Nostalgia in the north—or at least that’s how I’m choosing to view our trip up the Dempster.
Thankfully Jim didn’t find a carwash these last two days–what a waste of ten bucks that would have been. Our dark blue minivan is camouflaged in a healthy shade of dirt—couldn’t even see through an inch on the back window.
The mosquitoes swarmed us like sunshine on the equator as we stepped towards the Fort MacPherson‘s visitor center. Yikes, I don’t regret using the retirement fund for shares in Deep Woods.
In our brief stay, we felt like Gwichen First Nations on a journey through the northern wilderness stopping at a neighbouring tribe’s home—minks’ furs hanging to dry inside the cabin, a caribou hide tepee set up in the room’s corner, and the fragrance of mosquito coils hanging in the corner (okay, so that might be a new invention).
Onward to Mackenzie Crossing, the mosquitoes disappeared as we, the oil tanker truck, truck and camper and another truck and boat boarded the ferry. A brief jaunt outside found cool wind whipping at us—minus the mosquitoes. The vast and mighty Mackenzie, brown like a Starbucks latte—no Starbucks this far north though.
Being this far north, I was surprised at the continuous stretch of white and black spruce…apparently nourished by the mighty Mackenzie River, the second largest river delta in North America.
I expected flat tundra stretching miles and miles to the Beaufort Sea. In fact, we’d pass through five eco-regions and three sets of mountains—the Ogilvies, the Blackstone Uplands and the Richardsons. Each set were marked by history in the ice age. How had the ice age formed each? The jagged Ogilvies were forced upward with a shift and the Blackstone Uplands were around long before and after. Only the Richardsons were “new”.
The road just kept going and going and going. After nine days, we’d run out of activities and books to read, watched every video and wondered what we’d do next. Then we rounded a corner of the road, to discover an orange diamond-shaped sign indicating gravel to paved road – the ten kilometre marker preceding Inuvik.
Woo hoo, back on paved road!
Promises of privacy and space outside of suitcases, hotel rooms and this six by ten moving rectangle!
There was the Inuvik sign on the right side of the road! We had arrived!