“You’re bringing the Arctic Circle into disrepute”

11th June

Overnight it continued snowing, and when I looked out the window in the morning there was still a smattering of snow. I’d been looking forward to being snowed in and having to dig the car out and put on the snow-chains to be honest – but no such luck. All I got was to slip about a foot on the metal grid out the front of the hotel #MichelleODrama. Because it’s all kindsa of mountainous between here and the next stop (Inuvik) we decided to set off with an American couple we’d met in the hotel, called Michael and Susan. Safety in numbers and all that!

Because I’m a born daredevil, I opt to drive first and lead the pack as such. No sooner do we get down the hill from the hotel, does all the snow disappear – muchos dissappointios! However, in the place of the snow, was a sludge you would be hard pressed to call a road. There were some spots which were black-ice-level slippery. Some impressive skids were done in the 4×4. I think I pretty much held my breath for the entire drive – that’s how hard I was concentrating.

We start climbing up towards the Arctic Circle, the snow has made a reappearance and the temperature is dropping big style. By the time we reach the Arctic Circle sign it’s -5 degrees Celsius, the wind-chill factor making it a cool MINUS 20!!!! Chilly does not even cover it. The sign appears out of the snow and we pull over to get some pics. Now, this was a dramatic 10 minutes, even for me. I stop the car and I get out… And only I get out… It turns out that in the cold and snow, the passenger door and the rear doors have frozen shut and we can’t get them open. No amount of tugging is opening those bad boys, so an amount of clambering had to be done to exit the vehicle.

I was desperate for a wee by now, so I headed to the loo. It’s so windy here, I was almost blown past the lav – but I made it in eventually, after a long battle with the door. I get in there, and the loo seat is covered in snow. This is something I have NEVER experienced in all of my loo visits. A good inch of snow stands between my bare arse and the toilet seat… Hovering seems a good idea at this point.

After a tricky few minutes I exit the loo, struggling to do my trousers up in the freezing conditions, only to hear Michael (the American guy) shouting though the wind at me “Bonnie, do your trousers up! You are bringing the Arctic Circle into disrepute!”. Needless to say, this did not help me with doing my trousers up – not only were my hands frozen, they were now jiggling around uncontrollably as a result of intense laughter. And I was trying to run.

It was way too cold to get any decent photos, so we accept that we will have to stop on the way back and get the pics. Seriously weak selfie game was exhibited.

Ooh, I forgot to mention! When I got out of the car here, I got a high 5 from Michael saying I was a great little driver. Never has anything made my life more than this did. He is my new fave person.

I carried on driving and I’m not going to lie, it got beyond terrifying. Obvs I loved how terrifying it was, but it really was scary. It started snowing heavily and visibility was non-existent. All I could see in front of me was white, and the occasional flash of the lights on the RV we’d come up behind. Driving down this road, the wind was whipping up the snow from beside the road, meaning I couldn’t see where the road was or where the other cars were.

There isn’t anywhere you can stop, and even if you did stop, you run the risk of getting hit by another car who just hasn’t seen you in the snow – so I press on. This was white knuckle – I’m not gonna lie. When I eventually got out of the car, my hands were screaming in pain from how hard I’d been gripping the steering wheel. Even though I thought I might vom from the fear, it was EPIC and I would drive through another snowstorm in a heartbeat.

After the treachery of the icy mountains, the rest of the drive was pretty mundane. We crossed over on a ferry, entered into Port McPherson and stopped for something to eat at the tourist centre. Again, there’s hardly anything here, but a break was definitely required, and the local food cooked at the tourist centre was really yummy, making it worth the stop. They had bannock, soup and fish, all done on the BBQ, and they had a tipi set up that you could have a look in. One of the guys explained about putting up the tipi and told us it was his first time – pretty good for a first attempt I think!

As we were coming into Inuvik (which was to be our home for the next couple of days), we paused to stretch our legs. There was a short hike, which I opted for, turning out to be the most non-event hike of my life.

A lot of climbing and a whole load of nothing to see, apart from hella bear poo. But a selfie at the top was required all the same. Selfie game much closer to being ok point.

We arrived in the evening at Arctic Chalet, Inuvik, which was where we were staying. We had clearly interrupted the woman who runs its dinner, and she did not seem best pleased.

Apologising profusely to Judy, we were handed some keys and pointed in the direction of some wooden cabins, where snow-covered loo seats haunted my dreams.

Bonnie

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Oh snow, how I love you so

Snow today! Snow, snow, snow snow! Not gonna lie, I was praying for a snow storm all day I could go home, and I bet you were too, weren’t you? I know you were, so that question is mighty irrelevant.

I know people love to moan about the snow, but it’s really not that hard to deal with. If you can go out in it, go out in it, and if you can’t, you can’t – so stop stressin’ people. In fact, let it snow so much that the whole country comes to a grinding halt and we can just stay at home and have snowball fights in the street. And I don’t mean the kind of ‘grinding halt’ where a few trains are cancelled and delayed and we all feel like we are living in the war… I mean COMPLETE GRINDING HALT. How wonderful would that be? It would be wonderfully wonderful unless you are one of those people who hates having a free day off (weirdos).

Before I went to work I took a shameless selfie of me in the garden wearing my teddy bear hat – you can’t pass up a snow selfie, it’s not like it snows every day is it?!

I made it to work with limited trouble this morning, apart from a slightly dramatic slide over a hidden mini roundabout, which I found terribly fun despite the clear risk to life on the completely empty street. I did have a real life near death experience when I got to the car park however. I got out of the car in all the snow related regalia (teddy hat and mittens), threw my rucksack over my shoulder and started heading towards the stairs. I walked over painted white line, sneakily concealed by the snow. As my boot made contact with the hidden line, my right foot shot out in front of me. I had no control. All control was lost. I was now in some sort of lunging situation in the car park, which was embarrassing in itself, as I am certainly no seasoned lunger. I could feel the strain on my right leg. The muscles in my right thigh were screaming, and I could feel intense pressure on my knee.

Mitz

If someone came now, it would possibly be too mortifying for words, and I probably wouldn’t be able to make it through the door to work and show my face. It wouldn’t be long before someone else comes into the car park and sees me in this horrifying display of lunge. No one shall see this! No one! With Herculean effort, I managed to get my right leg back under the power of my being. I willed it back from the point of no return, to the point of safety under my body. How I did this, I will never know. It was touch and go for a while there. I saved myself from the full fall – a slip is more than enough to shit you up.

Bonnie