The snow has arrived. It arrived one night. Beginning at the top of the dark shale cliffs as if they were covered with frosting. Then a strong cold breeze drifted throughout the community, followed by giant flakes falling from the sky. The ground was instantly covered. The ocean turned from a welcoming dark blue, to an eerie shade of grey. The waves began to strike the coastline with layers of ice forcing themselves upwards to the community. The temperatures have quickly dropped from late fall chills to dramatic lows. Winter is only just beginning.
I woke up that morning and realized that people were now driving around on their snowmobiles, rather than the four-wheelers that typically brush up the dust on the rocky roads of Ulukahktok, NWT. Most people down in the southern parts of Canada really dislike the winter. Here the common phrase is “Its only just getting nice out”. You can feel the population slowly sneak out of their houses and bask in the winter sun. Personally, I choose to embrace the winter, the snow, the cold. Running in winter can be fun. You just have to understand how to make your own tracks.
While trudging through the snow with a 90 km/h headwind following your own tracks can be difficult. So you literally have to go with the flow. Here, there are only a few roads. There is Main Road and Airport Road. Together they form the 10 km circumference of the community. However, there are snowmobile trails and my personal favorite fox tracks. While running sometimes you get into a grove but here you always have to be alert. At any instant there can be danger up ahead. Whether it be a large cloud progressing towards you or a howl in the distance. While following fox tracks can be dangerous if you follow the right ones they will lead you to shallow drifts of snow.
Following these tracks have lead me to some really amazing sites. Lookouts over the Arctic ocean, across the glaciated landscape, through the copper valleys and off the rock shell cliffs. They have also lead me to some new friendships and stories created by our adventures ‘over that slippery slope’ or ‘that ice trip into that really bad weather’. These new adventures remind me of the days I have spent training back home through what I thought at the time was snowy. As I continue my runs up here I always think of the great adventures I have had with the simple act of running in the snow.
By Geneviève Lalonde
A collection of stories and tales. Reminiscing the past and exploring the future.