Trail Dispatch – Rest Day at the Outpost Camp



music.jpg Coordinates: 65.17.23 N, 67.11.76 W
Distance Traveled: 0 mi/ 0 km
Temperature: -12 °F/ -24 °C
Wind: 10-20 MPH / 16-32 KPH
Cloud Cover: Overcast with light snow
Sunrise: 6:25 a.m.
Sunset: 4:56 p.m.


What a treat to sleep in! Nancy and I turned off our alarms and put in ear plugs before going to sleep late last night (surrounded by dogs staked out on all sides).
We took our time in the morning, sipping our hot cocoa, snacking on chocolate pieces and repairing the holes in our liner gloves. Sometime close to 10 a.m. we wandered up the hill to the rustic guest house where Will and Theo were sleeping. Drying lines were strung up from one end to another. Sleeping bags, pads, jackets, socks, boots, and mittens hung from all corners of the long narrow room. Our gracious hosts, all members of the Pitsiulak family, came to call soon after, inviting us up for lunch at noon.

 

The Outpost Camp is a small but vibrant oasis in the middle of frozen rock and ice. The main house sits on a hill over looking a cluster of small shacks, boats and dogs stretched out on the narrow inlet below. Lypa and Annie Pitsiulak have lived here for over 30 years, raising their family on the land. Their children and grandchildren fill their roomy one-story home, breathing life and color into the barren winter landscape.

Lunch in the Pitsiulak home is an Arctic meat-lovers dream come true: char (iqaluk), caribou (tuktu), and ring seal (natsiq). Simon, Lukie, and Theo couldn’t be happier. Nancy and I, having been vegetarians for years, are somewhat more tentative, but proceed to try some of everything with an open mind. We both enjoy our meals, Nancy preferring the caribou and I the char. Lypa makes a toast before the meal, welcoming Inuit and non-Inuit alike into his home and commending us on our efforts to educate the public on Inuit culture and the changing Arctic environment. He finishes with a prayer for the meal and wishes for safe travels on our way to Pangnirtung.

We adjourn to the living room with light blue walls and comfy couches. Annie gives us a tour of the family photos placed around the room. There is a gorgeous loon skin hung on the wall, a walrus skull with ivory tusks on the shelf and a polar bear skull taken from a hunt several years ago. Over the door hangs an antique spyglass used by Lypa’s father at the turn of the century. It is only a few moments before Lypa pulls out his red Horner accordian and begins to play. Soon we are all tapping along, his grandson, Gordon, playing percussion on the spoons. We linger for several hours, admiring Lypa’s world renowned soap stone carvings, as well as those of several of his children and grandchildren.

Simon Playing the Accordian 848.42 Kb

It is hard to tear ourselves away from the cozy interior, but duty calls and we obey. There are sled runners to plane, food to sort, fuel bottles to fill, and repairs to be made. We will stay another night here, maybe tomorrow as well, and consider ourselves lucky to be in such fine company.

Ka ou pa tah oo (see you tomorrow),
Abby

 

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