Trail Dispatch – A closer look at Lukie

LUKIE.jpg Coordinates: N 66. 09.00, W 66. 19.00
Distance Traveled: 24 mi/ 37km
Temperature: -15 °F/ -26°C
Wind: 35 MPH/ 56KPH
Cloud Cover: Clear skies
Sunrise: 6:08 a.m.
Sunset: 5:04 a.m.


All night long we heard the wind on the tent and felt the sides pressing in on us. It was certainly cozy to be snuggled in our sleeping bags. 5:45 a.m. rolled around, however, and we had to wake up and face the day. The winds were intimidating and our bivy sacks blew horizontally as we carried them to the sled.

Visibility was limited due to blowing snow on the ground. Way up ahead of us, we could barely make out the shape of Lukie’s sled through the snowy haze. He and Theo were alternating running and riding behind their dogs. Tonight I finally caught up with Lukie in the tent that he shares with Simon. I was able to talk with him a bit about what brought him to the expedition, while Simon so graciously translated.

Lukie, in his mid-sixties, is a model of athleticsm and endurance. He manages his sled and team with agility and determination. In a group, Lukie is quiet with a warm smile. We communicate with him mainly through Theo and Simon, as he does not speak much English. I enjoyed the chance to sit down with Lukie tonight and hear more of his personal story.

Nancy: What was it like when you were a child?

Lukie: I lived in a camp outside of Iglulik with my family until I was 25. There were about 20 of us, my family and a couple other families as well. I lost my mother when I was nine. I went to school a couple days here, a couple days there. Not very much. We grew up pretty traditionally and I learned dogteaming from my father. I have only had one ‘real’ job in my life and that was as a carver for a while.

Nancy: Tell me about your life now.

Lukie: I am married to Marie and have 10 children.

Nancy: Have you observed any evidence of climate change in your lifetime?

Lukie: Ever since I was young there was a glacier near our camp that I always used to go to. Now it is receding when it used to be stable. Also, when we spent time in Iglulik as a kid there was a lake there where we got our water. Now that lake has dried up and there is no more lake.

Nancy: Do you have any advice for kids these days?

Lukie: I want them to get a job and to do some good things and not just watch TV and get boozed and doped up.

Nancy: What made you decide to join this expedition?

Lukie: I have always wanted to do a long trip by dogsled and when I was asked to do this I was very excited at the chance.

lukie_marie.jpg It was a successful travel day. The skiing was easy. The dogs did well.The northern lights are beautiful tonight, stretching from east to west in pale green and red. We are hoping to make it to Pangnirtung tomorrow. We’ll see what the new day brings….





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