The climbing trip morphed into a road trip north which ultimately led us up to the end of the Dempster Highway to Inuvik, NWT. Being greedy wanderlust road brats, we pushed even further north and onto the ice road to Tuktoyaktuk when the Delica conked out. We took it as a sign to stick around for a while. So we got jobs, a mortgage and a couple of puppies.
Ok, so I skipped a bunch of details but it’s pretty much what happened.
This is apparently not an unusual occurrence up here. Ask any ex-pat how they ended up here. The story usually begins, “Well, I came up for a 6 month contract...” or , “ I followed my boyfriend/girlfriend at that time up here...” or “I was hitching a ride with this reindeer herder...”and it usually ends with “...and that was 18 years ago."
In case you're wondering, Inuvik is at the northwestern corner of the Northwest Territories, a no frills town admist the labyrinth of lakes and waterways known as the Mackenzie Delta:
Life in the arctic runs on ‘make do’ culture. You rarely have everything you want, when you want it or all together at the same time. However, you’ll find that you have what you need, or at least, the raw materials to improvise something and make do for now. The most surprising things show up when you least expect it.
This is especially the case when it comes to food up here. I have no problem finding organic quinoa or salted duck eggs but its hit and miss when I’m looking for regular oats and oyster sauce.
Mochiko? Aisle 3.
Whole grain flour? Nope, try again next week.
You just have to learn to improvise and stretch your culinary muscles. It also helps to have a nice big pantry so you can stockpile bags of whole grain flour when it does show up :)
Better yet, the land and water around here is nature’s grocery store. Needless to say, we quickly fell in love with the bounty that the arctic has to offer throughout the year. Through hunting, foraging , fishing, growing and bartering, we’ve been filling our pots with some pretty good grub.
Come back for more tasty bits of our arctic adventure!
(me and stew pot critters)