Started off today with our daily expedition looking for bears. Very good morning, seeing 5 bears! One was sleeping on the ice near the shore. Two were wrestling/playing on a ridge. All of the bears are waiting for the ice on the Hudson Bay to freeze so they can head north for hunting. We can see everyday that they ice covering more and more of the area.
We went to Cape Merry and two park rangers escorted us (They had to escort us because there was a bear out there, so one ranger gave the historical talk and the other was in charge of the shotgun) out to the battery (a walled area where you parked your cannons to protect your spots) and we could look out to the remains of Prince of Wales Fort, which is a remnant of the British and French battle for control of the fur trade in the region. The day was very cold, as they all have been and I was imagining what it was like for those early European settlers from the Hudson Bay Company during that first November. What must they have thought about that cold bleak landscape and all of the sudden, all those bears moving through?
The highlight of the day was a dogsled ride! We met Dave who was a funny, smart guy who owns about 30 dogs. He explained about their training and safekeeping. Not everyone cares for their dogs like he does. He really sees them as athletes and also loving creatures. He is the alpha dog and the dogs are very attentive to him. If they misbehave he nips them on the nose, just like an adult dog would do to a pup.
After he gave us a nice talk, we then went out to see the puppies and the dogs. Then, the ride! We got to go on a mile long trip, two people to each sled. It was so awesome! Fast and quiet! It was so neat to see the area in that way.
This evening Jim gave us the usual talk, but especially exciting was when he told us about his expedition in 1976 with 9 other people, where they traveled by boat and by foot along the Greenland coast looking for Inuit tribes. It was a harrowing 90 days with moments of serious jeopardy. He is a great storyteller!