Canada
Inuvik Region

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    • Day 86

      Dempster Highway part 4

      July 22, 2022 in Canada ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

      Inuvik ist deutlich größer und fortgeschrittener als Tuktoyaktuk. Inuvik hat etwa 3200 Einwohner. Ein bekanntes Fotomotiv ist die Kirche von Inuvik, welche die Form eines großen Iglus hat. Leider ist sie verschlossen und so können wir sie nur von außen bewundern. In Inuvik gibt es auch eine Moschee und zwar die am nördlichsten gelegene der ganzen Welt.
      Eine Gemeinschaft aus Bewohnern der Stadt Inuvik hat sich zur Aufgabe gemacht ein Gewächshaus zu betreiben. Hier werden Gemüsekisten an die Bewohner von Inuvik verkauft und sie bieten regelmäßig Führungen an. Leider sind wir zur falschen Uhrzeit dort, denn die Führungen finden immer abends statt, wir dürfen aber am Nachmittag einen Blick hinein werfen und haben Glück, denn vom heutigen Verkauf sind ihnen Kräuter übrig geblieben, die wir ihnen wohlwollend abkaufen.
      Nachdem wir nun auch einen langen Rückweg bis nach Dawson City haben, müssen wir unsere Fahrt heute fortsetzen. 740km Fahrt liegen vor uns. Wir hätten nicht gedacht, dass dieser Trip in den Norden so fordernd sein wird. Teilweise mussten wir bei der Rückfahrt die Geschwindigkeit auf 30-40km/h reduzieren und selbst dann schaukelte es wild hin und her. Bei Gegenverkehr fuhren wir oft rechts an den Rand, damit die Steine, die im Hohen Bogen durch die Luft fliegen nicht unsere Windschutzscheibe zerstören. Später passiert dann aber das Unvermeidliche. Ein Stein erwischt uns und wir haben erneut einen Steinschlag auf der Windschutzscheibe. Und dies sollte nicht der letze sein. In Whitehorse müssen wir wohl wieder eine Werkstatt aufsuchen.
      Die Nacht verbringen wir auf halber Strecke in Eagle Plains. Wir gönnen uns an der Hotelbar zwei kleine Bier vor dem Schlafen gehen. Hätten wir wohl lieber auf die Getränkekarte geschaut und nicht einfach bestellt. Für zwei kleine Bier werden uns fast 20 Euro abgenommen. Schweizer Preise hier im hohen Norden.
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    • Day 7

      Hunter John

      August 26, 2023 in Canada ⋅ ☁️ 14 °C

      Für den heutigen Morgen hatte sich unser Eventmanager Mischa was ganz besonderes ausgedacht. An Weiterfahrt war nicht zu denken, weil ein Hinterrad von unserem Pickup einen platten hatte. Naja, nicht ganz, aber vom benötigten Druck von ca. 80psi waren nur noch 44psi drauf. Bei einer Bettelrunde über den Campground erbarmte sich der Hunter John, uns einen Kompressor zu borgen. Nur handtaschengroß gab er trotzdem alles und nach fast einer Stunde hatte er es doch tatsächlich geschafft, den Reifen wieder hoch zu pumpen.

      Blieb die Frage, wie das passieren konnte und wie wir damit umgehen. Zurück nach Dawson City, wo Infrastruktur für Reparaturen zu erwarten war? Vorwärts zum Arctic Ocean, wo unklar ist, ob irgendwelche Hilfe zur Verfügung steht? Nachdem uns John noch einen alten Kompressor überließ, war die Entscheidung klar. Hatten wir ja trotzdem noch unser Ersatzrad. Schließlich wollten wir Abenteuer, jetzt haben wir es.
      Passend dazu fuhren wir den Tombstone Territorial Park und genossen die wunderbare Aussicht.

      Später wurde Engenieer Creek Campground zum Tagesziel erkoren, um dort ein weiteres Event abzuhalten. Nachdem wir auf einem Standplatz komplett aufgebaut hatten, bauten wir zugunsten eines viel schöneren Standplatzes nochmals um. Belohnt wurden wir mit einem zauberhaften Platz am Ufer mit Blick auf den Mount Rushmore mit Jefferson, Lincol, Karl Marx und Donald Trump. Wir hören Lynyrd Skynyrd mit Big wheels keep on turnin'
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    • Day 566

      Flying over ice

      March 30, 2019 in Canada ⋅ ☀️ -1 °C

      This spring brought another exciting opportunity for me. I got to head West to work out over the sea ice of the Amundsen Gulf. I've not done much out on the sea ice so all the things the pilots and other, more experienced folks, take for granted was new to me.

      When flying, one takes some things quite for granted. For example, as a passenger on a jet, you don't often think about the fuel or calculations being made to make sure your plane has enough full, but not too much, to make it to its destination. Then, you expect that all the weather systems are well in hand and it's all safe to go when they herd you down the jet bridge. You don't have to worry too much about the loo, because 99% of the time, voila!, one is there on the plane for you! Even stocked with toilet paper most times. You may not even think of the luxury of having at least two engines. That's a real treat because if one fails, the pilot can typically land the bird safely. All while you're sipping your ginger ale (which I believe must have their highest consumption on planes cause let's be honest...who drinks ginger ale when they're NOT on a plane. No one..), someone somewhere is tracking your little dot moving across the sky.

      Enter helicopter flying in the Arctic.
      Single engine. In this case, every morning and every night, the pilot checked that engine for us all. He put the machine to bed by covering up the engine with a blanket so that it didn't freeze and get ice inside which would down us. Cold temps require a filter be on all the engines to prevent ice crystals in the fuel from entering the engine and causing failure.

      Then, there's the weather. Oh, the weather. There are no weather stations or radar reports for these areas. There is only, if you're lucky, some eyes-on-the-ground reporting from community airports sometimes hundreds of miles away. There are forecasts, but without the weather stations to inform the forecasting, their predictions are general and often not reliable (at least compared to south of the Arctic). There are apps that we use to look at winds around the area because winds can change drastically from one area to the next.....all of which we fly in. Winds can bring fog rushing in if there is open water. On the sea ice, there are often no distinguishing features for a pilot to use to navigate, such as trees, rocks, outcroppings, or buildings. Nothing. It's flat. And white. And when it's cloudy or foggy, it's flat white. Which is what will make your backside squeeze really tight while you stay quiet and cool realizing that if you crash, it will likely be fast and hard so it's all good.

      Fuel you ask? Oh that's brought in by plane to coordinates provided by the pilot or researcher weeks or months before. How do you know it's actually there, exactly where the plane company said they'd unloaded your helicopter lifeblood? Oh, cause they told you so. Trust them, right?? You don't truly know until you fly over and see for yourself. There are no refueling stations. Just 55 gallon drums of fuel sitting on the tundra at some coordinate for you to find and use. Because time is money, we don't fly in to these locations to fuel with an hour left of fuel on board. No, the pilot leaves himself/herself some wiggle room, but not much, to search for the fuel and land. So, when we can't find it, shit gets real tense real quick. Did I mention the fuel pump has both a water filter and particulate filter to make sure that no water, which may have leaked into a compromised drum, or particulates, get into the helicopter engine? Water in an working engine = engine stops working. (remember, we only have one engine...and we're in the arctic in polar bear country.....no one wants water in their fuel!).

      We are actually quite lucky and privileged in recent years to benefit from amazing GPS navigation technologies. Most recently, within the last 2-4 years, the Garmin inReach devices have hit the market. I think they have revolutionized the game. Anywhere, anytime, you can message anyone in the world. Those on the outside world, tracking our helicopter and the weather, can send messages alerting us to major weather situations that we may need to be aware of. This is critical because before, there was some sat phone usage, but you had to call from a phone and they are very difficult and cumbersome to use while flying. Additionally, every time you send a message on the InReach, it attaches your location. Thus, we have the helicopter's on-board GPS signal and the InReach device to help make sure we are located if there is an emergency. Having multiple ways to send distress signals brings great peace of mind. We also have survival gear in the helicopter. Sometimes you just can't get through the weather and you have to wait it out. I haven't had to do this, but most pilots, have at some point, had to land and wait for better weather. You want to be prepared.

      After all of that, and making sure all the safety equipment is working, the pilot has to keep us safe while flying for hours and hours per day. Every landing on uneven snowy surfaces where snow blows up and obscures his vision. Every landing on ice to pick up data. And every chase, extremely low to the ground, to snag a sample from an animal. What could possibly go wrong?
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    • Day 13

      We survived the Dempster Highway

      September 22, 2021 in Canada ⋅ 🌧 2 °C

      Our plan was to drive up the famous Dempster Highway, over 400 km gravel road, with the goal to reach the Arctic Circle.
      We thought we would do that trip in around 4 days, because of stunning landscapes and you should bring time to do some stops, little hikes or just enjoy the view.
      Unexpectedly, mother nature crossed our way and dumped 1 ft of snow on us. Our drive turned out to a little adventure with lots of snowy, icy , slushy and muddy road.
      So we had to rush it and made it to the Arctic Circle and back in just two days, before the conditions and storm gets worse...
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    • Day 32

      Heading Back

      June 20, 2022 in Canada ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

      The trip back was quicker, until we reached the Ogilvie mountains. On our way up this mountain range was sopped in with rain. Although the weather wasn’t perfect we did get a chance to see what we missed the first time through.Read more

    • Day 22

      Tracking the Majestic Moose

      June 10, 2022 in Canada ⋅ ☁️ 5 °C

      We had been on the trail to see our first moose. We finally spotted a large butt meandering into the bush, definitely a moose. Not 2km later we saw the one in the video.

      PS: Renée had the exact same experience, first a moose butt then a few kms away a moose crossing the road.Read more

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    Inuvik Region

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