Tuesday, March 19, 2013

frozen ocean hike

We decided to go on another weekend hike. This time we decided to walk along the coastline, right on the waters of the Arctic Ocean itself. It's all frozen this time of the year (and really, most times of the year), but it's still kind of cool to remember that technically, you're kind of walking on water.

This time we were dressed quite warmly.  Generally, it takes about five minutes just to get dressed to go outside. Snowpants, jacket, neckwarmer, hat, gloves, hood...Usually I end up completely covered except for the eyes. Like a ninja.  But I'm not stealth, like a ninja, because people say hi to me when I walk around. I have no idea how they know it's me. How do you know who someone is, when you can only see their eyes? When people wave, is it because they somehow recognize me, or is it just becaues they're friendly? How come Islamophobes complain that burkas are scary because everything is covered except for the eyes, when that's exactly how everybody goes about, in this part of Canada?

my frosty bearded hiking partner

By now, we've adjusted to the wild cold outdoors.  By the way, if I ever give off the romantic impression that I'm roughing it by living off the land, shunning the city folk, closer to nature....don't believe the hype. I'm living in a climate that is regularly MINUS FIFTY FIVE DEGREES. I'm not roughing nothing; I'm doing everything I can to be comfortable. I'm cranking my electric blanket; I'm blasting the humidifier; I get my water delivered by truck and my sewage carted out by truck (different truck); I'm driving the company car for a distance that technically I can walk in ten minutes. I have my fruits and vegetables flown in by plane. I use a sleep app on my iphone to wake me up at regular hours because I can't rely on the sun to tell the time of day. I spend my evenings playing video game and watching the Republic of Doyle online. If I've got some swagger like  McGyver, it's because I think I've done something clever, like cut my own carrots to make my own carrot sticks.

this is all ocean

Anyway, on our hike we saw some pretty cool things, frozen into the ice. Like boats that had been abandoned for the winter.

And also, sleds full of muskox horns. (oh the random awesomeness of Cambridge Bay)

And...this random stick, sticking out of the ice, way out away from the land.  I'm not sure what the stick was for, but a bunch of animals had marked their territory by peeing on it.

Remember the news story about the icebreaker ships that the Canadian government had sent out to find the shipwreck of the Franklin expeditions? This is one of those ships, just sitting on the ice in Cambridge Bay.

Anyway, it was no six hour hike up a desert mountain where baboons chase you into a crocodile pit while robbing you, but it was a lovely walk.  How many people get to say they've been on a stroll out on the frozen ocean? Well, everyone around here. They do it like all the time. But it still seems pretty cool. Like, minus fifty degrees cool.