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Nunavut's Bathurst Inlet Lodge has lots of everything - except people

By Margo Pfeiff
  Seals pop up from the inlet like periscopes around your kayak. Caribou chomp tundra greens and ground squirrels race through wildflowers under the midnight sun. Is that thunder or the thundering hooves of muskox on the move? Trek to the world's highest Arctic waterfall, canoe the Burnside River or explore ancient Thule campsites. It doesn't get any more out-there than Nunavut's smallest community 64 km (40 mi) north of the Arctic Circle. Barren-grounds caribou population: 500,000. Human population: roughly 25, depending on who's home. And July is the best time to go.
     Bathurst Inlet is a tiny, waterfront cluster that appears after about a two-hour flight from Yellowknife, NWT. There are just the seven houses of local folk, plus Bathurst Inlet Lodge. At the lodge, you either bed down in rustic comfort in the old church from an old Oblate Mission or in the historic buildings of a former Hudson's Bay Company trading post.
     The accommodations broke new ground at the outset: an eco-lodge since 1969, Bathurst Inlet Lodge has always been run and jointly owned by its founder, a veteran Arctic Mountie, and two families: the Warners and the Inuit Kapolaks. Mingle with the Kapolaks-it's a rare opportunity to get to know Inuit people. After a day out on the land with Allen or Sam Kapolak, chief guides and boat captain on the "Blue Loo" inlet cruiser, you'll find his wife Susie has filled the lodge with the aroma of fresh Arctic char and homemade desserts. Afterwards, in the lounge, ask anything -what's the secret to a quality igloo?-or toss your self-consciousness aside and try traditional throat singing.
     Not far enough out there? Go really bush at one of the lodge's outpost camps; go fishing, watch icebergs melt or simply howl at the moon.

Award-winning, Montréal, QC-based freelance writer and photographer Margo Pfeiff's work has appeared in Reader's Digest (books and magazines), GEO, Better Homes and Gardens, Time-Life books, Canadian Geographic, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, The Dallas Morning News, Montréal Gazette, National Post, The Globe and Mail and Cathay Pacific's Discovery magazine.

Photo Credit & Article:
courtesy, Canadian Tourism Commission

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