Friday, September 19, 2014

Inuvik [pronounced In-OO-vik]

Before reaching Inuvik we crossed the Arctic Circle. 
This was a first for George, Ian & me.
On the way home we did a very important photo shoot in front of this sign.
Ian was the chief actor, George was the videographer, & I provided the laugh line. Ian was promoting Tillie Endurable hats.
It's really Ian's story to tell.

George learning to be cameraman.
George & I thought maybe he should do a similar promotion for his Silly Adorable, to be developed.

Tillie Endurable & Silly Adorable being modeled.

 The Dempster Highway is 770 km. long. It's all built on tundra & permafrost so it's a miracle of 500 miles of roadway. In places the road has to be built on 6 meters of rock & gravel. It's not a good thing is the tundra gives way &/or if the permafrost melts.
This is the only road in Canada open year round going to the Arctic Ocean.
The founding of Inuvik happened in the 50s. It looked like Aklavik to the northwest might not survive as a settlement, for a variety of reasons, so there was motivation to find a new place for the people there to resettle.
The combination of a military base, oil exploration, & needs of people for better living conditions lead to the choosing of a site for Inuvik. Now the people who live there are Meti, Inuvialuit, Dene & a mix of surprising peoples from away. There is a Nigerian priest, some Muslims, & others who are not aboriginal people.

Coming towards the town we were awash in yellowing birches...

...and the first telephone poles in 770 kms!...

Here are my first impressions....
...a plane [not plain] weather vane!!....
...newer buildings...

...& older structures..
It was hard to tell sometimes if a structure was in use or abandoned.

This is the prettiest structure in the village-- Our Lady of Victory Church. I was so sorry I didn't get inside the building.

Many of the cars had mud patina on them. By this time ours did too. This is not a walking community. Pedestrians were rare.
I could comfortably walk around in a fleece jacket & hat.

One of the huge surprises of going so far north in early September was that there was vastly more sunlight there--longer days-- than in Vancouver. (The sun was coming up at 6:30 or so & going down at 9:30.) In Inuvik they are loosing 8 minutes of daylight each day right now & Vancouver is only loosing 3. It all evens out on September 23, pretty well with almost equal day & night in each place. Then Inuvik races 8 minutes/day loss-of-light till they get to 30 days of polar night around December 21, and Vancouver continues it's daylight decline but with way less drastic light-losses.

I was also surprised to learn that they have 56 days of continuous daylight, but only 30 of continuous darkness. Hmmm, another thing to figure out!

One night I went out for a walk. We were close to the Super Full Moon time.

Welcome to the Western Arctic, indeed!

I was so surprised to see such tall trees. I thought maybe we'd be above the earth's treeline, but no.

These covered pipes below going between houses & into them are called utiladors. The water & sewage lines cannot be built underground because of permafrost, and sewage treatment is carefully managed to avoid contamination of water.
This gave me new things to mull over when I think of all the First Nations communities in Canada that live perpetually under boil-water-orders. I want to ask more questions about all that.

This house is likely sagging because of permafrost problems. Cheerful house colors are important.

Up at the gas station before going south again...
....note cost of gas....

....our car's patina... "We have road cred now," Ian said.

And finally a marvelous map from our hotel lobby that sums up some of my mental shift as a result of the trip...

It's not accurate in variety of ways, mapman George says, but so wonderful. I love being able to see Cape Cod & Olympia on it.

That's it for now.


  1. Thank you my mom. That was really nice to review.

    Your statistics about days of day versus days of night made me think about the end of the movie Yes...something about if there is any Yes, than it can't be No. Light is sort of like that too.

  2. fabulous slide show and I love the fantastic map at the end - makes me giddy!