I came to Nunavut in 2015 for an experience simply due, to a cooking job. The territory interested me I suppose, but can’t say I ever put much thought into visiting. While work brought me to Nunavut, I returned for many other reasons.
The landscape alone blew me away. Glacial carved mountains, rugged yet pristine. Untouched vistas that inspire the imagination and lead you to believe you’re the only one to have laid eyes on such a vastly unknown beauty.
As the endless summer days begin, and the snow and sea ice retreat, the land transforms. Wildflowers begin to bloom, while the different shades of moss and lichen paint the ground like an abstract painting. As the inlets and sounds start to flow once more, this sparks the annual migration of many. A feast for some, yet a struggle for others. It is a short season before the cold darkness returns.
Coming here renewed my love of wildlife. I watched the near mythical narwhal dive feet in front of me at the floe edge. I had my first encounter with the King of the Arctic, the beloved polar bear. I crept up on walrus until they steam rolled off their shrinking chunk of sea ice. I listened to the cacophony of thousands of migratory birds nesting on the cliffs.
All of these moments are engrained in my mind.
These captivating experiences generated a unique sense of yearning I had never felt before. It was addictive in a way, as I played the one sided game. Wildlife with their own set of rules, it was a game of patience with great rewards.
The people I have met will always stick with me. Greeted with smiles, hellos, children waving and a willingness to lend a hand, I felt welcome in a place I was clearly not from. As I grew to know some locals, I noticed Inuit are often of few words, but never hesitant to share a laugh. A resilient group that have survived for countless generations in one of the harshest, most unforgiving climates this earth has to offer. Most of all though, they are fiercely proud of their culture and traditions working tirelessly to preserve what should not be forgotten, in an ever changing world.
Not a moment is missed as Inuksuk watch over the land, from hill and mountain tops, far and wide. Each time I return, the land offers me something new that leaves me filled with awe and wonder. I can’t wait to get back again.
From an outsider looking in,
Chef at Arctic Kingdom, Writer at Edible Adventure Travel