Saturday, July 27, 2013

north of the 60th parallel

This past Monday morning, I left at 4:00 AM for a trip to the Canadian Arctic.


Over the next few days, I'll post some of the pictures I took - but none of them will give this remote region of the world any justice.


I'm still trying to process what I've seen and experienced the past few days and the only word that comes to mind is amazed.


Amazed at the beauty and sheer ruggedness of such a place.


Amazed at the incredible remoteness.


Amazed at the plants and animals that have managed to thrive in such a harsh environment.


Amazed that across the 587,206 square miles (375,811,840 acres) ... there are a mere 42,000 people. Or, approximately one person per every 8,957 acres.


Amazed that the pioneers who ventured in to this land and settled it - survived.


Amazed that people continue to trek north despite the fact that there are virtually no roads or means in and out - except by airplane or boat.


Amazed that people DO actually live there and have built small communities around themselves and are incredibly reliant on one another for survival.


Amazed at humanity's insatiable desire to explore and conquer.


Amazed that the vast majority of people will not have the privilege of experiencing what I just experienced.


Amazed that when I look at a map of the world, I was practically at the top of it.


  1. Thanks for sharing the photos and your thoughts on this experience. The vistas are stunning.

    Favorite photos: 2, 3, 5, and last one!

    Amy F.

  2. I lived in Yellowknife for three years and am curious to know where you were? Love your blog!

    1. Even further north than Yellowknife - although, we did stop in YK on the way up and it was beautiful!!

    2. Inuvik? Deline? Tuk? Your pics from the most recent post didn't look like Inuvik to me?
      - Dana

    3. Dana, I'm impressed with your knowledge on the lay of the land up there! The next trip (probably next summer) will be flying in to Inuvik. This most recent trip was just south of Inuvik and slightly northwest of Great Bear Lake.

  3. Thanks, Jen, for the pictures and the sparse commentary-compliments the photo montage really well.

    Startling, that landscape, isn't it ?~! So vast and so vacant of human intervention, so large and so colorful. Happy for you that you had the chance to see and be part of it for a while. It's an experience you'll remember always. And we will too thanks to your great photography and generous nature.

  4. Jen, what a great experience! Imagine how few women have seen that part of the world!

    That job posting was interesting. As I wondered imaginatively, "Who would have applied?" it occurred to me: my own son would have. And... well, my husband would have loved that too. :)

    Beautiful pics!

  5. AMAZING!!! Thank you for sharing the photos.

  6. Seems like you will now have another reason to call your blog The Amazing Trips ; )

  7. I truly hope this comment does not offend you, but I have to ask how you balance your job with your view on preservation? Please correct me if I'm wrong, but don't you work for a company that is looking to operate in national parks and wildlife reserves?

    1. Your comment doesn't offend me at all. I'm not entirely sure where my company is looking to operate from an exploration / production side of things - although it wouldn't surprise me if there were prospects in national parks and reserves because there are resources in those areas that have yet to be tapped. It's an interesting conundrum, really.

      On the one hand - you don't want to see ANY impact from humanity on those pristine areas; on the other hand - mankind wants to explore and expand and fly air planes and operate boats and do things that consume energy. I think that the challenge that we face, and a large part of the reason I'm drawn to this line of work, is to strategize how we can leave as little of an impact as possible, while preserving as much as possible. I'm on the environmental side of the business, so my focus is to evaluate what kind of impact may (or does) exist from our operations, and then ensure that we have effective measures in place to protect, mitigate and restore the natural environment to its original condition (as much as possible). Hope that makes sense...!

    2. Good discussion. You have an interesting perspective, Jen, as a woman and mother in the industry.