by Mike Reimer, Churchill Wild
I’d like to say once again that man has prevailed against the brutal ravages of our Arctic wilderness, but that would be stretching it a little. We were blessed with beautiful weather (only -15C), perfect snow and ice conditions and no breakdowns — a real treat but almost a bit of a yawner.
Nothing quite beats the excitement of feeling the ice sag under your load knowing you’re a split second away from a heart pounding disaster or madly shoveling snow on to a burning engine, but alas it was not to be.
We managed to get all the windows, lumber and the new generator hauled safely over the sea ice to Dymond Lake Lodge. A fair bit of firewood was also cut and hauled in by snowmobile, though the deep snow played havoc with walking in the bush. That would be waist deep for Mike or chest deep for Kevin!
Nolan and Mike “escaped” from wood cutting one afternoon and zipped up to Seal River to check the Lodge there and make sure no polar bears were lounging on the couches. The ride across the sea ice of Hudson Bay is spectacular at this time of the year and we even spotted a few seals hauled up near open leads.
We also ran into Thomas Kudlik and his brother camped out in an igloo on the Bay. They were dogsledding from Churchill to Arviat in honour of their father, who passed away last winter. We felt that a 300 km trek across the sea ice was a pretty ambitious under taking at their ages of 61 and 67 respectively, but they seem to build those Inuks a little tougher then us white guys!
I’m not sure our cat train team of Nolan Booth, Riley Friesen, Kevin Brightnose and Jarrett O’Conner would tolerate having to build a snow house for the night after a long day of hauling and wood cutting. But if they had to they could!
Jarrett O’Conner and his snow machine, which has now be tagged with the appropriate name of Conan, put on an inspiring display of superb driving skills, utilizing all that great power and showing off the amazing capabilities of his cool ride. I think I want one!
Everyone returned safe and sound with a nice Arctic suntan…
From the neck up!