Exhausted but STOKED!
Arrived in Pangnirtung Fjord last eve, after crossing Baffin Island, 5 long, cold winter days after leaving the island of Qikiqtarjuaq, dragging all of my gear and supplies with me! This is my 9th crossing of Baffin Island, but the first time I left from Qikiqtarjuaq on foot. It’s been a longtime goal of mine to do a solo January expedition up here, in a place I love so much. My goal was to push as hard as I could, and I got from the island community of Qikiqtarjuaq across the sea ice and onto Baffin Island by the end of day 2. Winds were intense for days, the sun rarely rose high enough for me to see it, and temperatures plummeted tremendously on days 3 and 4. The terrain for the first 2 days was amazing, hardpack and windswept ice, but the cold temperatures reduced glide for my sled, and hampered my progress. By the time I reached the Pass, the terrain shifted to little snow, and mostly sand, ice and rocks which gouged a hole in my sled. I had to haul my sled over boulders and a landscape that appeared more Desert then Arctic. The constant headwinds kicked up dust and the little snow that was there, reducing visibility. As mentioned in my previous post, constant icing up of my goggles left me with using face covering to keep the frost bite at bay, but my eyes took the brunt of it! Check last photo- the price of going after this dream 😅!!!
But on the flip side- once the wind was at my back on Summit Lake, the views were SPECTACULAR!!! Well worth the effort of reaching the high point of the Pass…those are the rewards that I find make it so, so worth the effort. Those incredible memories of a January sky in the Canadian Arctic …. super crisp with a ‘heavy’ cold feeling…almost three dimensional.
I arrived in Pangnirtung Fjord and got geared up for the last KMs up the fjord, and was greeted by my old friends Peter and Matt on snowmobiles who had come to assist our photo team 30km behind me in the mountains on their own snowmobile expedition (awesome story for future post!)
I was so happy to see Peter- I already felt amazing and was on a high, but to get to cruise into town on his snowmachine and stop to check out the stars halfway through the 20 minute ride was a perfect wrap up to one of my proudest adventure achievements! Our greatest adventures are the ones that we are most passionate about- those places and adventures we all dream about. We are all capable of achieving extraordinary things in our lives, the first step is believing you can make it happen. 👊 More to come! These 📸 Natalia Gubareva