Day 3, Wednesday, August 7, 1996
The previous night was long as we stayed up listening to tales about unique experiences up here in the arctic. With a only a few hours of sleep, todays activity after a traditional breakfast of pancakes, bacon and sausage was a hike across the Cunningham River bed into a canyon to see where Thayer's gulls nest.
ATV on Cunningham River bed
It was beautiful and sunny as we made our way across the river delta to
left shore. The hike was led by Phil and Catherine working at Arctic
With the ever present possibilities of encountering polar bears, any day
trips from Arctic Watch requires the accompaniment of Arctic Watch
as safety is a constant concern.
Lunch break in the canyon
The river bed which is a mosaic of rock, sand, water and tundra offers
an interesting canvas of high arctic vegetation such as willows, etc.
With its sparseness, we find that we are more observant of what we do find
or come across. Arctic poppy, purple saxifrage, and yellow draba dot the
Sea gull nesting area in the canyon
As we enter the canyon we encounter interesting mounds and walls of
shale. Also, there are many interesting rock formations and fossilized
and corrals. After a stop for lunch, where we observed a perigrine falcon,
we ventured a bit further around the corner where suddenly we find
along the canyon walls. And just a bit further we find Thayer's gulls
along nooks in the 200ft shale cliffs of the canyon. This is quite a site!
To not disturb the Thayer's gulls in their habitat, we avoid venturing
into the canyon.
Hiking in the canyon
On the return hike, we encountered a pair of parasitic jaegers along the river bed. They permitted us the opportunity to get close enough to photograph them. We were back to the Arctic Watch lodge by 3:00 in the afternoon.
After a brief rest we were served a delicious appetizer of beer broiled
prawn. This was then followed by yet another superb dinner. The evening's
activity was a slide presentation which was prepared by Buster Welch of
the Department of Ocean and Fisheries on the arctic ecosystem of the
Barrister Straight and Lancaster Sound.
Hiking across Cunningham River
The TMI MSAT® communicator which we are using to transmit these travelogues and images may be coming to a television near you. It was used as a prop by the New York based film crew filming a commercial in and around Arctic Watch!
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