March 07, 2010

Never say die

That's the motto of the town of Aklavik, where I had the good fortune to go yesterday.

From Inuvik, it's about a two-hour trip along the frozen Mackenzie River - the longest river in Canada.

I had never driven the ice road before, nor had I ever sat in the driver's seat of our newly company-owned bright white 2008 Chevrolet Equinox, but it was a gorgeous, almost spring-like, day for a road trip. And no way was I going to miss Aklavik matriarch Mary Kendi's 95th birthday celebration.

So I set off, turning onto the river, seeing nothing but snow and evergreens and blue sky forever, listening to Sean Cullen proclaim the winning qualities of cake (because there's no instant mix for pie) on CBC Radio One. Sometime in the middle of Jonathan Goldstein's awkward phone confrontation with his Twitter imposter, I had to take a moment to process the awesomeness of what I was doing. My mental monologue went something like: "Holyeeeeee. Shiiiiiiiit. I am driving on a river. FROZEN WATER. It's not as slippery as I thought it would be. I can't believe I'm actually doing this. WOW, THIS IS AMAZING. I AM AMAZING. OK, people do this all the time. Don't be a geek."

But, in my giddy state I couldn't control my inherent geekiness and I had to stop and take some pictures.

First, for comparison:

October 2009

March 2010

Yep, I'm driving on a river. No big deal.

That blue sky makes me want to learn how to kayak so I can revel here in the summer.

Eventually I made it to Aklavik, pop. 645, wished Mary Kendi a happy birthday, shared a feast and enjoyed fiddle music and jigging with some great people. A story for another day.

The community, formerly an administrative centre in NWT, with one of the first Hudson's Bay trading posts and RCMP headquarters, is celebrating its centennial this year, and I'll be back the next chance I get.

Enough said.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Katie.. here's a random comment for you:

    My name is Seb, i'm a canadian documentary filmmaker (well i try to call myself that) and me and my gf are currently doing research on the arctic, more specifically the mackenzie delta.
    So as we were browsing the web and googling inuvik, we came across your blog and thought it was really interesting. So much so that we feel that after reading your blog we'd want to ask you more a few questions.

    So, it would be really cool if you wrote us back, this would really help us a lot. If you want, you can respond to my comment or send me an email at

    thanks in advance and hope to hear from you soon,