In his book, Tourists: How Our Fastest Growing Industry is Changing the World Larry Krotz quotes the explorer, Sir Richard Francis Burton, who writes:

Of the gladdest moments in human life methinks is the departure upon a distant journey into unknown lands. Shaking off with one mighty effort, the fetters of Habit, the leaden weight of Routine, the cloak of many cares and the slavery of Home, one feels once more happy. The blood flows with the fast circulation of childhood. . . .A journey, in fact, appeals to Imagination, to Memory, to Hope, -- the three sister graces of our moral being.

This may explain the temptation I felt when I glanced at the map of Canada to plan a trip "west" and saw the Dempster Highway. It pierces the Arctic Circle on its way to the Northwest Territories, the one province or territory of Canada that I had not yet visited. I did it. I made it to the Northwest Territories, to Inuvik and camped under the midnight sun. Was it ever strange crawling into my sleeping bag while it was still light out! Despite flat tires, a chipped windshield and a few new noises that have been added to my Swift's singing repertoire, my trip "up north" was great.

There was a lot of driving. I spent my first night camped beside Lake Nipigon, relieved to discover that all of the pieces had been included in the tent that I had purchased the evening before my departure.

Detail from Lower Lake Nipigon by William Armstrong from Lake Nipigon Provincial Park Brochure

That same tent seemed to be in the middle of a battlefield on my second night. In Churchbridge, Saskatchewan a thunder and lightning storm raged in the middle of the night. The booming thunder was virtually simultaneous with the flashes of lightning that illuminated the tent like flares. The fibreglass poles of the tent strained against the wind and I could feel the floor of the tent lifting around my air mattress. I debated making a dash for the car but decided to bury myself in my sleeping bag and let the worst happen. A gorgeous, sunny, blue-skied morning followed.




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