The Elusive Caribou: Fall on The Dempster

Fall has descended upon the north, it came fast and almost without warning. After a few days of rain, suddenly the sunny days weren't so sunny and a the air carried a chill instead of sweltering heat. Two weeks later and the suddenly the leaves are orange, gold, red and all shades in between.

One day Terry say "We are going to out on the Dempster this weekend and try to get a Caribou. Wanna go?", he doesn't really wait for a reply before saying "Bring your camera."

There isn't much to tell about the trip, we didn't get a caribou,  nobody got mauled by grizzly bears, and I got a good dose of incredible nature. We did get some ptarmigan (wild chicken, for those who don't know), they were damn tasty and had been gorging themselves on wild blueberries.

I feel it's worth mentioning something about caribou hunting up here. I have talked to multiple people that were robbed by grizzly bears, no not mauled, robbed! Apparently the bears along the Dempster have learned that the sound of a rifle shot means dinnertime, when they hear one they come running! I have talked to several people in these parts that have shot a caribou only to watch helplessly as a grizzly comes in and munches on it. It's a wild and interesting place.

Here are some photo's from the trip.

A Scenic Vista Between Tsiigehtchic And Fort McPhereson

Mountains At Last!

Fall On The Dempster

More Fall Colors

These Suckers Are Responsible For Much Of The Red Color

Close-Up Action Of Red Leafy Plants

Lichens, They Come In All Sorts of Colors

Incomprehensibly Vast, No Really!

Evening Sun Near The Yukon/Northwest Territories Border
Hiked Up A Mountain The Next Morning, Here's A Sunset

Sunrise Over A Lonely Rock

Terry Scanning For Caribou

Just Chillin' On A Mountain Top

See That Antenna Thing? That's Inuvik's Internet!

Note: There are actually a series of microwave towers all the way down the Dempster, they carry all the internet (and I believe phone) communications across the Tundra.

Morning Sun On The Hills

A Bear's Breakfast
Note: There were what's left of a few skins and gut piles scattered around up here. If you look close you can see that the tips of the horn's were chewed off in this picture, likely a grizzly came and cleaned up the hunters leftovers.

Ptarmigan (AKA Tasty Tasty Wild Chicken)

Really Cool Rock Formations

Time To Head Home, A View From The Ferry Up The Mackenzie River

About The Wilderness Up Here
   It's a fascinating place out there, you look out at the hills around you and the distances look so close, the hills so smooth. But it isn't close at all, the massive scale of the place plays tricks on your eyes. The top of one of those hills, seemingly a few hundred feet away would take you all day to reach. The air is so clean out here that the atmospheric haze that makes distance objects look misty and blue is many times farther away than most places I have visited in the past, that and the lack of trees takes away the usual reference points you would use to calculate the scale. Its vast, in the truest sense of the word.

    Walking out here is a nightmare, I headed out on the tundra a few times during this trip and although it looks smooth in the distance most places are actually a jumble of basketball-sized rocks covered in lichens and spongy moss where every step you take is either solid ground or a soggy pit over a foot deep. It's a nightmare to walk across even with proper hiking gear.

Well, that's it for now. Well see what winter brings...


Popular Posts