Saturday, September 15, 2012

Heading north

The previous day everyone that I knew had left in trucks, driving north beyond technology. I spent the day in my hotel room, venturing out for some birding in town, and the rest of the time editing some last photos and using some last internet while I still could.
This morning I had arranged with the two people still here, Elin and Alfredo, to come pick me up. I had never met either of them before, but come 8am they picked me up, we were off to the airport, and soon after headed north.
We flew in little Cessna prop planes, with our “fleet” consisting of a Cessna 185, a smaller aircraft, and a Cessna 207, which held more cargo more easily. They were both small 2-3 seaters, wonderful to fly in. It is so much more exciting flying in small planes as compared to jet liners. You actually feel the air currents you’re in, and the aircraft is responsive and overall more enjoyable in my opinion.
One of our planes, the Cessna 207, complete with snow skis

Our flight lasted a couple hours until we landed at Kavik to refuel. As it turned out, the Canning was fogged in by the time we got there, as is typical, so we ended up spending the night at Kavik, camping on the gravel at the edge of the river there.
Kavik is a very cool place, a runway right by a river just north of the mountains, and a few Quonset huts and old container boxes arranged in rows for housing and protection from the elements. It is a destination for wildlife film crews, people who just want to get away, or anyone for that matter who wants to spend the $270/night to stay in one of the containers. Talk about the only game in town!

View of Kavik looking south

It is also used as a place to refuel, which is what why we were there. Despite the remoteness, Kavik has internet, satellite television, a whole wall of refrigerators, and even some fresh baked chocolate chip cookies when we arrived - pretty unexpected for the middle of nowhere.

Alfredo enjoying our last movie for a long time

After dinner we took a walk down an old ATV track that is a remnant from oil exploration in the mid-20th century, a few miles each way. It was simply beautiful, with a backdrop of mountains right next to us to the south, and rolling hills all around. We saw a couple small herds of caribou, and lots of cool birds that we wouldn’t see at the Canning – the highlights of which were Bluethroat and Smith’s Longspur. This area still actually had shrubs that were in some places taller than head-height, which would be a completely foreign concept in just a couple days!

Red Foxes den under one of the Quonset huts

One of the Bluethroats singing, sometime around midnight

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