Tues July 13:

Journey starts with a 5am taxi ride from Hamilton to Toronto airport for the short flight to Ottawa. Air Canada nails us with only a $25 extra baggage charge which is pretty light, considering the full charge should have been $150 plus tax. It’s a quick 50 min flight, all our five pieces of gear arrive with us. Alfred sent up one barrel of gear to Resolute in June, saving us further expense and worry re possible missing luggage. When your expedition’s comfort, success and even survival, depends on irreplaceable gear (meaning the restocking ability for lightweight hiking/ waterproof kayaking specific equipment in arctic communities is pretty much nil),  extraordinary measures are taken to make sure it gets there.

Ottawa is an interesting place to spend a few days. We wander along Sparks Street mall, dropping in at the Snow Goose, which sells authentic Canadian crafts. I savour the arcticness of the goods: bone and stone sit mutely on shelves, transported thousands of miles away from their homes, like abandoned pets, waiting for adoption. The Museum of Civilization (across the river in Hull, Quebec) has cases of beaded moccasins, flows backed by sinew, skin clothing from the 1850’s, preserved for posterity behind glass cases. Gallery Vincent in the Chateau Laurier is our last shopping tank up: huge (both dollar wise and conceptually) art pieces by Inuit and first nations artists line their walls.…I’m tempted by a small polar bear carved out of a blue coloured granite: it has all the earmarks I associate with the unique fanciful perspective of Gjoa Haven carvers…

Dinner at the Byward Market is fun…soak up the rich summer night air while observing the collection of Harley Davidson bikers who have collected across the street: so many shapes, attitudes, sizes, shapes, variety of colourful birds pecking at each other! It’s the last people watching I’ll have for weeks…a Bryan Adams concert is underway full blast at the Bluefest concert…I won’t miss that kind of racket over the next few weeks.