To the Arctic and Beyond


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Published: June 26th 2017
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Geo: 68.368, -133.743

We didn't get a very early start, but at least we slept well. By 10am we had eaten some breakfast and were on our way.

Not far up the road, it is designated an emergency air strip. This basically means that the road is slightly wider and has a small turnoff for one airplane. The tie-downs are some big rocks.

Not an hour beyond the lodge is the Arctic Circle. The sign says 66d 33', but in fact the GPS reads almost exactly 66d 34'. It's the thought that counts. In any case, we finally made it to the Arctic, which means that we did not go bust. The sign boards contain some interesting information for those who didn't pay attention during 4th grade science. Did I mention, ARCTIC ACHIEVED WOOOO!!

The road north of the lodge is somewhat less scenic than the first half. There are two ferries to take on either side of the town of Fort McPherson. After the second ferry, the road becomes entirely flat with long straight stretches. Still no services. There are a lot of ravens in the Yukon and NWT. Those are the huge black birds you see in at least one picture below.

We finally rolled into Inuvik in the late afternoon. You'll notice in some of the pictures that there are above ground ducts that run to all the houses. All of the utilities that we normally bury and in these ducts to prevent the permafrost from melting (which causes everything to sink). You can think of permafrost ground to be like a wet sponge that has been frozen. You can set a lot of weight on it, but as soon as it thaws out the sponge will compress and support no weight. No consider that the permafrost goes thousands of feet below the surface, with only the top several feet thawing each summer.

Groceries are relatively expensive in Inuvik, but check out the price of perishable goods like milk.... $11 per gallon! Still, that is exactly double the price of gas, which I think is the same ratio that we enjoy back at home.

The whole town of Invuik was built by the Canadian government to promote resource exploration in the Arctic. Everything in town is 58 years old and built on stilts, including the large school.



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