16 Jul Leaving Aulavik
Slept in this morning. After the really late night yesterday my body needed it, and it felt good.
Today is time to recharge, backup footage and write some more journals. The plane is coming tomorrow, and the first leg of my expedition up here is winding down. We are in position to relax a bit now and reflect, as we are just a few hundreds yards away from where the plane will land. It’s been almost 2 weeks, and there’s a lot to absorb.
With dinner about to begin, I pull out an offering that has lain hidden deep in my dry sac for the entire trip: my wife Janet’s “special bag”. Spread out onto the back of the canoe, it’s a celebratory selection, including a small bottle of wine, some Bailey’s, fine cheese and crackers, a nice stick of pepperoni, Werther’s originals candy and some fruit and nut chocolate bars. We indulge in some of the finer things in life in one of the wildest places on earth. It’s a great combo, made all the better by the camaraderie between us all.
Our final dinner together on the Thomsen River is a satisfying time. Carl, Anthony, Ryan and I – a group of 4 individuals that have come together with varying goals and aspirations for this trip – have worked together in unity and have each been enriched by this time in the wild in our own way.
In addition to beginning a number of new paintings and sketches along the way for my decade long collection-in-the-making, I have once again felt the awe of the Arctic. And yes, I think we have the beginnings of what may become one of my best films yet. But aside from the satisfaction of accomplishing those goals, I will be taking home much more. I have once again felt the power of nature, and have taken time to set aside everything and soak it in. I’ve breathed in the fresh air and felt the Arctic wind against my face, encountered beautiful creatures on their own terms, felt the strain of the paddle, and the pack on my back, bringing to life muscles in a way that cannot be experienced back in civilization. And I’ve felt tiny and humbled by the vastness that surrounds me up here.
We savour the endless sun one more time, sleep, pack down camp and paddle down river a few more stokes to the patch of tundra where the plane will land. By early afternoon, we are looking out the window once again, taking in the view of the landscape below with new eyes, and leave with memories etched in our minds for a lifetime.