Baffin Island Backpacking: Across the Arctic Circle in Photos
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
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
Dinner the first night – notice how many clothes Natalie our guide is wearing
Juxtaposition of sand on the moraines and ice
An ice covered Crater Lake
Hikers looking for a way across the river
A wet Day 2 – rather demoralizing at the beginning of a trip
Our first river crossing – and a snap compared to other years
A small tarn above Windy Lake is bathed in sunshine on Day 3
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
Looks like some interesting scenery ahead
My share of the food to carry
Michele doing dishes; it was a good way to warm up your hands
Me – probably looking for a rock to rest my load
Guys being guys on big rocks
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
My husband John testing his balance
Dessert one 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 – 1675 meters
The Mt. Thor emergency shelter
The Arctic hare is one of the few living things we saw regularly
Leaving our Mt. Thor camp
Always dwarfed by the landscape
Close-up of Mt. Thor
And yet another scene with the dominant Mt. Thor in it
There’s still ice in the Weasel River near Summit Lake
Hikers making their way to Summit Lake
Great view of Mt. Thor from a distance
Some sort of wild willow I think
Wildflowers – type??
Wild looking clouds around the mountains
Summit Lake marks the high point in Akshayuk Pass
Could you see yourself backpacking across the Arctic Circle on Baffin Island?
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