Baffin Island Backpacking: Across the Arctic Circle in Photos

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Last week’s introduction to Baffin Island wasn’t a warm one – as far as the temperature was concerned.

And it didn’t really get much better for several days. Fortunately though the scenery did.

"Heading out - on the  beach for starters"

Heading out – on the beach for starters

Our plan was to backpack along the Weasel River to the high point at Akshayuk Pass by Summit Lake. Although distances were short, the hiking was slow because of the 50-60 pound loads we were carrying. Most days we did only 10 or 11 kilometers – a few hours outing if I’m hiking normally in the mountains – but the better part of a day with a load.

Our days fell into a rhythm pretty quickly. Coffee at 7:45, breakfast at 8 and hiking by between 9 and 9:30. We’d stop for lunch around noonish with lots of boulder breaks to rest our bodies along the way. Most days we’d finish between 4 and 5. Then we’d set up the tents. We all had that down to a fine art in a hurry. Inside the roomy tent everything had its place too – or you’d be hunting for stuff all the time.

I’ll give a more detailed report in my next blog but this will give you a taste of Baffin Island scenery – all of it in Auyuittuq National Park. We did use an adventure company – Black Feather – for this trip.

"A view up the Weasel River towards Mount Overlord"

A view up the Weasel River towards Mount Overlord

"dinner the first night"

Dinner the first night – notice how many clothes Natalie our guide is wearing

"Juxtaposition of sand on the moraines and ice "

Juxtaposition of sand on the moraines and ice

"An ice covered Crater Lake"

An ice covered Crater Lake

"Hikers looking for a way across the river"

Hikers looking for a way across the river

"A wet Day 2 - rather demoralizing at the beginning of a trip"

A wet Day 2 – rather demoralizing at the beginning of a trip

"Our first river crossing - and a snap compared to other years"

Our first river crossing – and a snap compared to other years

"A small tarn above Windy Lake is bathed in sunshine on Day 3"

A small tarn above Windy Lake is bathed in sunshine on Day 3

"Tents are dwarfed by the mountains in this landscape"

Tents are dwarfed by the mountains in this landscape

Somewhere around here – we will have crossed the Arctic Circle at a latitude of 66 degrees and 33½ minutes. That means that on June 21st  any point above it has 24 hours of sunlight and on December 21st and point above it has 24 hours of darkness.

"Hardy wildflowers and one of the 97 types of lichen"

Hardy wildflowers and one of the 97 types of lichen

"Looks like some interesting scenery ahead"

Looks like some interesting scenery ahead

"My share of the food to carry"

My share of the food to carry

"Michele doing dishes; it was a good way to warm up your hands"

Michele doing dishes; it was a good way to warm up your hands

"Me - probably looking for a rock to rest my load"

Me – probably looking for a rock to rest my load

"Guys being guys on big rocks"

Guys being guys on big rocks

"Another stream that's a snap to cross - especially when you're wearing neoprene booties"

Another stream that’s a snap to cross – especially when you’re wearing neoprene booties

"Matthew climbing a sandy moraine & probably cursing as his boots are glued together now and sand is his enemy"

Matthew climbing a sandy moraine & probably cursing as his boots are glued together now and sand is his enemy

"My husband John testing his balance"

My husband John testing his balance

"Dessert one night"

Dessert one night

"We had to cache the food far from camp every night"

We had to cache the food far from camp every night

"Heading for the Mt. Thor basecamp. Mt Thor has the highest vertical face of any mountain in the world"

Heading for the Mt. Thor basecamp. Mt Thor has the highest vertical face of any mountain in the world – 1675 meters

"The Mt. Thor emergency shelter"

The Mt. Thor emergency shelter

"The Arctic hare is one of the few living things we saw regularly"

The Arctic hare is one of the few living things we saw regularly

"Leaving our Mt. Thor camp"

Leaving our Mt. Thor camp

"Always dwarfed by the landscape"

Always dwarfed by the landscape

"Mt. Thor"

Mt. Thor

"Close-up of Mt. Thor"

Close-up of Mt. Thor

"And yet another scene with the dominant Mt. Thor in it"

And yet another scene with the dominant Mt. Thor in it

"There's still ice in the Weasel River near Summit Lake"

There’s still ice in the Weasel River near Summit Lake

"Hikers making their way to Summit Lake"

Hikers making their way to Summit Lake

"Great view of Mt. Thor from a distance"

Great view of Mt. Thor from a distance

"Some sort of wild willow I think"

Some sort of wild willow I think

"Wildflowers - type?"

Wildflowers – type??

"Wild looking clouds around the mountains"

Wild looking clouds around the mountains

"Summit Lake marks the high point in Akshayuk Pass"

Summit Lake marks the high point in Akshayuk Pass

Could you see yourself backpacking across the Arctic Circle on Baffin Island?

For more travel inspiration check out the photos of other travel bloggers on Nancie’s Budget Travelers Sandbox website.

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