A LONELY SHORE: NUNALIK SPIT (Arctic Post #2)

Nunalik Spit, 2015

Nunalik Spit, Yukon, 2015

In the northwest corner of the Yukon, where the Firth River Delta meets the Beaufort Sea, lies a narrow strip of land called Nunalik Spit. Scoured by winds so strong that driftwood shelters have been built to protect the tents of the few hardy souls who visit during the brief summer, this barren spit seems to offer little that would justify my love for it. It’s cold, wet and monochrome, with a view that stretches unbroken to the horizon. And yet…

I turn my eyes to the ground as I walk, and eventually am rewarded. An arctic bladder pod! Farther on, a patch of ground-hugging sandwort. How can anything so fragile live here? These tiny flowers survive unprotected while I draw my parka tighter around me and wait for the Twin Otter that will whisk me away to warmth and a soft bed.

To me, much of the lure of the Arctic is the challenge it presents to life, whether it be a flower that stubbornly thrusts its roots into a gravel beach, or a human who leaves comforts behind and steps into a world where nature wields a ruthless power. And yes, I also find haunting beauty in the scene above.

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