Box 1320, Kuujjuaq, Nunavik (QC), J0M 1C0, Canada
Phone: +608-370-5071 / Email
: tundra@thelon.com


-presents - 

Canadian Author
Andrew Leith Macrae

All photography on this page is copyrighted to Andrew Leith MaCrae - all rights reserved.

In 1999, we at Great Canadian were proud to accommodate Canadian author Andrew Macrae as a client on a 'Musk-ox, Autumn Colours & Aurora' trip to the Far North. 

Andrew had this to say about his trip to the barrenlands with us:

author Andrew Leith Macrae

 

After the storm - the snow stayed on esker for a day before melting in late August / Copyright Andrew Leith Macrae

"I returned home from a visit to Paris to find an email in my in-basket: it was from Tundra Tom, asking for a few words about my recent excursion to the heart of nowhere -- the Barrenlands of Nunavut, facilitated by Great Canadian Wildlife Adventures. It has been a rare and privileged summer for me, to be able to make trips like these, and all the more remarkable as it has encompasses such extremes. Paris, rich with the millennial accretion of history, and where Nature is allowed only on its very best behavior and always on a leash; and the tundra, which, apart from mountain peaks and the poles, is a region that is one of the least marked by human passage."

"It is remote. The trip to Yellowknife alone is an object lesson on the vastness of this land. Flying over endless vistas of tree and rock and water to find this very modern, very built-up city is a trip in itself. But of course YK is just the jumping off point. Air Thelon flew us in a float plane to the camp, departing from a dock in the heart of YK's Old Town. The flight took us up over the great fault line that lies to the east of YK, a prodigious fracture in the earth's crust. In pre-flight days it took trappers some 30 portages and several weeks to make this journey; now, by air, it is two hours to the base camp on the headwaters of the Thelon River.""

 

When the plane leaves - you are alone at one of the most remote places on earth - and it feels like it! / Copyright Andrew Leith Macrae

Tundra view from the Ecoventures camp esker / Copyright Andrew Leith Macrae

"The land is elemental. The elements: earth, water, air, fire; as pure as you will find it anywhere on the planet. Indeed, the air was so clean we could smell the smoke from forest fires burning hundreds of kilometers away. It is like a world newly formed, in a raw, primitive state And in a sense this is indeed what it is, since the land was scraped down to bare rock and left by receding glaciers a scant 10,000 years ago. The glaciers also left the eskers, long drifts of gravel, stone, and stunning white sand, oases that shelter an amazing diversity of wildlife, both flora and fauna, far above the tree-line."

 

"It was late summer when we were there, and the fall colours were just beginning. And, luckily, the blackfly season was done! Terry, the naturalist of the team, pointed out to us the huge diversity of plant life to be found in a few square inches of soil. We didn't see any bears (probably just as well) but we did experience the bounty of berries that they feed on; I remember particularly the delicate cloudberries. Intense with flavour, they have to be enjoyed on the spot, the trip to camp in a bucket would reduce them to an unappealing mush."

Autumn bearberry makes up the esker heather / Copyright Andrew Leith Macrae

bull caribou in basecamp yard - also caled 'Yardboo'! / Copyright Andrew Leith Macrae

"Near the camp, our guide, Bill, showed us the remnants of a campsite used by Gus Daoust, a near-legendary trapper of the region -- tin cans, a shoe, a pit dug out for shelter. But Gus' incursion into the Barren Lands is within living memory, a mere blink of an eye ago. Farther out, on a rise of land on the open tundra Bill, showed us a cairn; a low wall of rocks, that may well be older than Stonehenge. He explained that it was probably used as a blind."

"You couldn't imagine a simpler structure that might still be recognizable as an artifact of human hands, but somehow, there was something solemn and sacred about this crude structure that had endured for so long, bearing testimony to the passage of humankind in this impossibly remote region. Paris has its own inexhaustible magic, to be sure, but nothing to compare with the stark simplicity of this monument."

Fox kit at lair near Ecoventures basecamp / copyright Andrew Leith Macrae

 

"There are other marks, too, of human presence; Bill would point out from time to time, broken shards of rock that had been worked into arrowheads. But man has always been an interloper here. The camp, in this setting, seems out of place. The presence of the outhouse, in particular, struck me as arbitrary as the Tardis of Dr. Who. And the logistics of operating this camp are staggering. Just to bring in a single can of beer costs $1.40 (never mind buying it in the first place). Yet the facilities covered all the bases of human comfort -- warm, snug tents for sleeping, a cookhouse, and even a washhouse with hot and cold running water. The cans of beer and other foodstuffs are kept cold in holes in the ground, dug down to the level of the permafrost."

 

"And what can you say about Tundra Tom? Entrepreneur, explorer, sportsman, naturalist, raconteur, entertainer... the list has no end. He sets a standard that defines the whole crew at Great Canadian Wildlife Adventures, of resourcefulness, hospitality and expertise that made every aspect of our time on the Barrens an unqualified delight and pleasure."

- Andrew Macrae
-Toronto, Ontario Canada

 

A walk in solitude along camp esker beach / Copyright Andrew Leith Macrae

 

 

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Come warm yourself by our fire.
Great Canadian Wildlife Adventures

Phone: +608-370-5071
Email: tundra@thelon.com
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