Soper begins

Day 7, Sunday, August 11, 1996

Today's installment of the travelogue is by Dan Mallette.

mtjoy1 A sunny day in the Soper Valley

I am not sure if it was the sun rising at 4 am or my tent mate's snoring that woke me up, but this was the start to day 2 of my trip on the Soper.

I as well as the rest of the team were anxious to start another day of exploring the natural wonders of Baffin Island. After a breakfast of oatmeal and too many "its a bonnie cereal" quotes from that tv commercial we decided to change our trip plans and hike up the local mountain called Mt. Joy. Before the hike I made a call to my friend Diane in Hull using the MSAT device provided to us by TMI. Its absolutely amazing that you can link up with a satellite and phone any place in the world from the remotest of areas in the world.

mtjoy2 Hiking up Mount Joy

To climb Mt. Joy requires first to cross the Soper River. Max who recently took a river rescue course, suggested to us several ways to cross the river. We all were successful in the crossing, but not without the occasional screams when we misjudged the depth of water and the height of our rubber boots.

4 The Soper River valley

Finally at the base of the mountain we started our ascent. The great thing about hiking these mountains is that because there is next to no large vegetation, you always get a view and see your progress up the mountain. Within 15 minutes we met a caribou coming down the mountain, but since we were too pre-occupied with the hike we didn't have our cameras ready. Shortly after this sighting we spotted another in full gallop coming towards us. This time we were ready and had all our fire power ready (a video camera, 2 still cameras and 1 digital camera). It was uncertain whether this beast was unaware of us or just not willing to move, but it came within 4 feet of us and almost ran us over (I have this all on tape to prove it). As we learned later we were walking on a centuries old caribou "highway" that links several river valleys in the area.

mtjoy3 The beautiful views of Baffin Island

The view at the top was breathtaking. It's very difficult to adequately describe the beauty and the ruggedness of Baffin Island. I have hiked all over Canada and several countries, but the view at this peak was nothing like I have ever seen before. We had settled down in an Arctic meadow just off the "highway" to have lunch and possibly photograph a few caribou moving through the valleys. Shortly after lunch Max and I settled down to catch a few zzzzzzs, while Don and Wade took some more panoramas of the area. Unfortunately because the day was getting late we had to hike down the mountain and return to the base camp. We finished the evening with another of Wade's Chinese feasts and Don's liquid chocolate and Baffin blueberry pudding dessert.

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