Saturday night - we've just come back from an evening of hiking, fishing and BBQing at nearby Salmon Creek. It's been a busy couple of days at the clinic. We've had a total of ten surgeries over the past two days, along with vaccinations and dewormings of many sled dogs and a few pet dogs. We usually send two or three team members to do the visits outside of the clinic and the rest of the team stays behind to do the surgeries. These visits are a great opportunity to get some fresh air and enjoy the beauty of Pond Inlet. Pond Inlet truly deserves its name "The Jewel of the North". It's a small community with much of the town perched up on a hilltop. Everywhere in town has a wonderful view comprising of either arctic tundra, snowcapped mountains from Bylot Island, or the ocean with icebergs in the distance. Pond Inlet is a typical northern town. All of the houses are built above ground due to the permafrost, which means there are no basements for storage. Outside almost every home you will see fishing boats, dogsleds, snowmobiles and more, haphazardly dotting the landscape. There are many different dirt roads in Pond Inlet and all the houses have very orderly street numbers, but none of the roads have names. It doesn't seem to be a problem because Pond Inlet is quite small, so most people know where everything is. Most people in town drive around in either pick up trucks or ATVs. Most of the sled dog teams are kept on long chains by the beach. Much of their diet is seal meat, so it makes it easier for their owners to feed them if they are close to the water.
On Friday evening, Allison, Stephanie and Ashley met up with our hosts, Debbie and Dave, to go on a hike across the arctic tundra. We didn't set out until after 10 pm and it was close to midnight when we got back. The weather was beautiful and it was wonderful to hike amongst the wildflowers and the cotton grass. When we got back, Debbie and Dave invited Matt and Ainsley and our other team members, Kris and Kim over to their home. We had an opportunity to look at some the Inuit art Debbie has bought. She has some beautiful carvings from various local artists. She also showed us mittens that are handmade by a local woman, Sheeba. We decided we would ask Sheeba if she could make us each a pair as well. Unfortunately, we could not stay as long as we would have liked. We were having a great time, but although it was the weekend for our hosts, the CAAT team had an appointment scheduled for 9 am. We walked back just before 2 am and still saw a few kids out by the creek on our way home!
This evening after work, Debbie stopped by the house to lead the hike to Salmon Creek. The hike, once again, showcased the spectacular scenery of this area. It is great to have Debbie as a host because she is a cariboo biologist, so is very familiar with the area through her work, plus she has boundless energy and enthusiasm. We met up with Dave, Matt and Ainsley at the campsite at Salmon Creek. We all tried our hand at fishing for Arctic Char. The fish weren't biting, but a local fisherman named Simon had set up a net and caught over a dozen Char in a very short time period. We had a great time at Salmon River, despite the mosquitos the size of dragonflies. After a delicious BBQed meal of Arctic Char, curried pasta with vegetables, and foil-steamed veggies, we set off with Debbie again to hike further down to Salmon River. We had a very steep climb up to a high ridge so we could get a nice view and then hiked down again to reach Salmon River before hiking back along the beach to Salmon Creek. We were all tired by this point and still had to go to the clinic the next day, so we all got rides back to town.