July 07, 2006

A Hike – (Day 9)

It is not possible we have been here a week, but we have. Everywhere else seems light years away both in time and distance. Dave, Nancy and Ted head out to the rock den, and I hike. I pause on a ridgeline to eat lunch and take in the view. The wind riffles the pages of my notebook, and the sun feels like a warm hand. Long feathers of cirrus clouds stream across the immense sky. Are we in for a change in the weather? I hope not. We have been so fortunate with the crystal clear days. There is no night. Dave and Nancy reflect on how chilly and dreary it can be when it rains. I can imagine wind-driven rain downpours and penetrating cold. We have not heard a forecast, nor have we picked up any world news. It’s hard to care. This is our world right now.

Brutus the Thief

We gather late for dinner as we always do. Dave, Nancy and Ted get in around midnight. The report from the field is pretty funny. It seems that Ted had his backpack nearby for easy access to the contents. Brutus roused himself from a nap and strolled over for one of his periodic inspections of the odd creatures who can find nothing better to do but sit and stare. Without preamble, Brutus grabbed the backpack and carried it triumphantly off to the meadow. He and 3 other adults opened the zipper closing and systematically removed all the contents. Nancy got some pictures of the heist. This incident clearly illustrates the personality of Brutus. He is fearless, and he does exactly what he wants to do when he wants to do it.


  1. I am in awe reading this blog on arctic wolves!
    I have experienced wolves up close backpacking in Denali's Toklat
    River valley and on the border of Manitoba and Nunavut, but my one wish in life is to see and experience the arctic wolf. Not an easy thing to accomplish. I've looked into backpacking Ellesmere Island but just getting there costs a fortune.
    I was hoping you could give me some information
    about getting to Ellesmere to photograph Canis lupus arctos.

  2. Hello!
    I am hoping this posting will work. I am sorry for the delay! Getting to Ellesmere on commercial trips to the national park, for instance, are expensive and designed for hiking and trekking as far as I know. Getting there on your own is very difficult unless you can charter private aircraft, and even then, you can't get about in that vast landscape. The wolf research conducted by L. David Mech and his associates entails research permits from the territorial government and a mountain of paperwork. The weather station referenced in the Blog is operated by the Canadian government, and there is nothing there but that station. Even flying into the landing strip there requires permits. The BBC and other media entities with huge amounts of corporate funding can afford the support that an expedition on one's own requires. Sorry to be discouraging, but this is one of those places that is next to impossible to just visit as a private adventure.