Surprise! Polar bear tracks…last bear seen in the park was April 4th, and moving south, towards Pangnirtung. Firearms are not allowed in any Canadian National Parks, polar bears or not. This blanket policy is one of the dumbest rules dictated by an antiquated system that is in severe need of updating. In this area of Auyuittuq, the potential of meeting a polar bear was low (compared to north Pang Fiord). Having prior experience camping were bears frequent (northern Labrador in particular), I wasn’t particularly concerned. The Parks people were on top of the bear situation (we met two parks people on their bear patrol/survey). These frozen steps however were a reminder of who’s home we were in.
Fantastic light of early evening. The subtle colours and interplay of conditions unique to the arctic (refracting and diffusing light in the cold unpolluted atmosphere) created a visual mix that was a delight to the eye and balm to the soul. When Patrick needed some alone time (“meditation”) in the tent, I was more than happy to wander on my private photo safari. Peeking into rock cracks, watching the clouds race by over head, inspecting frozen patterns of river ice, there was always something to see.
Sleeping warm. The tent had just enough interior room for 2 thermorests and a bit of outer wear, stuffed along side the test walls (draft stopper along the zipper). We were often in the tent by 7pm, just plain tired out from the walk, the wind and the effort of staying warm. There we could chat, I’d write in my journal and review the day’s photos (delete delete). My sleeping bag wasn’t quite warm enough (which I knew before starting the trip) so I bulked up the warmth by wearing the down jacket, a wool scarf and wrist warmers.
Snow removal the hard way. Patrick is attempting to empty the tent of the ice crystals which would build up every night (caused by humidity of warm moist breath meeting cold dry air). In the morning, the first person up would cause a shower of snow crystals to cascade down on the still prone person (usually me) who was tried to bury themselves under the sleeping bag to avoid the rude wakening of a snow shower. Ugh! Nothing like melting ice flakes against sleepy warm skin to start the day.