- April 2005 400-mile, twenty-two day round trip from
Inuvik to Liverpool Bay (Amundsen Gulf)
in Canada’s western Arctic.
We’d covered 3,000 training
miles as spring followed a hectic, difficult winter. I’d
been every step of the way with my dogs. To rub it in I’d
slugged out a twice-daily personal training routine accumulating
2,000 running miles alone in four winter months mostly over
the frozen Mackenzie River in the polar dark, often at forty
below zero. I’d given it my all to get my dogs to this
point. We were in very good shape and I was determined our training
year would finish with a journey.
What follows is an account of that 400-mile 22-day journey.
The destination wasn’t important but distance travelled
over a specific time with an 800 lb payload was. I wanted
to evaluate and determine dogs I take forward for 2006. I
decided to start out from the Inuit community of Tuktoyaktuk,
a hundred miles from our winter training ground. Tuk’
looks out to the Beaufort Sea. By November 1st this stretch
of the Arctic Ocean freezes. I’ve made several journeys
on the Beaufort Sea. This time I chose to cross a little tundra
and head into Liverpool Bay. Amundsen sailed past here after
discovering the Northwest Passage. Polar bears tend to kill
what they please in this region, always dodgy, since to them
I’m nothing but a vertical seal.