Tuesday, May 22, 2007

On the land

So I finally got "out on the land" recently. Now, to many other northern bloggers this may seem a touch shocking. I've been in town nearly two years now and this was my first really venture into the wilds outside of Iqaluit. If you're in Arctic Bay or Igloolik, you're probably zipping out of town on your ski-doo every weekend.

And I understand that need. If you're in a small town you probably need a ski-doo or ATV so you can get around during or just to give you something to do if you get bored.

You can more easily get away with these things in Iqaluit. If you're from the south, there are just enough things to do in town to keep you entertained, if you're so inclined.

Plus, I don't own a ski-doo nor do I have any intentions of buying one. First, they're a lot of money. Secondly, if there was ever a candidate for a search and rescue operation, I would be it. Honestly, I have no outdoor skills whatsoever. I would get lost with a GPS, breadcrumbs and radar. This is why I like staying indoors and reading. Less chance of dying in the wilderness.

And as I've recently discovered, an awful lot of the geography around town looks the same. I mean really, there's lots of rocks and valleys. Oh yes, and they're covered with snow and ice. If you're going out with a bunch of people, as I did, who know what they're doing, then it's good fun. If I were to try and do it myself, it would be a question of what would get me first - search and rescue or the wolves.

I thought I knew where we were on this trip. A few days later one of my friends sent me a map of our trip from his GPS. I thought we went east. Turns out we went south and west. Not good.

It was a fun time. It was my first time on a ski-doo in about 20 years or more, although I was riding on the back of the ski-doo. Which is probably just as well. There were no fatalities on the trip, but that would have been in doubt if I had been driving. There were snacks, a little hunting, racing up and down valleys and across sea ice.

I was sore, tired, wind-burnt and vaguely ill from all the gas fumes at the end of it. But it was still a good experience. It was nice to see another part of the north I haven't experience yet. It would have been nice to have seen a bit more wildlife, but I guess a caravan of ski-doos might scare away the wildlife.

Would I do it again? Probably, but it's not something I need to do every weekend. If I get invited out again next year, I'll probably go. Although I might take the chance and see if I can beg, borrow or steal a ski-doo. Yes, the risk of dying is there, but nine hours riding shotgun gets old in a hurry.


dups said...

You should so come on an outdoors trip with me. I will return you home a changed man...

colette said...

There's an interesting phrase in Newfoundland, TB, which has a resemblance to "on the land". If you head out to your parent's communities, you'll often hear people talk about "the country" as in "I'm heading cross-country" to refer to heading across the Heart's Content or Tilton barrens to Carbonear or Bay Roberts. Or talk about "John Rowe's Country" which refers to a big stretch of woods with some cleared spots that stands between my Dad and his favourite fishing spot. (John Rowe is long dead and gone but he used to cut his wood there and had a small wood cutting shack.)

Anyway, basically, any large untended or unfenced piece of property that's close to a community is not just "countryside" or "wilderness" or "woods"--it's "country" and not just country but "THE country" or "X's country". Sort of a parallel to "on the land".

towniebastard said...

If by changed, you mean a shattered wreck missing body parts and half starved, then yes, I will be changed. Although it could be argued, not for the better.

dups said...

Dude, missing body parts? It's why you were built with a spare for most body parts...