweatshirt. Maybe it will shrink a little, and I can always use it as a hoodless hoodie.
Lunch at the airport was ok, but certainly not something to write home about. If we lived in Inuvik, I don’t think we would be eating out much. The airport did have decent wifi though, so I was able to upload some pics to the blog. The relevance of this will become import in the next day’s blog.
Although the scenery is beautiful, we are starting to be done with the Dempster, and are looking forward to hitting pavement again. So, even though we had intended to make a stop in Tsiigachtic, it would mean an extra ferry crossing, so we went directly to the McPherson landing and continued south. A little after McPherson, there was a lot of road maintenance going on, grading and applying calcium chloride. Although it made the road wet and slippery, it also got rid of the dust that made visibility quite bad.
We ended up in Rock River again for the night. Had a lovely campsite right by the river even though it was a little busier than it was 2 days ago. Our food supplies are starting to get a little low, but we got creative and had quesadillas for supper. Just one more way to serve pepperoni, olives and cheese 😊 By the end of the trip I may not want to have any of the above for a long time.
As we were getting dinner ready and sitting by the fire afterwards, we were visited by a rabbit (Arctic hare?) with white feet who did not seemed afraid of us, and seemed to be friends with a squirrel, we also had a grey jay come and visit and we were expecting Snowwhite to pop out of the forest at any minute.