Jon and I arrived, at last, in the Western Arctic today. I've been annoyingly giddy all day. While a few more people than I thought have been to Inuvik, it is still a truly unique privilege to be here; it feels far... "off-the-grid" even : )
I've always wanted to visit the Arctic. What fascinates me the most about it is the vast expanse of land-water hybrid space. Flying over the Mackenzie Delta was especially revealing of this. Frozen lakes, frozen rivers, frozen roads, frozen land--just a giant assemblage of water, ice, and land--itself layered in various configurations of ice and rock. It all reminds you of a golf course--with no seeming distinction between greens, fairways, bunkers, and rough.
We spent our first afternoon in Inuvik becoming familiar with the town. We found lots of warmth: the warm temperature of the air (-8 and sunny!) and the warm welcome we received at the Aurora Research Institute. Tomorrow and for the rest of the week we'll visit with more people and learn all we can about routes in and out of the region, and the mobilities they enable (and restrict).
And since our primary reason for being here are the ice roads, we simply couldn't resist and already took a drive along the MacKenzie river, and later went for a walk on it too. Here's another pic that Jon took near sunset. By the way, besides plenty of sunshine we get plenty of light. Sun's up at 10:45am and goes to bed at 6pm or so. The sun is so bright I just have to, just have to wear cool shades.