THE MOUNTAIN BECKONS: BAFFIN ISLAND (Arctic post #1)

Full moon over unknown mountain

Full moon over unknown mountain. Baffin Island, 1979

I have been devoting so much time to my latest passion (writing mystery/thrillers set in the Canadian wilderness) that my blog has suffered neglect. So I have decided to start a new series of short posts that will document my love affair with the Canadian Arctic and far north. What better way to start the day than by reaching into my grab bag of treasured memories and sharing them?  While I write this at 0700, I am listening to my favourite music (Beethoven Trios this morning) and reliving a moment of joy.

No photo sums up my arctic experience better than the one above. In 1979, the Alpine Club of Canada held a climbing camp at Ayr Lake near Clyde River on Baffin Island. With twenty-four-hour daylight, normal routine meant nothing, especially as we were in a wilderness that we would probably never visit again. Two other women and I left our base camp in mid day and skied into a land of magic. What lies over the next pass? Has anyone ever stood on that summit we see on the horizon? And so we continued for perhaps twenty hours. We weren’t climbing granite walls or trying to establish new routes. We just wanted to explore and experience this world that was so new and strange to us.

It was well after midnight when we saw this glacier-capped mountain in the distance, shining clear in the light of a full moon. It seemed to be issuing an invitation. And of course we had to climb it.

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