Heading true north

I had a desire for a long time to see the Arctic Ocean. So, one summer I booked a one-way flight to Whitehorse and then up to Inuvik in the very north of the North-West Territories. Inuvik felt like the end of the earth and in a way, it was. The streets appeared desolate, and it didn’t take long to walk from one side of town to the other.

Being on the edge of the tundra, trees were scarce. Only a clump of boreal forest existed next to the Tourist Information Centre. I lingered along the short circuit that cut through the trees before it was time to eat. Restaurants were limited, so I visited the one supermarket where fast food was the only other option.

I couldn’t imagine living in a place like Inuvik, especially during winter when there was no sunlight. But a woman who had lived there for decades told me winter was her favourite time of year. The North transformed into a snowy wonderland, and she loved the feel of whizzing over the snow with a team of huskies. I couldn’t agree, but what was spectacular, was the McKenzie River running parallel to the town. 

This was not my kind of town, but I was glad I made the effort to go north. It gave me a tiny window into a life completely different from mine and I experienced a place like no other I had ever visited.