June 02, 2010

Mt Duval...again.

Now that my parents have left and my qiniq subscription has been renewed, I have no more reason to stay away from this blog. You see, both of my parents had blogs to tend to when they were here and, when they weren't keeping in touch with the outside world, we were out doing things. This meant that I was able to go ages without logging in. Oops!

Ok, ok...I guess the last journey out was, again, to the tip of Mount Duval. As long-term readers might remember, I made it to the peak last August; it was the first time I was really able to appreciate the beauty of this place. I think I had been in Pang for about 4 or 5 days, and the panarama from up there was literally breathtaking. Up there, with the solitary road snaking hundreds of feet below, was definitely a new experiece...I've never really lived around mountains before.

Now, although the journey 10 months ago was excruciatingly steep (we missed the fact that there was a more gradual ascent in the back), this year there were other challenges to face. I was convinced that it would be easier now that I knew about the alternate path...I was sorely disappointed. Instead of the 4 hours it took last August, it took us 7 hours to complete the trip; thank god for PB and J sandwiches! This (on the right) is what most of the climb looked like...if you look really carefully at that picture, you can see me and the tiny figure of my dad farther along. Huge chunks of rocks everywhere. When this wasn't the view, then this was the view...
Isn't this an amazing view of Cumberland Sound and Pangnirtung from above? Beautiful. Although I'll be in Qikiqtarjuaq at this time next year, I think this is a picture that will stay with me. Pang has such a distinctive look (for me, at least), that it will be forever in my mind. Check it out...have you ever seen such a small chunk of land spliced with a teeny tiny airstrip which takes nerves of steel to land on? Seriously? There's nothing like the flight into Pang.

Anyway, back to the hike. Heading to the summit was so discouraging at times! We would be heading along a promising path until, all of a sudden, we were cut off with swathes of waist-deep snow. This led to a fair amount of doubling back and trying to find an alternate route. My parents were hell-bent on making it to the top, though, so I kept going with my mouth shut when my muscles started their husky mountain yodeling. It was always "just one more ridge". For anyone who's tried to climb it - which excludes a surprising number of locals - this frustrating characteristic is realized very soon. Just when you think you're almost at the top you reach a point which introduces a whole new stack of rocks to climb.

We did make it though...

Mom and dad got some awesome yoga pose pictures but, unfortunately, my camera died on the ridge below; I still have to scam the ones I like from my dad's new digital wonder.

Once we reached the top and drank some fantastic crystal clear water we scooped up from a stream, we had to face the daunting descent. Let me tell you: I was not looking forward to so much back tracking and circling. My feet and ankles hurt, my body was so tired, and all I could think of was the ton of homework I had to complete for the following day. So we took a few shortcuts. Yes, that's a picture of me sliding head-first down a patch of snow on a garbage bag. Now, the first time I tried this, it was great...with a smooth swoosh I was at the bottom. Somehow, though, the snow was different here and all I could do is pull myself along with my arms. I was laughing so hard I thought I wouldn't be able to make it past the first few meters.

That's Mount Duval on a beautiful Victoria Day weekend...I can't wait to see what Qik has to offer in the way of hiking opportunities!


chris said...

Great post Tara It brought the day back for me and a flood of memories of a most wonderful view. Pictures could never capture the warmth of the sun, the scope of the vista or just the smell of the tundra...good to see you back.

Wayne + Trish said...

Went through most of your posts in Pang, thanks for taking the time, I enjoyed the read and your insights .