Sunday, May 6, 2007

Weathered In...

One of the most difficult things about the north is getting there. Canadian weather is not made for fair-weather travellers. I have been lucky so far in getting to Iqaluit and had not been weathered in or out of anywhere (though Dr. H. was weathered into Iqaluit for several extra days when she came to visit). The trip up to Inuvik ended up being a little more challenging.

On Friday I began my trip to Inuvik flying from Vancouver to Edmonton. I arrived in Edmonton around midnight, and surprise surprise Edmonton was having a blizzard. Now I have only been to Edmonton a couple of times in my life, but in my very limited experience it seems to be having a blizzard about 66% of the time (or 2 out of the 3 times I have been there). After a safe landing in Edmonton I spent the night in a hotel near the airport and arrived at the airport bright and early to continue the trip northwards. Edmonton to Yellowknife went without a hitch, and from Yellowknife we flew north to Norman Wells. Norman Wells is a small town on the MacKenzie River with a very interesting history. It has fairly extensive oil and gas reserves and during the Second World War the US Army built a pipeline to export the oil for strategic purposes. At one point it was quite a centre of activity in the arctic. Today it is a small sleepy town of about 800, although the petrochemical business continues.

When we landed in Norman Wells it was in a bank of heavy cloud and snow. It was quite an ambitious landing by the pilots and they warned us in advance to expect turbulence and that we would abort the landing if it proved too hazardous. After a successful landing the snow got even thicker and the air crew told us they wouldn't be able to continue on to Inuvik. We had the option to stay in Norman Wells, or return to our point of origin to restart the journey the next day. After a long day of travel I opted to be weathered into Norman Wells and checked into a surprisingly nice hotel there (The Heritage Inn).

After a couple of hours the weather cleared up and I spent a nice afternoon walking around the town, watching the river as it gets ready to break-up, and checking out the historical vehicles in front of the visitor centre. This morning I resumed my trip and landed in Inuvik around noon.

Of course I don't believe in getting stressed about the weather, so I thoroughly enjoyed my afternoon, weathered in.

(I'll put up some pictures of Norman Wells once I get on a computer with a USB port...)

1 comment:

medstudentitis said...

I think it's a smart person who doesn't get stressed about things they can't change! Sounds like you had a nice journey anyway!