Thursday, July 23, 2009

Yukon Trip 2009 - Day 16 - Inuvik

Inuvik, N. W.T.

This view over looking the MacKenzie River was taken from our campsite at 1:30 am on the morning of June 8th. Fog formed some time after that as when we woke up the next morning it was 6c and foggy, but cleared off quickly to be another sunny day.

We took the time that morning to have a real breakfast of bacon, eggs and hash browns. Now this will no doubt horrify you non-dog owners, and maybe a few owners....but Shantz is waiting for the frying pan to cool because the easiest way to clean up the mess created by a bacon and egg breakfast is to give it to a dog to clean up - and then of course wash it good with hot water and detergent - but when you are dealing with small amounts of washing do what works best!

Spotted this male Yellow Warbler while waiting for Ernie to walk Shantz and get ready to leave.

We headed to the visitor center - the whole town is only a few blocks long. The visitor center is at the opposite end of the town from the campground....a distance of about 4 blocks. This was a very modern building, hosted by a very friendly and knowledgeable lady. We picked up our ' Certificate of the Arctic Circle Chapter Order of Adventurers' which we've had laminated and will be joining the certificate we got in 2005 when we visited the main part of the territories. We learned that most of the supplies coming to Inuvik actually come via barge, up the MacKenzie from Hay River. There is a rail line that runs from Edmonton to Hay River - one of the places we visited in 2005.

This is another close up of that soap stone carving that is in front of the visitor center...this one a slightly different angle from the one Ernie took the day before.

These campers were in the parking lot - just to show that we weren't the only tourists and that they actually looked worse than we had when we arrived. We think the fact we left the tail gate on our truck and also had mud flaps helped. While we'd been in the campsite a truck towing a large fifth wheel (not something we'd recommend after doing this trip) arrived and was mud from one end to the other - they too visited a 'car wash' before they could even touch it to open the door!

I guess I should have taken some pictures of the buildings but I just don't feel comfortable pointing cameras at peoples homes and places of business, especially since it was a nice day and everyone seemed to be out and about. We did some shopping...there was one grocery store, a bank, a drug store, a combination book store and Sears catalog outlet and who knew exactly what else. One really nice Hotel caught my eye and I should have taken pictures, but I didn't. Several really nice gift shops that would fit into any fancy mall or shopping area anywhere. We picked up a few souvenirs and then drove down to a park area along the river front. Ernie and Shantz had walked here the evening before. I took this picture from there, looking back at the town...the stores were the next block up from these apartment buildings.

This was the view looking sort of eastward, at the river from the park. At this point we weren't really sure what to do. We'd pretty much seen the town. I would have liked to view the community greenhouse that they have, where residents have in-door garden plots, but even though reading material said it was open to tourists, I couldn't see where and just didn't feel comfortable.

There was another campground just on the other side of the airport - another one that advertised 24 hour security, but we'd seen one about 30 km or so further back along the highway that had looked really nice so decided to head there, after filling up the fuel tank again. This campground, Gwich'n Territorial Park campsite was located on Campbell Lake. Another large lake, and as you can see, still partially ice covered on June 8th. There was a day use area and boat launch right by the lake, which is where I took this picture.

The campground itself was well laid out, with sites along the edges and more in the middle. The weird thing was that there was absolutely nobody there. There was no way to pay but we figured someone would be along eventually to take our money. The washrooms were open and the water was turned on, not that we needed any.

It was a perfect temperature for sitting out in the sun and relaxing, which is exactly what we did. This was the view from the campsite.

This Butterfly caught our attention. It was obviously a Swallowtail, but unlike any we had ever seen - apparently this variety of Swallowtail is only seen in the extreme north.

Since entering the Yukon and especially along the Dempster Highway we had been seeing Gray-cheeked Thrush. They acted very much like Robins, often flying across the highway in front of us, but diving into thick vegetation so it was impossible to get a picture. That evening, this one started singing from the top of some trees opposite our camping spot, so I was finally able to get a picture, albeit a poor one!
In the evening a family came and had a picnic and played on the playground equipment that was in the campground, and then left one came to collect any campground fee and no one else came to camp.
The plan was to try to get to bed fairly early so we could get on the road early the next day to get back to the area of the Yukon/N.W.T. border to look for Northern Wheater.
Campground fee: nil Total distance traveled to date: 4,120 km.

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