the Winter 2004 Photolife
Journey into the Thelon
By Courtney Milne
It is this “Middle Kingdom” of the Arctic North, the endless tundra flats known as the Barrenlands, dotted by countless lakes and accented enormous dunes of sand, gravel and rock (called eskers) that have historically lured the stout of heart, and buried those who believed they could conquer it. There is no way to subjugate the Barrenlands, only learn to respect its ways, endure its silences, admire its outrageous colour, bask for fleeting moments in its splendour, and be not greedy to unveil its forbidden secrets.
Life thrives on the Barrenlands because it has learned to adapt to the hard realities of the North. The caribou survive because they rely on the wisdom of their ancestors stored in their DNA to direct their migrations, show them where they can winter, and where they can return to their birthing grounds. The musk ox are the ultimate symbols of endurance; appearing like vestiges of the woolly mammoth, their shaggy coats withstanding the coldest wind-chill temperatures on the planet.
Our guides, Andrew, Allicia, and Terry are experts on the history of this land, as well as on the trails, the animal tracks, the distant eskers, beaches, and the wildlife watching us from more than a kilometer away—an arctic fox, a wolverine, a lone starving wolf stalking our camp, or a grizzly looking for an easy meal.
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Come warm yourself by our fire.
Great Canadian Wildlife Adventures