JOURNALS

Field journals from Cory’s Into The Arctic expeditions.

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11 Jul, 2015 Nicest Day

What a glorious day! The sun has come out in full force at last, driving the temperature up to about 12 degrees celsius. Just as nice, a light wind has stayed with us as well, keeping most of the mosquitoes busy with something other that trying to drill into my skin. The combination is a perfect mixture for something much needed on a trip like this: a bath! It’s not a leisurely activity per se, with a glass of wine, candles and bubbles, but there is nothing quite as refreshing in the wild as that feeling of cold clean from a...

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10 Jul, 2015 HEAD HILL

Up a little early today, at least by this trip’s standards. 9am and we knock back breakfast, load up, and start hiking. Our destination is a bridge about 4 kms away, a place called Head Hill. With an incredible number of muskox skulls and other bones in close proximity, it’s a unique place. No one seems certain why they are there, but I’m told that most of the bones date back to the 1850s. We come close to getting soakers through the wet ground in the first half of the trek, then begin our accent. Not that big a hill...

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09 Jul, 2015 MUSKOX RIVER CAMP

Today is another great day for travel. It’s overcast, cold and windy and we press on down-river. It’s a very short paddling season up here and we’re told the water levels are particularly low this year as well. We’re made aware of this as the canoes scrape bottom through some tricky shallow spots. Again, we pass by another attractive looking painting area, but press on. The weather removes the temptation to stay and paint for a while, as the light is rather flat and there’s no sign of the sun. Thirteen hard-earned kilometres later, we arrive at the confluence of...

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08 Jul, 2015 LAKE TROUT AND PORT

Packed up camp and moved down the river again today. This has been a sweet spot, but there are many places to see yet, and miles to cover. Wind has been the strongest yet, and after two hours of paddling we haven’t covered much ground. But we have made it to a small creek mouth that flows out from Char Lake, so we pull over as hiking to this body of water is on our to do list. We’re hoping, naturally, to catch some Arctic char. Two and a half kilometres take us over a rise with numerous muskox skulls...

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07 Jul, 2015 PAINT TO CANVAS

5:30 AM and I'm outside in my long johns trying to calm a wildly flapping tarp. The rain and wind has been hitting hard all night and tore our dinner tarp free from its pegs. A few minutes later and the tarp is stuffed into the tent, where I climb back into my sleeping bag, a little wet and I still very groggy. By the time we get back up for real, the wind is still howling but the rain has at least stopped. I load up my painting gear, and we quite literally head for the hills. As we...

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06 Jul, 2015 FALCONS, WOLVES, AND THE BEAUTIFUL BEND

Kicked off today shooting a time-lapse of our camp tear down and then paddling off onto the river. The filming is going well. The biggest challenge being the very limited amount of sun we’ve been getting to charge our gear with the solar panels. Paddling weather is good today. Just some rain followed by dead calm waters for a stretch. It’s so peaceful floating down this wild river when the wind dies down like that. An ice rock bluff on the left side of the river is accompanied by peregrine falcons, their cries pierce through the landscape of this corner of...

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05 Jul, 2015 COVERING WATER

On the water by 1pm today. For a paddling “schedule”, that seems like a really late start, but up here it feels pretty normal. The last two nights give us really late light and it was an attractive time to be creative. So we are shifting our schedules to suit the environment. The winds die down a little after a few hours and we check the GPS for our speed. The flow combined with our paddling has us hitting almost 9 kms an hour. We decide to take advantage of our good fortune and keep at it. This is where...

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04 Jul, 2015 ON THE WATER

Today we have the privilege to do what few will ever get to do, dip our paddles into the Thomsen river and canoe its Arctic waters. It’s considered to be the most northernly canoeable river on the continent, and other than the 6 parks staff we met, we will be the only visitors to Aulavik this year to ply its waters and take in the views that surround it. Knowing this adds to the purpose of my being here, and I feel the need even more to share this experience with others who will never see it for themselves. We...

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03 Jul, 2015 INTO AULAVIK NATIONAL PARK

This is the big day. Today we board a twin otter and fly into the Arctic wilderness of Aulavik National Park. Seems pretty straightforward, but in the north you have to be ready for anything. Case in point, there was another group here just before us trying the same thing. Unfortunately for them, bad weather kept them grounded for over a week before they had to call their entire trip off. You just never know. After months of planning with clear skies, we pack our gear - including 2 canoes nested together in the plane - and we taxi down the...

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02 Jul, 2015 EXPEDITION BEGINS

I’m sitting in Inuvik. It’s 12am and I’ve come across Canada to the staging place of my 2015 Into The Arctic: The Last Chapter expedition. In a couple of days, I will board a twin otter and head further north yet to Banks Island. There, for the first leg of 2 months in the Arctic, I will canoe for 160km and explore, paint and film the remote and wild landscapes of Aulavik National Park. I, along with my brother Carl, friend Anthony, and cameraman Ryan Bray, will be the only official park visitors in the park this year. This will...

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26 Jun, 2015 24,600 KILOMETRES ACROSS CANADA. . . AND BACK

This Sunday, I pack up the car with painting, filming and camping gear, and head to Ottawa to catch our June 29th Canadian North flight to Inuvik to begin the first leg of my Into The Arctic: The Last Chapter expedition. In total there will be 7 legs to this journey, overnighting in 9 Arctic communities along the way. I will be transported over 24,000 spectacular kilometres, before I lay my head back to rest on my pillow at home. This expedition would not be possible without the wonderful support of many individuals, companies and organizations. In this post I would...

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19 Jun, 2015 GETTING IN SHAPE FOR THE ARCTIC

I've been trying to get in shape for my upcoming Arctic expedition since last November. Will all the effort it takes to put together and execute an Arctic expedition, there is just too much on the line not to ensure that I maintain some level of physical fitness. Something as simple as a muscle pull could really ruin a journey. Not that injuries can't happen, but I like to reduce the odds as much as I can before going out in to the remote wilderness where I need to be self-sufficient for days and even weeks at a time. Besides,...

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09 Jun, 2015 PRE-TRIP PREPARATION

In preparation for my return to the north I'm reading, and really enjoying, Pierre Berton's 2001 fantastic "The Arctic Grail: The Quest for the North West Passage and the North Pole, 1818-1909". This book is bringing to life past the many past explorers who roamed the Arctic, and it's been fascinating to find out the stories behind the names of so many northern places that now bear their names. Check out the reviews on Amazon, or pick up a copy for some great reading this summer: http://tinyurl.com/okuadja. Any Arctic book recommendations to add to my reading list? Love to hear...

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03 Aug, 2009 TO IQALUIT… AGAIN

Six o’clock came early this morning as I got up to see Max off at the cab. His flight back to Toronto was set to leave a couple of hours earlier than mine, so I went back in, tempted to close my eyes for a bit longer. But instead I took the time to double check that I had everything ready to go. WIth that all done, I met up with Jean Vivian again, who had nicely offered to drive me to the airport for my flight out. On our way, we had the time for a couple of stops. One...

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02 Aug, 2009 LAST DAY IN YELLOWKNIFE

The wind did it’s job in keeping the mosquitoes away last evening, but then went into overtime and blew all night making racket. As a result, I didn’t sleep very well. Woke to gray skies this morning, which didn’t cause me to rush out of the tent. But I did get myself moving nevertheless, and after breakfast toured the island to size up some painting possibilities. Eventually that did lead to starting a new piece, though that came after a much needed lunchtime nap. The day sped by quickly, and before long we were back on the boat with Gary...

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01 Aug, 2009 A Taste of Home

As my flight out to Pond Inlet isn’t for a couple more days, I’m trying to figure out the best way to spend my time here in Yellowknife. I definitely want to check out the place a little as I couldn’t on my way though to Bathurst Inlet. Yet I don’t want to spend it walking around as a tourist the whole time. After all, this isn’t a holiday for me, though some might argue that. Sitting at the edge of Great Slave Lake there are obviously painting opportunities around here as well. So Max and I hiked into town...

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31 Jul, 2009 Back To Yellowknife

Max and I packed our gear this morning, for real this time, and got it outside in a big pile. Collin was nice enough to haul it down to the dock with his quad, saving us a work out. It was a beautiful morning up here at Bathurst Inlet, and as we flew off in the float plane, I thought about how it would be nice to come back with the family some time. A great flight back to Yellowknife ended with Jean Vivian greeting us with a big smile and a hug. Jean is from Canadian North, and has been...

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30 Jul, 2009 One More Day

When we arrived at Bathurst, our departure date was set for today. That’s when the next lodge chartered flight back to Yellowknife was going out. We spent the morning getting our things together, but in the back of our minds Max and I knew there was still the chance to stay one more day. Page had informed us that clients were coming in tomorrow, and that maybe we could hop a ride back on that flight. She and I were both keen on having us stay and explore landscapes behind the lodge further, and this would be a perfect day...

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