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


Trip Leader & Guide 'Extraordinaire'
Steve Lybeck

As my Father Hank once was, Steve Lybeck is truly one of those 'special people' of the barrens. Having worked for and been partners with the Faess family tourism enterprises for nearly 40 years, Steve was with us at the infancy of our tundra camps explorations. In fact, in 1971 he actually went to the tundra for the first time with my dad - a year before I did!

As my lifelong friend & mentor, Steve Lybeck is a true naturalist - and one of the few I know who really lives it day by day; both when he is in the Far North leading our trips, or back at his homestead in Wisconsin.

Steve Lybeck along the Churchill River in Northern Saskatachewan - 2008

Over the past four decades, Steve - occassionally accompanied by his wife Terri - has been with us on the barrens nearly a dozen times; helping, leading, guiding & servicing some of our most elite trips: and the two of them have gotten my butt out of the sling more than once over the years!

My 'brother' Steve is the one person - more than anyone else - who taught me true love of the natural world, and genuine respect for its wildlife and inhabitants - and in that way, he is more responsible than he probably knows for the creation of the great Canadian Wildlife Adventures we offer today. Ask anyone who has been fortunate enough to have been guided by him - they will no doubt tell you about the deep passion & remarkable wilderness knowledge of this special man, and that he truly deserves the respect we show him here in all regards.

Below, in the 'Lure of the Esker', Steve has finally written 'from the heart' for the website, and has shared his perception of the eskers of the Thelon... I would pay attention to what he writes...because it comes from the mind & hand of a true wilderness master...

-Tundra Tom


'The lure of the esker'

Esker kettle pond on the upper Thelon River in the NWT, Canada



 "I sit and ponder the beauty of the esker as I stare into a small kettle lake."  



"I sip its emerald blue water, cold and clear melt water from the last ice age."


Azure esker kettle on the tundra


Steve Lybeck flying the Air Thelon Cessna 206 on th way out to the Thelon / photo by Tundra Tom



"I think about the several hour flight that puts hundreds of miles of wilderness between me and civilization." 


"I think that with GORE-TEX, satellite phones, GPS’s, freeze dried food and DEET, I still end up in near survival situations out here..."                         


Steve Lybeck tends to a campfire along Nunavut's lower Thelon River on a 2005 canoe trip - photo by Jim Allen


Inuit tent ring along lower Thelon River in Nunavut  - photo by Jim Allen





"yet, the ancient peoples survived solely on their wits!"  







"The fragrance of bearberry, crowberry, and spruce combine to carry me into another time."




Surreal esker scene on upper Thelon - photo by Dave Rivers



Chipewayan campfire on upper Thelon - photo by Allicia Kelly




"I feel a slight connection with the ancient natives, “the caribou eaters”




"They and the barren lands trappers from fifty to one hundred years ago were all drawn to the esker for similar reasons as I..."



esker on Thelon headwaters - photo by Max Finkelstein




"The beauty, the warmth, the protection from tundra winds, firewood and ideal campsites, all pull like a strong magnet."





  "And trees, white spruce way beyond the tree line!  Perfectly shaped spruces like they were sheared for a fine garden stand proud and stately in bold defiance of the tundra winds and permafrost."



Autumn tundra pond - photo by Glen Grambo


Tundra birch and willow in full autumn color - photo by Glen Grambo


    "The esker itself, groomed and manicured like God’s special garden...

It looks like the gardener or greens keeper did an exemplary job!"




"Each plant and the prudent placement thereof, flow graciously into the esker’s unique landscape."



Tundra heather of bearberry, crowberry and low bush cranberry dominated by aminita mushroom - photo by Lonnie Brock

Gravel esker on the barrens - photo by Steve Maka




   "The esker is more than a place, it’s an experience..,

an oasis,

a history lesson both geologically and culturally,

and a reprieve from the vast, wonderful, harsh tundra!"







"I thrill at the thought of traveling beyond the tree line." 




Wide open tundra n the summer period - photo by Noelle Tufts


Wide open tundra in the autumn - photo by Glen Grambo




"The open tundra beckons:

“Here, come sample my vastness.  Explore and experience my adventure. 

Move in and beyond the confines of time and space..." 




"Meet Tyrrell, and Hanbury, and Samuel Hearne..."




Remnants of historical activity along the central Thelon River in Nunavut - photo by Jim Allen


Lone tundra wolf along esker slope - photo by Eric Peterson



"See the wolf, caribou, musk oxen, wolverine and grizz.” 



Caribou bull in autumn colors - photo by Tundra Tom Musk-ox bull on the tundra  - photo by Dale Sherwood


Wolverine on the barrens - photo by Charlotte Richardson


Grizzly along the central Thelon River - Photo by Jim Allen

Esker system on the upper Thelon River, NWT Canada


"I hike across open tundra ‘til I see in the distance sand and trees."


"Then I’m caught - caught like a lake trout chasing a Daredevil..."


Steve Lybeck guiding to a 33 lb lake trout on lynx Lake, Thelon River NWT in 1977


Esker scene on the upper Thelon - photo by the Irwin Skalemara




"caught - by the lure of the esker!"


- Steve Lybeck
Bancroft, Wisconsin




Steve, Bob & Bonnie Rutta at campfire on upper Thelon River

Steve Lybeck and Jerry Lockhart, upper Thelon NWT

Steve at the upper Thelon camp

Terri Lybeck at the Whitefish Lake camp

Steve fishing along the Churchill River in 2008


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