Monday, July 15, 2013

Hiking on Ovayok Road

J and I went hiking out in the tundra last weekend. There aren't very many roads outside Cambridge Bay, but they all make fabulous hiking trails, because it doesn't take you very long to get out into the wilderness.

The hiking route we chose this time was Ovayok Road, which leads all the way to Mount Pelly.  Ovayok is the name of the giant in Inuit legend that starved to death on Victoria Island, with his body then forming Mount Pelly. I know, it's uplifting. You should hear the other folk tales.

We set off on our hike...and so did the mosquitos, who were hungry and eager to accompany us. Unfortunately, the summer season in Nunavut is also mosquito season, and they are ruthless like you wouldn't believe.  I suppose I would be ruthless too if I only had one month to live, and feed.

all covered up to hide from the bugs

We weren't the only ones who had the idea to go out that day.  Every once in a while, we came across families having a picnic, Inuit men going fishing, kids flying kites, or couples going on walks. And no wonder. Other than the mosquitos, it was a beautiful day outside.  The tundra flowers were blooming and the sun was shining.

gone fishing

We came across a wooden bridge that didn't do much to build my sense of confidence. It was rickety, and the boards were spaced far enough apart that you had to watch where you were stepping, or else your feet might slip through and give you the most painful bridge wedgie ever.  I half expected a troll to crawl out from underneath and ask me questions in Patton Oswalt's voice.

Spot the troll

Then we came across another bridge, which looked even sketchier, apparently held up by oil cans. I decided to stop worrying about bridges at this point.

 the cemetery that I had found the last time we had gone for a drive down this road, looking different with all the snow melted.

As we hiked, we came across the ruins of old Inuit campsites.  Long ago, before Cambridge Bay was a town, the area was a fishing/hunting spot that the Copper Inuit people camped at certain times of the year. You can still see some of the places were people used to live. You have to look carefully; what seems like an ordinary rock formation might actually be the base of a campsite.

There was also this odd shaped rock. We didn't know what to make out of it.  A reasonable explanation might be that the glaciers that ran through this place thousands of years ago might have dropped it off here in the middle of the tundra.  I however suspect that hobbits live in it.

I am also not sure what to make of this circular hole in the sand. An effect of the wind? A manmade pit to re-direct floods? Or...communication signals from aliens? Aliens that clearly did not do their research in finding populated areas to contact.

The rest of the walk was incredibly picturesque and varied, shifting abruptly from river scenes to rocky desert to tundra plains. We didn't go all the way to the mountain this time, because it would have been a 30 kilometre trek round trip, but I'm hoping to do it sometime soon - maybe when the bugs aren't so bad.


a sea plane making its way back to the docka