Mon August 2:
After breakfast coffee, we call Kenn Borek – as expected, no pick up today, told to call again tomorrow, see if any planes are flying. How annoying to be without a sat phone and sit waiting, wondering, when and if a plane would come! I’m grateful for the technology and don’t mind another day here in spite of the solid grey overcast. Weather is the decision maker here (compared to technology in the south), it’s a relief to step back, relinquish control and accept its dominion.
One of the few areas we haven’t explored is the mouth of the Truelove River where it empties into Jones Sound. A remarkable 10 km long wall of 1000’ cliffs lines the southern fiord wall yet the north shore, where we stand, is less than 100’ above sea level. It’s a colourful scene: a gull colony has splashed the rocks white, the rocks themselves seem to be red and where soil has developed through ample shit fertilization, lush green pockets of vegetation have taken root. With the indirect light, colours appear very intense. Broken white pans of ice float freely in the dark water. Clumps of pink moss campion dot the hill where I sit, looking through binoculars.
Following the shore upstream, a direct sun hit feels like it raised the temperature to at least double digits! Gulls stand on the small gravel delta immediately at the river mouth, flapping their wings and quarrelling among themselves. Ice rumbles then a sharp crack as they hit rocks just below the water line, smashing in to smaller pieces. A small canyon of red cliffs lines the Truelove River, clear rushing water below but no shadows of swimming char are to be seen. At a sharp elbow in the river, I look far up into the valley, where we hiked days ago. A fox on the other side, searches carefully for lemmings, unaware or uncaring about us. A tight knot of honking white geese cluster in the center of the now named ‘Snow Goose Pond’.
An odd noise, far in the distance catches our attention. It’s a plane, the first we have heard in days. Flying low overhead, it passes by out over the main lowlands, too far away to spot us. But it doesn’t land, flying out over Jones Sound, in the direction of Grise Fiord. We debate calling Kenn Borek again but decide to wait until tomorrow morning.
Later, we walk without cameras, just taking in the landscape with unburdened eyes. It feels like we are saying ‘goodbye’, a mood of finality in the air. Time seems to have slowed, I am conscious of walking the terrain like I’ve never seen it before. Completely in the here and now, yesterday and tomorrow don’t exist. The sky is overcast, only a faint pink smear on the horizon.