Skiing and fishing at Lake Five

My headache was getting worse. I was scavenging through the bags to check again whether we had actually left the dry food bag home. Yup, no doubt about it. No coffee this morning. Epic fail.

It's especially bad when you are on the land because you are typically a little groggier than normal in the mornings. I was groggier than normal that morning. Typical. Everybody who drinks coffee says they need their coffee in the mornings and they're absolutely right. It has nothing to do with coffee addiction: a human being is designed to have a large cup of dark roasted coffee in order to function.

Lake Five is just another quite unremarkable lake. It doesn't even have a real name but for this story's sake I will call it Lake Five. It's roughly the fifth lake when counting all the lakes up from Kuulik. We had returned to the area due to its above-average snowfall which we had discovered one week before on a trip to Iqalukjuak.

Our overnight trip plan included a day for skiing and a day for fishing. Next to the lake there were several moderate peaks to ascend on skis. There were exposed rocks but the snow was soft, light and of high quality, overall. As our skiing peak we chose one to the east of the lake. We started the ascent directly from the tent, slowly heaving ourselves up the mountain. I wasn't feeling quite as strong as last year because we hadn't done as much skiing. The snow just hadn't been there this winter. Also, normally we ski up on hard snow.

After some arguments on route selection (that's how our relationship started several years back), I got my way (she was grumpy at me, though) and we traversed through some gullies and moderately steep faces up towards the top slopes. The day was sunny and brilliant, warm. Closer to the top, however, temperatures started cooling down because of higher altitude and winds. Our turnaround point was maybe 600-700 m up from the lake, which gave us a nice long run.

Generally speaking, the conditions were possibly the best I've skied in close to Pangnirtung. I had found good snow here and there, but at Lake Five, everywhere was good. I could have hoped for a little more snow higher up but lower down there were some "movie moments". And all the way down the snow remained consistent.

(Remember that we are not talking in Revelstoke terms here. It's Baffin. You still scratch your skis on rocks.)

The night was cozy at the tent. We heated up Kauko-Lämpö, our wood stove from Sweden that we bought from our friend Kauko. I had forgotten half of our food home but at least I had packed some pork sirloin. We slept like little pigs after eating.

After a well-slept night and a coffeeless morning, we drilled a few holes in a random spot at the lake. We had no idea whether there were fish or whether they were going to bite. All we knew was that if there were fish, they would be land-locked char (i.e. do not migrate to the ocean in the summers). You don't need to use the yanking technique with them when fishing; all you need to do is bait your lure and move it around until somebody comes and swallows the goods. And that's exactly what happened after 15 minutes of fishing: up came a skinny three-pounder. It was quite brown and not very pretty. But it was a fish. And hungry.

Soon after Delia got the first one, I lost my lure to another fish. The fish was not that big but my line had a weak spot in it. The fish in that lake seemed to be starving: this guy swam directly to Delia's hole, wearing my lure on its mouth, and gulped hers. Up came our second fish with two lures in the mouth! This one was another skinny char.

We were content. Clearly the lake had fish, that's all we wanted to know. We headed home where I promptly made coffee.

The (very happy) End.

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First Weekend Ski

Last year our first ski was the last weekend in October. This year the ice and snow came very late to Pangnirtung, and our first ski was at the very end of January. We would have been better off walking!

Markus and our neighbour's dog Freya (aka Chompers), enjoying the first ski of the year.

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Mt. Lapin Lisä

Last weekend I skied up to Mt. Noname, which I'm now going to call Mt. Lapin Lisä (I'll explain it later). The peak on the other side of the fiord was over 1100 m from sealevel which is where I started because I wanted to see if I could suffer through it. There was an easier way.

I spotted a pretty hot-looking coulouir from the top and took a chance skiing down it. I didn't really know whether it was going to be a dead end or not. Well, it kind of was (ice falls) but still the skiing was brilliant. It took me over 20 km and nearly seven hours to complete this trip. I didn't have enough water, my skins broke, and I ran out of time and granola bars. In other words, a hell of a day.

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