Mud Bath

Today we’re headed out of Inuvik. We finally got to stop into the local info centre to see if there was anything we were missing. We’ve tried visiting for the past two days but they’ve closed early every day and we end up just missing them. It’s a neat little place. 2011-08-10-Animal hide art.jpg2011-08-10-Caribou up close.jpg2011-08-10-Massive.jpg2011-08-10-Muskox.jpg2011-08-10-Local crafts.jpg2011-08-10-Intricate bead work.jpgWe even ran into the local mayor buying his fishing license.

2011-08-10-Bumping into the Mayor  of Inuvik (Cellphone snap).jpgWe also learned what those metal pipes running in and out of all buildings were – they’re called ulitidors and are essentially above ground plumbing.

2011-08-10-Above ground plumbing.jpgHow is it you build a town on permafrost anyway? Apparently it’s quite an undertaking with everything needing to have pile or gravel foundation that is at least a few feet thick. The major airport alone cost $50 million to complete with these methods.

2011-08-10-Weather vane.jpgThese measures are entirely necessary though. Since some parts of the permafrost are so delicate, if they were to melt, there would be nothing left to hold the ground up. This means things wouldn’t just sink slightly, they would completely collapse down several feet. This also means all water and sewage needs to be above ground to prevent heating the ground and freezing the water.

2011-08-10-Colourful houses.jpgWhat I found most interesting is that aside from the bright colours, houses up here don’t look all that different than any other house in North America. If you didn’t know any better you wouldn’t even consider it to be an issue.

So after a bit of learning, and nothing else to see unless we stayed until the weekend, we decided it was time to move on. Only 767 kms to go!

2011-08-10-Leaving Inuvik - 767kms to go.jpgIt wasn’t long before the rain started. Between the puddles and the roadworks crews this highway became even more tricky to drive.

2011-08-10-Raining mud.jpg2011-08-10-Roadworks.jpgBefore long we were coated in mud and there was no seeing out of any mirrors or windows, whatsoever.

2011-08-10-Waiting for the ferry.jpg2011-08-11-No chance of seeing out.jpg 2011-08-10-Trying to improve our visibility.jpgFrom the front though we were completely clean with rain.

2011-08-10-But so clean on the front.jpgBy this point we were feeling very sorry for the few bikers we saw braving this road. Today we don’t envy them but instead appreciate the fact that we can stay dry.

2011-08-10-Poor guy.jpg2011-08-10-Glad we're dry.jpgWe did the ferry crossings again, this time stopping at the little town of Tsiigehtchic with hopes to catch a local festival and feast (based on the ferry operators recommendation).

2011-08-10-Visiting Tsiigehtchic.jpg2011-08-10-Cemetary.jpg2011-08-10-Little bell tower to commemorate settling the Arctic Red River.jpgYou think you wouldn’t get lost in such a small town but after a loop and a half around we did eventually find the main store. We asked the lady there and found out we were early by a day. Unfortunately we weren’t willing to wait, and felt as though we also might be crashing a cultural event which we have no business being at – we just pressed on, catching the ferry just in time.

2011-08-10-Ferry.jpgWhen we could see it, the scenery was still quite good and varied as we drove.

2011-08-11-Sad looking forest.jpg2011-08-10-Fog.jpg 2011-08-10-Forest.jpg2011-08-10-Crested by clouds.jpgSo, before leaving we neglected to fill up the gas tank because we drove minimally in town. This, we found, was a mistake. With only a few kilometers to the gas station we ended up running out driving up the hill.

2011-08-11-Almost at the gas station.jpgIt was time to get mucky.

2011-08-11-Filthy.jpgGerry can was successfully emptied into the tank, although we came back with mud everywhere.

2011-08-11-Ready to push if necessary.jpgWe luckily got her started and rolled into the gas station just in time – finding several trucks and one helicopter stranded because of the weather.

Not us though – we drove on. A few hours later, the dimming light, and our sheer exhaustion caught up with us and we pulled over for the night.

2011-08-11-Counting down the kilometers.jpg