JOURNALS

Field journals from Cory’s Into The Arctic expeditions.

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22 Aug, 2007 STAYING PUT

Plan was to begin the journey north of Clyde River by boat today, heading toward the region of Sam Ford Fiord. The map shows amazing rock walls jutting out of the ocean for thousands of feet complemented by incredible numbers of glaciers, drawing me to explore and paint the region. It’s part of an area that is under consideration as a new territorial park for Nunavut and I’m keen to see this unique land for myself. But not today. The ice pack that blew in the day before my arrival decided to stay put, and blocks any possible exit by boat from...

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21 Aug, 2007 CLYDE RIVER

Made it to Clyde River…barely. The voice of the pilot over the loud speaker on the plane said: “we will attempt a landing once, and then fly on the Pond Inlet if that fails”. Clyde River, as it turns out, is notorious for being fogged in. Sneaking in while the fog allowed just enough visibility, the plane landed and I stepped onto the ground glad to keep on with the plan, but zipping up my fleece quickly as the biting cold air slapped against me. What a chill! Walking through the door of the small airport building, I was greeted by Tommy Enuaraq,...

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20 Aug, 2007 IN BETWEEN

Unlike Marten just a couple of days earlier, my flight out of Qikiqtarjuaq went off without a hitch, bringing me back to Iqaluit by around 1pm. As there are no flights directly from Qik to my next destination of Clyde River, I had planned for an overnight stay in Iqaluit to catch the next day’s flight north. But before I could do that, I thought it would be wise to cut down on my cargo to try and fly a little lighter. One of our project sponsors, Canadian North, graciously allowed me to use their operations office to spread out my...

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19 Aug, 2007 A TREAT FOR THE PALETTE

With all the amazing scenery that I had already experienced so far, what more could one ask for on an arctic journey? How about fresh arctic char, right out of the ocean and into the frying pan. Billy’s efforts in setting his nets out the evening before in traditional Inuit fashion reaped a half a dozen huge beautiful char. Destined to feed his family, he kindly shared some with me for a delicious lunch and dinner on the land. With all that protein in me it was a productive day, as I used one of the 2 largest canvases that I...

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18 Aug, 2007 BACK OUT

Woke up to a spectacular view of Coronation Glacier from the tent, with the sun kissing it here and there as it stretched across the entire width of the fiord. It’s an impressive and incredible formation that I saw a little of through the rain and fog that we drove through on the way into the fiord the night before. Even with the sun, the fog hid the mountains all around so that the place in effect remained a mystery, other than the leading edge of the glacier that rose out of the ocean dramatically. This is a different looking side...

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16 Aug, 2007 ICEBERGS AND WIND

Woke to an ideal calm morning. Perfect. My goal to paint an iceberg for the first time, and to do this from the 16’ canoe that I had brought along, was looking great. Why from a canoe? I’ve always loved canoeing, and years ago I began combining that with my painting back in Ontario. This has provided me with the opportunity to bring different perspectives to many of my canvases. The canoe also allows me to explore my subject in a quiet, immersive way, lending a sense of magic as I float about. Getting a regular hard body canoe up here...

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15 Aug, 2007 WATER AND ICE

After a good night’s sleep, we were ready to head out onto the ocean in Billy’s 24’ freighter canoe. All we needed was our gear and we were set to go. The 11am flight arrival would give us lots of time to sort our stuff and head out in search of the icebergs that I wanted to study and paint. Actually, knowing that this was one of my goals on this trip, Billy had already located a couple not too far away. With all this set, we got the word: the flight was cancelled. Fogged out. The rest of our gear...

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14 Aug, 2007 MARTEN HEADS HOME

This day my friend, traveling companion, huge help, trail master and very fine visual artist (film-maker, cameraman, photographer, etc) Marten Berkman heads home. Well actually he’s to fly back to Ontario see meet up with his wife Jennifer and 2 young daughters and visit his folks, and then carry on back to Whitehorse, Yukon afterwards. His flight out was scheduled for 11am, so we would be packing up and heading back to the community, where we could drop him off, and pick up the rest of our gear that made it in the day before, but had chosen to do...

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14 Aug, 2007 ONTO QIKIQTARJUAQ

Back in Pangnirtung and wrapping up the first leg of this month-long journey to the eastern arctic, it was time to pack up and head to the coastal community of Qikiqtarjuaq further north. There, with the help of Billy Arnaquq’ of Nunavut Experience Outfitting, I planned to access some amazing scenery along the coast, including icebergs, fiords and glaciers. But first I had to get there, with all my stuff. On this learning curve of traveling the north, I’ve been encountering my first lesson: I carry too much stuff. I mean it’s all necessary: easel, paints, canvases, camera, tripods, filming gear, food...

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12 Aug, 2007 OUT

The third and last day of our hike back out found the sun greeting us a dawn. As we had begun this journey, so it seemed to be ending; glorious sunshine to warm you us right to the core. Add to that a wind that pushed at our backs, and it was a recipe for a perfect day of hiking. That is until about noon, when the cloud moved right back in and covered the sky once again. But at least it didn’t rain. During the hike I reflected upon the privilege it has been to explore this majestic part of...

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10 Aug, 2007 LEAVING THOR

At last it was time to begin our hike back out of the park. But the morning light delayed that by a few hours. Though it was still mostly overcast, enough light poked through here and there to pull some colour out of the rocks, and so I ran in the opposite direction to begin a painting from a scene that I had hiked past a couple of times in the previous days. Upon returning to camp at around 2pm, I felt ready to go. That was until I loaded my full pack on my back again. You see, during the...

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09 Aug, 2007 TREK TO PAINT MOUNT THOR

Woke up to a promising day. Conditions were clear enough to warrant a second try at seeing Mount Thor from the north side perspective, so Marten and I began hiking back up the Weasel River Valley. After a few kilometers that included the requisite river crossings, we got to a place where I felt I could drop my pack and look around for a place to set my easel. I felt that I was close to being “in the zone”. But 2 hours later, after climbing the valley walls a ways, and checking views from behind what seemed like every...

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08 Aug, 2007 BREAK

After a day of exploring the new surroundings, and a 9km hike to view Mount Thor from a side perspective that failed because of the fog that moved in, we awoke to non-stop wind and rain. Upon seeing this from inside the tent, I turned over and went back to sleep. By noon it dried out a bit and the day got underway. Now that may seem like a lazy morning of doing nothing at all, and that would be rather accurate. Pushing until 1am every night has a way of draining you, especially considering the physical output of hiking around...

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06 Aug, 2007 ARRIVING

All distant views from the day before are obliterated by the white mist. But these very conditions that mean not painting what I wanted to yesterday, have opened up other opportunities. The weather has turned the Rock Garden into a fantastical place, with boulders emerging in and out of the fog. One in particular caught my eye and again I started a new painting. By the time I wrapped up, we had a very late start hiking. Not leaving camp until 2:00 p.m. with the fog hiding most of the landscape we weren’t distracted and were able to cover some...

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05 Aug, 2007 BAFFIN GARDEN

I caught my first glimpse of Mount Thor today. Actually, it was a full fantastic view from an area called the Rock Garden. It loomed in the distance in what seemed like a perpetual shadow as the sun hit the land where I was sitting. It's still over 8 kilometers away, but even at this distance it still dominates the landscape. But as impressive as it is, I need only to turn my head to find other magical views. To my Left, a glacier wraps around and down pyramid-like peaks. To my right, a granite wall that stands high before...

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