Inuvik to Tuktoyatuk to Dawson City
Aug 15, 2018
|Inuvik is a town of approximately 3500 to 3800 people. It is mostly Inuit. The town is spread out alon the Mackenzie River. Because of permafrost utilities including sewage are in utilidors....metal tubing....that snake between buildings and off the ground. There are 3 streets that run the length of the town with interconnecting streets. One is a town bypass. There is a round white church with a cross on top. It does tours at 6.30p Mon. Wed. and Fri. The Community Greenhouse does tours at 5.30p Mon. Wed and Fri.. At 2.30p there is a tour of the satellite station. We missed all 3.
However we did visit North Mart...a general store. 4 liters of milk is over $12....just a bit of a shock. Besides groceries there is a take-out restaurant with KFC among other things. There is also clothing and souvenirs.
We also visited the Inuit co-op that sells souvenirs. We were disappointed in the selection as there are no soapstone sculptures, Inuit dolls, parkas etc. There was t-shirts, caps, some expensive jewellery and jackets.
On Tues. Gord switched the bikes to the front of the vehicle. This required some welding.....at Bob's Welding. It is a small shop on a back street. He was too busy to weld but Gord could go ahead....which he did. I knit. At 12p everyone went for lunch leaving the shop open. Gord finished his work. We had lunch. At 1p the workers dribbled back. No charge...Gord had done the work.
We were off to explore. We had little time as I went to an earring making workshop. We checked out Moe's Gifts. Gord bought stickers. It was mostly cards and things made in China.
At the workshop an Inuit lady gave us a thin strip of moosehide. We dampened it so it was pliable, wrapped it around a skewer, cut it in half, threaded beads, added the moosehide spiral at one end and an earring hook at the other. It was then sprayed with laquer. Neat.
After we went back to North Mart and bought mitts and a toque. It was miserable out. The high was +5 with a cold blowing wind and spitting rain.
However after we went back to the campground...Happy Valley...had a snack, we were able to walk to the Friendship Center for the ITK festival. Here we listened to awards and speeches, were fed Inuit specialities...seal meat, arctic char seviche, muktuk and dried whitefish. All tasted fishy. The ham served was soft and moist as was the turkey. Caesar salad, scalloped potatoes and mashed potatoes and mixed veggies were also included. Trifle was dessert. All was free.
It was such a beautiful evening that we walked through town taking pics before going back to the campsite....spotlessly clean campground.
In the morning with the sun high in the sky we headed north to Tuk. It is 144 kms...a 3-4 hour drive. After the first 10 kms of potholes, the road was good grade gravel built high above tundra. However about 1/2 way the road softens, is rutted in spots, washed out along the edge and slow going for 30 kms. Basically the ground is flat with little lakes...some thaw lakes and others reversing delta. We saw little of the Mackenzie Delta...we were too far inland. We did see pingos....hills of ice pushed up by permafrost.
As we approached Tuk, we saw Park's Canada pingo across the delta. The only way to get to it is by boat. Hmmm. But there are pingos everywhere IF you know what to look for...any unusual hill. There are 2 in Tuk.
Unfortunately as you approach Tuk the first thing you see is the dump...no fence! Then you see the neatly spread out houses, the closed warehouses that were once operated by oil companies. There are 2 restaurants...The End of the Road and Grandma's Kitchen. The latter does take-out only.
At The Point is a campground with no services...and no protection from the wind....and a C-shaped stretch of land protecting Tuktoyatuk Bay. On the other side is the Arctic Ocean. I dipped my toes in...despite the cold.
After lunch we went to The Fur Shop, Stanton's and North Mart to look at souvenirs. They were expensive. A little flat piece of rock with a walrus with ivory tusks was $80...reduced from $105. No Inuit dolls but ootpiks...again expensive.
We were fortunate to see inside a peat block house with a stove. It is being 'renovated' to resemble those of the past. It was cozy inside.
After we found a pingo with a path up it and walked to the top. We had a grand view out over the rounded E-shaped town.
As it was barely 2.30p we drove back to Inuvik. As in the morning we saw tundra swans and flocks of greater white-footed geese on lakes. Unfortunately we missed the tours of both the greenhouse and the Inuit church.
The next morning we were on the road going south by 7.15a. We stopped at Campbell Lake to see the reverse lake. Silt has built up almost cutting the lake in half. This lake is affected by the Mackenzie River.
At 10a we caught the ferry across the Mackenzie. We drove across to Fort Macpherson and stopped for coffee. The restaurant had closed 4 years ago.
We continued on to the infamous Peel River. The ferry had just cast off. It reversed and picked us up. The approaches were greatly improved.
Under sunny skies we started the climb up into the Richardsons. The wind was howling. Gord was having a hard time keeping the van on the road. Just before the summit we found a truck with a bent box and its camper at right-angles to it on the road. No people were around. After stopping we went on.
Just around the corner vehicles were pulled off and stopped. Everyone was watching 2 grizzles just up the mountain. Two campers turned around. We looked and continued on down the mountain. We checked out Rock Creek campground, stopped at the place where the Mad Trapper was shot and drove to Eagle Plains where we spent the night.
It was raining the next a.m. as we started off. The road was slippery and the clouds low. By the time we reached Ogilvie Ridge, the clouds had lifted and the sun was trying to shine. We had lunch at Engineer Creek and went on to Tombstone Campground as Dawson City Days was in full swing.
The next day with sun in the skies we drove out. We met Peter just heading in and stopped to talk. After we went on in to Dawson, saw the end of the parade, had lunch at the Downtown Hotel, shopped and did a laundry at the Dawson City RV campground where we spent the night.