Howdy! Yesterday my friends invited me for a drive to Tuktoyaktuk. It was on my list of things to do while living here! So we left Inuvik around 3:3opm, drove about 180km down the ice road to Tuk. We got there at about 6:00pm (quite a few stops for pictures as you’ll see!). We drove around town and they pointed out the school, arena, church, stanton (same grocery store as here!) and the workers camps from the gas/oil boom that are mostly abandoned now. My friends boyfriend was going to Tuk to go on a hunting trip so we went to his friends/hunting guides house and met them and the 3 other hunters who came up from Alberta to hunt muskox! Then we got the keys to go into the Tuktoyaktuk Ice House. This was definitely one of the coolest and most beautiful places I’ve ever been in my life I took HUNDREDS of pictures and they don’t do it justice at all but it’ll give you a bit of an idea. So the ice house is basically a year-round freezer for the people of Tuk. It’s kind of a huge cave with tunnels and rooms about 30 feet underground. It’s cold down there… very cold! There’s one room for each family in Tuktoyaktuk. To get in you have to climb down a very icy, very slippery 30′ ladder down into the permafrost. Each room is about 10×10 feet, some a little bigger, some a little smaller. Luckily I was short enough to be able to stand upright through most of the tunnels and rooms so they’re about 5’6/5’7 high I’d say, because I’m 5’4 and I was barely clearing the ceilings. Living up here you hear “this that and the other thing” about permafrost all the time… but you never really SEE it… well in the ice house you’re IN the permafrost and you can see all the layers of ice and sand. It’s AMAZING. It just looks like layers of rock but when you get close up it’s very clear ice. Mind=BLOWN. I can’t really find the words to express the sheer AWESOMENESS of the Tuk ice house… it’s indescribably beautiful. The ice crystals on the ceiling are all perfectly shaped and all unique. You can snap them off the ceiling and they feel just like very fragile plastic and when they drop to the ground they sound exactly like shattering glass. I seriously could have stayed in there for HOURS just looking at each individual crystal. It still amazes me that water freezes and forms the crystals in PERFECTLY straight lines and perfect hexagons. Crazy.
Well I can only say so much about how awesome my day was there… but a picture says a thousand words, right? Here’s a few thousand words for ya then!
Ice road!! The pictures don’t give an accurate showing of the DEPTH of the ice unfortunately but they still look cool! Feet upon feet of ice! a look down the ice road while still in Inuvik (the pictures are kind of jumbled, silly blog)
hey look it’s me! Beautifully sunny day! Since it’s getting “warmer” the ice road is beginning to crack, it’s still safe to drive on but you have to be careful. Some of the cracks are wider than me! They could really screw up your alignment.
Time to go down into the Ice house. Yup, that small shack is the entrance.
now THAT’S big crack in the road. Your potholes ain’t got nothin’ on this, Saskatoon! 😛 (my brother and his wife live in pothole-ridden Saskatchewan) A view of the pingos from the ice road. Pingos are land-covered frozen lakes that have been pushed up through the permafrost. They create these cool little mounds that pop right up out of nowhere! Tuktoyaktuk actually has the most pingos in the world! tuk’s school an abandoned rig from the oil and gas days
Some of the best pictures I got of the crystals were taken with my iPhone… crazy! so here they are…
So! There’s my awesome day trip to Tuktoyaktuk, the ice house and the Arctic Ocean! The Ice house is high on my list of most beautiful places! If you ever manage to make it up this far, I highly recommend a day trip to Tuk to see it!!
And a HUGE thank you to my friends Blythe and Ryan for inviting me for the day!! You guys rock!!
Hugs & Kisses from afar