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


Dr. Ella Trussell

Ella Trussell is a retired professor of kinesiology from Sonona State University, California where she worked for 27 years. She came to the tundra with us while on a Sierra Club Outing in 1990. She returned again to visit during the autumn of 2007 - and had said this about her two trips with us:

"Hi Tom - I planned to get this to you last week -  But every time I sat down to write, the words just wouldn't seem to come. In case you can still use it, here are some thoughts on your bit of paradise."

Ellie Trussell contemplating at the camp table in the new Great Canadian Wilderness lodge on Whitefish Lake, NWT / photo by Tundra Tom


"When I was on the barrenlands in 1990 there was just the single headquarters and storage bullding and we camped in our backpack tents.  I remember waking up around 2am in the summer arctic dawn after we had seen the white wolves and their pups in the den on the esker.  I heard the wolves howl and the pups (in their adolescent voices) answer."

Wolf pups on the camp esker - photo copyright Terry Elliott


Common loon along the spring ice flow during Dance with Wolves 2007 / photo by Tundra Tom



 "Then somewhere on the lake a loon gave forth with it's wild and crazy call.  At that moment I made a promise to myself that I would return to this amazing place."



"It took me seventeen years, but I finally made it back to your Whitefish Lake Camp last September for the 'Dance with Caribou'.  It was a whole different camp with HOT WATER, sleeping tents with cots and even a huge lodge."  


Ellie, Jake and friend Janet Peterson warm up by the camp stove in the new lodge during 'Dance with Caribou' 2007


Camp esker during an overcast day / photo courtesy Ella Trussell



"But the esker hadn't changed.  It is still a little oasis surrounded by huge empty expanse of barrenland tundra."



"This time I was lucky enough to be there at the height of fall colors. The barrenlands suddenly turned from brown to crimson with bearberry. The willows were golden against the white sand and blue water."



Crimson bearberry leaves during the autumn color change in late August / photo courtesy Ella Trussell


An excellent & rare photo of the aurora and moon reflecting off the waters of Whitefish Lake on the camp beach - 2007 / photo courtesy Ella Trussell

 "At night - the aurora played with clouds and full moon."  

"Musk oxen posed for us on a little rise, giving the photographers a once in a lifetime opportunity."  


A musk-oxen herd gathers a few ridges back behind the camp during 'Dance with Caribou' 2007 / photo courtesy Ella Trussell


Photographers, muskoxen and fall colors /  photo courtesy Ella Trussell

"But a major part of the experience was learning about the people who used to live on the barrenlands.  Your morning readings about the early exploration of the area, along with the extensive collection of books and journals lent a perspective to the experience."
  "This place is more than just a beautiful, incredibly remote area. People struggled to make their living here following the caribou across the tundra with their dogsleds and the few belongings they could carry."

"Their story gave me a real feeling of what the term "survival" means."


"Best wishes Tom on finding someone who will carry on your tradition...."


- Ellie


Hiking an age-old caribou trail worn into the side of the camp esker / photo courtesy Ella Trussell


Click here to learn more about the 'Search for the Legendary Tundra Wolves' trips that Ellie experienced in 1989


Click here to learn more about the 'Musk-ox, Autumn Colours & Aurora' trip that Ella joined in 2007


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