Saturday, 27 June 2009

A walk in Sylvia Grinnell

Last week I went for a walk in Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park. It's only a 30min walk from town, but feels like you're far from civilization (until you see all the other people going for walks on the same day as you). I've been meaning to go since shortly after I got to Iqaluit, but really didn't want to go alone. Much as it's close to town, there's also a small issue of it being a place where wild animals are frequently sighted. Including rare sighting of polar bears. Also, it's just not smart to go off on your own, especially in an area you don't know.
I haven't been overly proactive in trying to get to the park, so it's taken me this long to get there. Talking with a friend of mine, her and her fiance were planning on heading there at some point as well, so I asked them to tell me when they were going to go. It worked out well for me to join last week, and what a gorgeous day it was! The sun was shining, it was at least 10C out, and hardly any wind. We set out mid-afternoon, took a taxi to the entrance of the park, and walked in from there.
The park is a hilly area surrounding the Sylvia Grinnell River as it empties into the bay. As we left the overlook and started down towards the river, I remembered exactly why I love travelling. I love exploring a new place. Tripping down the rocks to the water front, checking out the views, the new plants, watching for fish, birds, and other animals. There's something exhilarating about a new place to explore!
The rapids and falls near where the river meets the sea are apparently a great place for fishing. We saw a very impatient fisherman when we first got there. I don't think he stayed in one spot for more than five or ten minutes at a time! And yes, the ice and snow isn't yet completely gone, but it's getting closer every day.
The falls weren't very obvious, I'm guessing it was high tide when we were there, because they couldn't have been more than a couple feet high. But the rapids were quite obvious, and ahhhh! The sound of running, rushing, tumbling water, it's like music!
I quite enjoyed that spot by the river (excuse the horrid picture of me, with my eyes closed, as usual. Between the sun in my eyes, and well, just my general luck with pictures...), oh and those are the falls in the background.
We found a bunch of ice chunks that had the most unusual formation, they were made of ice that formed into thousands of icicles stuck together.
Here's a piece we picked up. It looks so clear... I almost wanted to try licking it, or drinking the equally pure water in the river. My friend's fiance did try dipping his feet in the river... he lasted maybe 20 seconds before pulling them out in agony as the water is still quite cold!
We saw a lot of interesting plants, but I'm saving most of those pictures for a separate post. Here are some pussy willows, the closest thing we get here to trees!And I'm sure everyone can identify this little beauty!
I only took the picture of this moss because I loved the feel of it. It was like stepping on a giant piece of foam. You sunk right in, with just enough support, and there was no water at the bottom to make you feet wet!
Feet wet? you ask... Well look at this next picture, see all the puddles in between the rocks? Well most things were that wet, and in general, it was a bit of a gamble stepping on plants that looked dry, only to sink down and realize the whole area around you was like one big bog! No wonder blueberries grow well here!
Near the end of our walk, we came across a number of bones. We joked around, trying to identify them. All I can say for sure is that there weren't any human bones. But the bleached bones looked a little out of place with the rusting tin can. There was, in all honesty, more garbage than there should be out there. Kinda sad.
And here's one of the landscape with my friend in it. I'm sure Laurie can attest to how I like to drop behind people and get pictures of them from behind as a way to show scale and add dimension to pictures. Unfortunately, now that my friend here knows that, she's warned me that I may end up in front a lot more often. lol!
Nothing like a nice walk with friends, especially through some gorgeous landscape.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, the sun does still set on June 21st here. It's down for about 3 hours at that point, but the sky remains so bright, that you wouldn't know that it's set! That moment after sunset, when the sky is still bright, but you can't see the sun? 3 hours of that! Makes it hard to go to bed at night, unless you're watching the clock. On that note, I should get to bed!

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