Friday, 3 July 2015

A Late Start

It's 11:00 AM here in Inuvik, and I am no where near ready to go yet. Both Katherine and I slept late this morning. This is no surprise for me; it is certainly unusual for Katherine. However she was up late last night, filled with the excitement of her trip to Tuktoyaktuk and the Arctic Ocean. I understand that excitement; I've felt it myself.

There is a rhythm to life that you develop down south which gets pretty much blown away up here. All the normal cues for rising and sleeping, eating and playing; they get pushed about by the 24 hour sunlight. When you sleep, the sun is high in the sky. When you wake, that same sun is still there. During the day, all you do is open the blackout curtains; the sun shines in. At night, you close those same curtains to make the room dark, but some light forever creeps in through the cracks.

Midnight came and went last night as we looked at pictures, talking about the day, laughing about our adventures. We didn't notice. I did not see the time when the blackout curtains finally closed. It doesn't really matter. They finally closed, and even then Katherine could not sleep. It happens to her sometimes too, that mystery called sleep staying off in the distance while we wait in vain for rest to come.

It doesn't really matter in other ways too. Checkout is 11:00 AM but no hotel minds an extra hour or so. Only once, in all my years of travel, have I been denied that extra bit of time when necessary. That was at the Fairmont Hot Springs, where they said a sort of yes, but asked if we could vacate as quickly as possible; they had a full hotel and were short on cleaning staff. We were out by 11:00 AM.

The drive from here to Eagle Plains is a reverse trek down the Dempster. It doesn't seem quite so challenging on the way back. It will still be five hours of driving. It will still be that incredible scenery, those unimaginably large landscapes, the rapid change from cold to hot over a few miles, the endless tundra, taiga, boreal forest. Only this time we are headed south, a bit later than planned.

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