My Trip to Iqaluit: Day 6 (old hudson bay buildings on the apex trail)

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In the homestretch of my visit to Iqaluit, we went on a little hike along the apex trail. There is something very “Canadiana” about the whole idea. There is also something really special of literally walking through our backyard and right to the ocean side, and onto the apex trail.

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Since it was the morning after our camping trip, things moved a little more slowly as we enjoyed hot coffee, warm breakfast, and creature comforts like clean clothes. Soon, we packed some basic supplies and were off.

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The trail itself couldn’t have taken more than an hour, but it was all on the side of the drop-off to the ocean. Incredibly scenic, and fun to walk over boulders and soft tundra ground cover.

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It wasn’t long before the old Hudson Bay buildings were in view. The distinct, red roofs are visible even across the bay. These buildings mark the origins of Iqaluit. The buildings moved its south Baffin headquarters to the apex beach from Ward Inlet in 1943. The original Ward Inlet site opened in 1914.

20140826_iqaluitapex (2 of 15)Esker’s seen it before, so she wasn’t all too interested.

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Now, the Hudson’s Bay buildings are up for rent as townhouse, though the main building is boarded up. As an outsider, it’s hard to understand why these aren’t the most in-demand apartments to live in. Like anything else, these buildings seem so significant to me, and yet, they are simply part of this community’s backdrop.

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The clouds rolled in and it was a wet walk back, followed by a hot meal. Later that night we saw beautiful, dancing, Northern Lights take over the sky. I wasn’t nearly equipped enough to take photos, which requires a lot more darkness than I was able to achieve, as well as a tripod (which I didn’t pack).

Still. Hiking along the arctic ocean. Old Hudson’s Bay trading posts. Northern Lights. It was a good day to be in Iqaluit.

My Trip to Iqaluit: Day 4 (the day i almost die in the arctic ocean)

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All photos in this post are courtesy of my good friend Brad. You can find him at My Home in Toronto.

“Almost die” is a tremendous overstatement. “A lie,” even. But for the sake of suspense, I’ll let it stand.

If my trip to Iqaluit was a musical score, day four was the crescendo. For months I’ve known that we had chartered a couple boats for an epic camping trip while we were up north. What I didn’t know is that the boats were a couple Zodiac boats–the type where you perch yourself precariously on the edge and hold on to a rope. Funny. I pictured a yacht.

Luckily, the group that we had chartered showed up with survival suits in hand. I stepped in and zipped up the suit (recently,while looking through pictures, a family friend noted that I wasn’t actually “zipped up” properly, thus rendering the survival suit obsolete. Rookie move.)

201408_iqaluitcamping (4 of 15)“Perfect, at least I’m protected from the cold,” I muttered loud enough that one of the women handing out the suits could hear.

“If you fall in to the arctic ocean, you can die within, like, two minutes.” I starred at her, and then at the ropes along the bow. I tugged them gingerly to assess their sturdiness.

Discovering Sir John Franklin's lost ship. Topical humour!After the initial panic wore off, it was a really amazing trip out of Frobisher Bay and around to Peter’s Head Inlet. A hearty wind kicked up rough waters, and I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t white-knuckling the ropes. The boat trip lasted about forty minutes, and we stopped off to a national park for a quick tour before getting back on the boats and making our way Peter’s Head Inlet, where we were dropped off at 10 a.m. to be picked up the next day at 6 p.m.

201408_iqaluitcamping (9 of 15)This is camping at its best: There were no complicated matrices of rows and lots, no designated “lot 65”, and no $35 per night fee. Just open space, beautiful tundra, and quiet exploration. We found a beautiful spot only ten minute hike uphill from where our bags were dropped. It was beside a beautiful stream, overlooking the bay where the tide rolled in and out.

201408_iqaluitcamping (6 of 15)I was told that Iqaluit sees the second largest tides in the world, next to another Canadian landmark, the Bay of Fundy. I don’t know if that’s true.

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I have some beautiful photos to share from day 5. Until then, friends.