Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Mud: the Spring of the North

Here it is, mid-April, and while the rest of the country is prepping their lawns with fertilizer and planting the first annual bulbs of their gardens, we here in Baker Lake are witnessing significant changes as well. Granted, the landscape is still a near-uniform white, and the temperature has yet to reach above zero, but there are differences now that spring is in full-force. Obviously, we don't possess the same markers as you Southerners; namely, trees and similar greenery re-acquiring their leaves, and birds tweeting (birds have always been the original tweeters, and would have made a fortune if they had copy written the term), and rain.

While Baker Lake is home to our beloved, if slightly stupid, seagull variant known as Ptarmigan (or "Ptasty", depending on who you ask), they do not show up until late May, and are not known for their melodic harmonies. Instead of birds, we look forward to the low buzzing hum, generated by the wings of hundreds of thousands of mosquitoes and black flies. Actually, we won't have to endure that terrible affliction until summer, or mid-August. No, the subtle maneuverings of Mother Nature in Baker Lake consist chiefly of longer days, cold weather, and mud. The roads are already starting to soften and things are getting messy around here.

We are still a tad too chilly for rain, but with the days growing longer, the sun is working mightily to melt the snow off our roofs, and transform our once-winter-picturesque community into a churning, muddy morass. Gone are the insulated, 20lbs boots, and out come the galoshes. It is finally warm enough to take Pepper on outdoor walks, but we make him wear his booties, which he understandably detests, but they are super cute, and more importantly, make cleanup of a muddy canine much easier. As mentioned, the days are also lengthening, and we now see dusk at around 9pm. It's 7:30pm as I type this, and it's as sunny as it was 4 hours ago.

It's a welcome change over dark days and unbearable cold. Though, a sobering warning from a local reminded us that we shouldn't get too excited just yet; more winter will be coming (our last blizzard last year was in June). For now, we'll take our extended days and enjoy them while we can.



  1. Certainly brings back memories. Arctic Bay is on the side of a hill so runoff wasn't a big issue....unless you lived at the bottom I suppose. But I do remember all the mini-tranches people would scrape in the gravel to drain away run-off when I lived in Qikiqtarjuaq.

    1. There is something to be said for the cold - at least it keeps things cleaner! I will take frozen dirt and snow over wet, sticky, splashy mud any day!