I still have enough time in Iqaluit, Nunavut’s capital, to recoup for my earlier failure to find Sylvia Grinnell territorial park. I find an office in a shack and enquire. “First proper, first left, you cannot miss it,” I am instructed.
I am quite insulted. How dare he query my capability to get misplaced? “You would be surprised what I can do,” quoths I to the good-arse, leaving the workplace in excessive dudgeon — and promptly getting lost.
Sylvia Grinnell territorial park
After some to-ing and fro-ing, I flip down a facet road, previous a seven-foot excessive snow bank, behind which, actually hidden, is a wooden board: Sylvia Grinnell park.
Traipsing up a perilously slippery snow and ice incline, with many a detailed shave with Mother Earth, I find myself on a ridge with frozen benches and icicled picnic tables, and a splendid panorama of white plains, frozen rivers and hoary hills unfurling before me. I want to make a couple of notes, but now the pen has gone and frozen up, too
View over Iqaluit from the park
The 40-minute turbo-prop flight from Iqaluit to Pangnirtung takes you over a snowy, icy wasteland, the plain progressively fracturing into mountains and fjords — but not before a dirty great creature approaches while you’re still on the ground with an infinite neck swivelling this fashion and that, now up, now down, hovering menacingly over the wings.
It appears just like a type of Martian warfare machines in War of the Worlds.
Baffin Island map with Pangnirtung above latitude sixty five – Wikipedia
It’s a cellular de-icing contraption, with a protracted cherry-picker arm ending in a glass enclosed cabin with a gentleman directing a spurting nozzle of liquid at us.
Shore of frozen Frobisher Bay at Iqaluit
Pangnirtung spreads out on the mouth of a fjord just a few dozen miles south of where the Arctic Circle cuts throughout Baffin Island — that’s if slightly hamlet with 1,500 inhabitants may be mentioned to unfold.
Pangnirtung’s frozen fjord
The identify comes from the Inuktikut phrase Panniqtuuq which means “place of many bull caribou,” and it is the gateway to the magnificent mountainous Auyuittuq National Park — Auyuittuq which means the Land that Never melts.
Wanting in direction of Auyuittuq Nationwide Park
Now you’ll be able to hike north via the park, throughout the Arctic Circle to Qikiqtarjuaq, the other gateway — in case you have seven days to spare and enough bats in your belfry.
An English guy from Cheltenham has just accomplished that in reverse with a buddy, partly with spiked boots, partly with skis. There are sleep-over huts alongside the way in Stone which. On the Owl River they had been awakened by a loud banging at the door. It was a soiled great polar bear trying to get in. Now, you don’t say “are available in” to a polar bear knocking at your door — they can weigh a ton and are very aggressive.
Hudson Bay Firm’s former whale blubber station
This one eventually left Mr. Cheltenham in peace, however he’s into serious adventures. Final 12 months he was in Resolute Bay preparing for the start of what was meant to be a five-week walk across the ice to the North Pole, but it surely fell via (not actually).
Yours really, in fact, shall be overlaying the Pangnirtung-Qikiqtarjuaq leg in 40 minutes in a pleasant little ATR 42 turbo-prop.
It feels positively balmy right here — it’s additional north than Iqaluit but there appears to be very little wind chill. It’s about 10 Fahrenheit (-12 centigrade). I can go around and not using a neck warmer or balaclava. The fjord is surrounded by mountains, which must keep the wind off — my pen is just half frozen.
For $225 the hotel is a joke — a tiny field room without a shower/wc, not even a wash basin to pee in at night time.
For the Inuit, Nanook is the good Polar Bear within the Sky, and a film at Auyuittuq park headquarters here tells you all you might want to know if you happen to run into one. If he/she approaches, stand your floor, shout, wave your arms, and let him/her know that you are human, since humans evidently are not on his/her most well-liked menu.
Human? Hey Nanook, I am human and you’re not, so go stuff yourself! Hm, I do not suppose so.
Junked automobiles near town
You’ve gotten to find out the nature of the bear’s approach, the film suggests. Is it simply curious? Does it assume you’re meals? Or does it feel threatened.
If it is curious, just stand still until it’s glad its curiosity. If it thinks you’re food, don’t run, combat for your life, arm your self with stones if you do not have a gun and try to hit it on the nose. When you’ve got a gun, shoot to kill. If it feels threatened and turns into aggressive, repeat as above.
Ice blocks in fjord
Time for a nice afternoon stroll into the snow valley between the granite partitions by the aspect of the frozen fjord. Who was that barmy idiot who mentioned it feels positively balmy? Sure, there is a wind chill issue; it is -3 F (about -20 C). Thankfully, I’ve stuffed the neck wrap and balaclava in a pocket.
Walk alongside fjord
Lagged like a winter water pipe against a burst, I continue on into the valley. It is actually splendid in the frozen golden sunlight. The icy fjord glints, the snow-coated crags, cliffs and jagged peaks radiate a faux hearth-glow warmth within the lengthening orange rays, and my eye lashes have now frozen over with glinting icicles.
After an hour outward certain I turn spherical. Back in the lodge’s warmth my eyelashes lastly defrost and the icicles melt.