Sunday, January 14, 2007

Do people climb mountains for the thrill or just for the great pictures?

I have been working a lot of emergency room shifts since my last post. It has been fun and very interesting, but also fairly tiring. I have always found it difficult to switch back and forth between day, evening and night shifts and that is how most ERs work. I am feeling fairly comfortable in the emerg. and there is good back up here, just a phone call away...either from one of the local MDs or from a specialist in Ottawa.

Nunavut is a young territory, both in it's own age (it has only officially been seperate from the NWT since 1999), and in the age of it's citizens, half the population is under 21. It seems to have many challenges facing it in setting up it's own infrastructure. With a total population of about 31,000 spread over one fifth of Canada's land mass, setting up infrastructure is a daunting task. The medical system here is still in the developing phase, and seems to still be working out many of it's issues. Like some other parts of northern Canada there are major problems in the territory with many social issues. This article in this weekends Globe and Mail paints a bleak picture of the place, though most people I have spoken with seem to think the situation will improve in the long-term.

Much of the medicine here seems familiar to me from my past inner-city practice. Issues of addiction, abuse, mental health, all with a complex social overlay seem common. There are also interesting medical cases, that most doctors working in the south may have only heard of in textbooks.

Tonight I am working an overnight shift in the emerg. and so I was off today. It was a beautiful sunny day, all 5 hours of it, and a balmy minus 30 degrees C. Instead of spending the day resting (like a sane person would have done) in preperation for my shift, I set out to climb the huge hill behind the hospital to get a better view of the landscape. Here are a couple of pictures of the hill, one in full daylight, and a second taken at twilight.

That hill, it turns out, is quite steep. It was a bit of a mountain goat's trek to the top and I was pretty hot in my parka, in spite of the -30 weather by the time I made it! The view was really worth it, and I got a good appreciation of the whole town. One thing I did learn, was that LCD screens and batteries are both fussy about the cold. Both my camera, and my GPS were acting up by the time I reached the "summit". I did manage to get a few pictures though.

There were 2 nice inuksuk at the top of the hill. In that past when the people here were nomadic, these were sign-posts that helped them find their way across the land. Different inushuk have different meanings. I think the hole in the centre of the one below points the way to travel. Here are some pictures from the top of a hill near the top of the world.

Finally I took a couple of pictures of myself at the top of the hill...just to prove I have been there.

All in all the climb was worth it. I went to a cool, and weird place, where not many people go, for a view not many people get to see. I guess there was more thrill than just taking the pictures.

1 comment:

Nancy said...

Aaron, great article and pics! I can't wait to visit you and Julia up there next year.

I'm trying to contain my worry that
you could have been a polar bear's lunch while walking up that hill, though. :)