The warm sunny days at the beginning of our trek had given way to clouds and bitter cold. To warm up each morning, we did yoga sun salutations against a backdrop of glaciers and waterfalls -- we'd try anything to get some sunshine. But when the Arctic sun did break through it did so coyly and briefly, showing off only tantalizing glimpses of the landscape; the glistening white arm of a glacier, a few soft mounds of tundra, the seductive curve of shoreline as we made our way back towards our base camp, snowy owls hop-scotching the ridges ahead to keep an eye on us.
Our final morning on the beach opposite Pond Inlet dawned bright and sunny. As we watched Sheatie's boat weaving through distant ice chunks toward us, we finally succumbed to a temptation we had been fighting all week -- we fired off our bear-bangers into the wide blue Arctic sky.
Pack your bags
First Air, an Inuit-owned airline, has the best schedule for Nunavut flights. Ottawa to Pond Inlet is available four times weekly for $2,526 return, all taxes included. Montreal to Pond Inlet is available three times weekly for $2,715, but requires an overnight in Iqaluit. For more information, call 1-800-267-1247 or visit .
SIRMILIK NATIONAL PARK
Pond Inlet, Nunavut; 867-899-8092; www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/nu/sirmilik
Dave Reid, Polar Sea Adventures: Pond Inlet; 867-899-8870; . Polar Sea is the only company licensed to operate commercially in Sirmilik park and offers a variety of trips.
Ten-day hiking adventures cost $2,595 from Pond Inlet, $4,495 from Ottawa; departures are Aug. 8 to 17 and Aug. 22 to 31. Floe edge sled trips cost $3,995 from Pond Inlet, $5,895 from Ottawa; departures are June 17 to 25. Polar Sea also offers trips by snowmobile, cross-country ski or dog sled in the spring and sea kayaking in August and September.