From the Editor: Fed Up!
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Paving over Cultural Identity
Retracing Twenty-Five Year Old Foot and Paw Steps
Okpik’s Dream Update
Bannock – On the Frozen Sea, in the Woods or at Home
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Feb. 3, 2015, bringing the dog team through Iqaluit to the beginning of the
circumnavigation of Baffin Island, Meeka Mike drives the truck as Erik Boomer
hangs out the driver’s side window. On the tail gate of the vehicle safely leading
the team are Matty McNair and Sarah McNair-Landry. Photo: Matty McNair
Retracing Twenty-Five Year-Old Foot and Paw Steps
Back in 1990, beginning in Iqaluit (then part of the Northwest Territory) polar explorers Matty McNair and Paul Landry circumnavigated Baffin Island, the world’s fifth largest island, using thirteen of their traditional aboriginal Inuit Dogs. Traveling companions, Geoff and Rosemary Murray and their team of eleven Inuit Dogs accompanied them. A quarter-century later on February 4, 2015, 28 year-old Sarah McNair-Landry, an accomplished polar explorer/expedition leader in her own right, and her 30 year-old explorer/adventurer travel partner Erik Boomer, a professional kayaker and photographer, set out to repeat Sarah’s parents’ feat.
The qamutiq which the pair made will be pulled by thirteen exceptional expedition Inuit Dogs comprised of seven males and six females, all from stock bred and used for such purposes for decades. Two of the bitches are intact and one, “Gloria” came into heat not too long after departure and, having broken free of her tie out, engaged Nigsik in doggie lust. If the contraceptive pill given to her after the act does not work, “Gloria’s” puppies will be born around the end of April before the team’s return home which is expected after four months on the trail, around the end of May. So if puppies do arrive, they will be carried along, allowing momma to nurse them at breaks along the way.
Among the gear packed onto the nearly half-ton (starting out weight) qamutiq are skis to be used to help lighten the load, kite-ski equipment to be used when the winds are favorable to help break trail if necessary or to motivate the dogs, lots of chocolate (Sarah) and gummi bears (Boomer) and very high energy kibble dog food supplemented with ring seal whenever available.
From just about the onset of their journey, Sarah and Boomer have encountered severe weather, blizzard conditions and temperatures of nearly -50C without factoring in the wind chill in addition to the challenges of estrus-crazed males.
The two and fur-footed team will be visiting many Baffin Island communities along their way to re-supply human and dog food and also to turn over twenty-five year-old photos taken by Sarah’s parents of folks they met along the way in 1990.
Learn more about this adventure, see great images and follow along by visiting the expedition’s "Way of The North" website.