Saturday, August 18, 2007

To the arctic...

Work has been very busy and I've been learning a ton. We have so much fieldwork to get done this year that we will likely be working in the field until late fall.
In any event, I thought I would finally get some photos posted and let you know what I've been up to. Despite having so much work to undertake this year, due to various delays (ie. snow/flooding) I didn't end up getting into the field for my first trip of the year until mid-July! But the wait was worth it. I was off to the arctic. Archaeology in the arctic is really cool (like my pun...hee hee hee).
I can't tell you what we found, work confidentiality issues since the data hasn't been realised yet, but I can tell you we found some really interesting and neat stuff. Very different archaeology than what I'm used to in BC!
The tundra is absolutely gorgeous but very rugged where we were (tons of boulder fields which we spryly skipped across followed by swamp) and the wildflowers were in bloom while we were there which was great! We saw some wildlife too...a caribou on our first day in the field. We just missed the heard by about 1 week, but there were still some stragglers. Several arctic foxes were hanging around camp, as were some arctic hares and huge ground squirrels (known locally as sic sics due to the noise they make). We also saw a wolverine one day while in the field, he was far away so didn't get a good look or photo, but boy could he run. Loads of Ptarmigan who were nesting, saw a few of their chicks and got several good frights by nearly stepping on them. They really blend in and they wait until the last possible moment to fly away. Anyway, here are a few photos for your viewing pleasure:

The gang basking in the hot arctic sun. I went prepared to wear mittens and woolies in the field but it was about 34C while we were there. We're all sporting classy bug jackets because the bugs were so bad.
Speaking of bugs, this is a shot of our Inuit assistant, Ernie, on a normal day. Yes, he had sprayed himself with bug spray a little while before, to no avail. During the days when we had no breeze, they were just terrible!
Arctic cotton on the tundra

The lone caribou on the tundra. His right back foot was lame, so I imagine he wasn't too much longer for this world. Some of the guys at camp said there were 3 grizzly bears and 2 white wolves following the heard a few days before we arrived, so I think our caribou may have ended up as someones dinner.

A nice view of camp and the lake from the esker beach near by.

Yep, that's me with my lost antler. I knew I had dropped it somewhere...

This is a shot of the big river in the area and its cobbly river bank. It was near this spot where we found some really cool stuff!

The next few photos are of some of my favourite arctic flowers, the Mountain Aven. During the 10 days were worked on this project, we saw this flower go from bud to flower, to various states of going to seed. A very short season!

These next two photos are of "sunset" at 2am. The sun never really did go down, it was such a curious and interesting phenomenon, one that required the use of an eye cover to sleep at night:

The Nunavut flag flapping in the breeze...a classic Nunavut moment.
A few of us posed in front of an Inukshuk. The bug jackets are sooooo flattering! There are even bugs in the shot to make it look authentic!


At 9:46 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ptrmigan, wolverine, foxes, hares, squirles, caribou, wolves and grizzlies that is crazy; oh I can't forget the mosquitoes. I hope this summer you get some photos of them all and you will have to try some ptrmigan eggs. I hear they taste scrumpsous. How about the flowers were any of them great for tea? Great photos. I look forward to seeing more. Later. :)


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