26 Jun 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 like to recognize each of them, and give a taste of how they integrate with the journey.
First, the unseen supporters. My fine art clientele whose collecting of my fine art are the core support of every expedition I undertake. Thank you for enabling my journeys and the creation of this passionate collection of Arctic paintings. The faith you have shown motivates me further each day to do my very best, and then some.
For the first stretch of the expedition, I will be joined by my brother Carl and friend Anthony. Ryan Bray, wilderness videographer extraordinaire and my right-hand-man for whole journey, will meet up with us in Yellowknife, on our way to Inuvik. I’m very excited to be filming the entire journey in spectacular 4K – 4 times the resolution of HD – for the first time thanks to Sony Canada and HD Source. The footage we get will fill 48TB of Lacie hard drives! I’m also really excited to use our DJI Phantom 3 Pro 4K from Canada Drones to capture the scope of the landscape with soaring aerial cinematography. Additional gear from Manfrotto and Cinevate will make for smooth shooting along the way. I’ll also have my IsatPhone from Inmarsat to keep us safe and connected to the mothership in Caledon.
From Inuvik, we’ll head out on a 160km canoe trip down the Thomsen River on Banks Island in the vastness of Aulavik National Park, through the largest herd of Muskox on the planet. We’ll be safe in the water thanks to Salus Marine life jackets, and our drinking water will be double checked with our Steripen purifiers.
Leg 2 will find us exploring the wilderness that surrounds Iqaluit for a few days with Arctic Kingdom. By this time my Asolo boots will be broken in, and my Mountain Hardwear tent and clothing will feel like home away from home in this extreme environment. Additional support from Lange will help us stock up before our next excursion.
From there it’s off to Repulse Bay, to travel into Ukkusiksalik National Park with Parks Canada for Leg 3 of the journey. The park lies on the west coast of Hudson Bay, a land of polar bears, archeological sites and a historic Hudson Bay Company trading post. Check out the Nunavut Tourism website for great facts about the park and the surrounding area. Hiking poles from Leki and additional gear from The Canadian Outdoor Equipment Co. will have us on the level through this challenging terrain.
Traveling back through Iqaluit, I will push further north to Arctic Bay, on the northwest corner of Baffin Island for Leg 4. For a few days I will experience majestic cliffs and dramatic landscapes just south of the Northwest Passage.
Journeying further north yet, I will connect with Randy Nungaq, an Inuit guide in Resolute, and we will boat to Devon Island, where I’ll get to walk in the steps of past Franklin expedition explorers. This will mark Leg 5 of the trip, and by this time I hope to have started about 15 paintings and be deep into my supplies of Daler-Rowney paints.
A few days later, on August 18th, Leg 6 begins with a zodiak that picks me up from Devon Island, to bring me aboard a much larger vessel: the One Ocean Expeditions’ Akademik Sergey Vavilov, which will be cruising through the fabled Northwest Passage. I’ll join the cruise ship for a week for Leg 6, to further connect with early Arctic exploration and paint at places like Fury Beach, and King William Island where Franklin’s crew met their demise. Hopefully, I’ll still have my Vigor Eyewear sunglasses, because this island is one of the flattest landscapes in the Arctic, and I will continue to be under 24 hours of daylight.
And now for the final fun part. I’m not sure how this exactly ends yet. The guide I’ve been speaking with has gone hunting for the next week, and I won’t be able to communicate with him again until just before I begin canoeing on Banks Island.
Oh well, what’s an adventure without some suspense?