April 11, 2015
They say strange things happen under the midnight sun, in Tuktoyuktuk;
I awoke to someone banging on my door shouting to wake up or we are leaving without you., it was Tyron; I had slept in.
My first thought was that I was going to miss out on the gourmet breakfast the Chef had promised, my second was, why didn’t my phone alarm go off? I quickly dressed into my winter cycling gear, grabbed a handful of granola bars from the kitchen and ran for Tyron’s truck with the Chef right behind me handing off a bacon sandwich like a relay baton. Once in the truck I apologized for holding up the ride, as there were 3 other passengers on board for the Inuvik Airport.
Tyron said it wasn’t my fault as for some reason in this area cell phones switch back and forth from one time zone to the other for no apparent reason, that’s why my alarm didn’t go off.
Big thank you to E Gruben’s Transport,
The wind was picking up as we headed back up the Ice road to my drop off point about 80 km along the Beaufort Sea. Along the way Tyron talked about his son and how he was a great hockey player but with no team to play on or against, he pointed out where his family fishes and hunts whales every summer, Tyron explained that there is no commercial fishery or whale harvest in the area so his family and others from Tuk have a good supply of meat and fish throughout the year.
As we came back onto the McKenzie Delta he showed me a few Pingos off in the distant landscape. Pingos are hills, created from the permafrost heaving upwards during the ground’s annual cycle of freezing and thawing. Tyron figured there to be close to 150 Pingos in the area including the Parks Canada natural Pingo site, https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/lhn-nhs/nt/pingo he said his people use Pingos for spotting animals while hunting and as landmarks when traveling.
We had arrived at my drop off point, one of the passengers helped me unload my bike and install the panniers, I thanked him and commented that I should be in Tuk, ‘the end of the Ice road’ in about 7 hours, his reply was “no Tuk is the start of the Ice road; “you’re going the wrong way”
After 7 hours of battling a relentless head wind, cold and blowing snow and still at least an hour away from my final destination, I was inclined to believe him, like Laval St Germain, http://calgary.ctvnews.ca/alberta-adventurer-returns-from-epic-ride-across-yukon-1.2333009 the Cycling Dutch Girl, https://cyclingdutchgirl.com/2015/04/08/ice-and-the-beauty-of-the-north/ and the Felipe Gomez The Bass Invader after me, http://www.nnsl.com/frames/newspapers/2016-07/jul15_16rd.html Maybe I should have gone the other way. lol
Finally off in the distance, ‘land aho!’ ,,, Tuktoyaktuk was in view just up ahead, wow, a feeling of pride washed over me, I did it, I had done it, peddled my fat bike the length of the Dempster Highway and the McKenzie Ice Road from Inuvik to Tuk! https://www.tuk.ca
I rolled off the ice and onto land, into the hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk looking for the welcome sign, for the mandatory selfy photo, apparently there wasn’t one, so off I went to explore the community and find my hosts at the RCMP detachment.
Tuk pond hockey
Tuktoyaktuk Fire Hall
An hour later after visiting the Fire Hall, watching a one ended hockey game and being chased by a couple of dogs I ended up at the airport and found the one and only welcome to Tuk sign, took the selfy and headed off to meet my hosts at the barracks.
Welcome to Tuktuuyaqtuumukkabsi,,