Picked up one of those 1001 places to see before you die booksfor $2 at a library sale this weekend and it got us thinking, do we have the discipline and stamina to post all 1001 places? Assuming we consistently posted 7 days a week, it would take us 2.5 years. Problem is, we lack all these things; consistency, discipline, and stamina. Nevertheless, we're going to give it a shot. Our guess is we peter out at 50, 75 max. Anyway, first on the list is Ellesmere Island, in Nunavut, Canada. It's the 10th largest island in the world, 300 miles wide by 500 miles long (500 km wide by 800 km long), covering an area of 75,767 square miles.
Because of it's remoteness, 800 kilometres
from the North Pole and 25 kilometres from Greenland, it's one of the world's last great wildernesses. Lets be honest, how many people out there have ever even heard of Ellesmere Island before today? We hadn't, until we read it in the book. We'll admit it. But we can read and paraphrase pretty well, and it sounds nice and outdoorsy. Cold and remote, but you'll still probably find some nice hikes, one or two good places to kayak. Maybe snap a few good photos. Plus no tourist crowds.
As you would expect on an island in the Arctic circle, Ellesmere Island offers spectacular
mountain scenery, massive glaciers, fiords, and ice shelves extending out into the sea. It's loaded with Arctic wildlife including caribou, polar bear, narwhals, walrus, seal, so you shouldn't go hungry if you know how to hunt with a spear Inuit style. That's a joke, you probably shouldn't kill off the wildlife, unless of course your fighting for survival after your Arctic expedition goes awry. Then maybe it's ok.
If you're considering a visit to Ellesmere Island, start with Quttinirpaaq National Park. Big question for us as we looked at this destination was, how the hell do you get to Ellesmere Island? If you have $14,000 laying around you could go on a tour of Ellesmere Island with Quark Expeditions. If you're equally loaded, you can get a charter flight out of Resolute, Nunavut, Canada. Couple charters that work the frozen north including Ellesmere Island are First Air and Unaalik Aviation. For a mere $30,000 you can get in:
From Resolute Bay, you must charter an aircraft to get to the park. It
is a four-hour flight by Twin Otter to the park from Resolute Bay. A
Twin Otter aircraft charter to Tanquary Fiord or Lake Hazen, is
approximately $15,000 one-way. However, you will need two flights, one
to go to the park and another to come out for a total cost of around
$30,000! A Twin Otter is capable of carrying a load of from 1000 - 1200
kg, which is equal to the weight of eight to ten people with gear. You
should try to co-ordinate your trip to the park with other travellers,
to reduce your charter costs.
Otherwise, man up and kayak over there. Let us know how it went.