It was fitting that we should stay here

Hello,  David and Richard here. It’s Monday afternoon. We are still at Point de la Guiche. Thinking on it, it just seemed natural and appropriate, having come all this way to honour Rae, we should stay for a bit, in awe and appreciation for where we now are.

So we made the decision to camp here, less than 50 feet from John Rae’s cairn for a couple of days. It gives us a chance to rest, recoup our inner resources and to administer some essential repairs to fingers and toes. Can you tell we are resting?

Windy and cold right now. So back to normal you might say.  Yesterday, Sunday… was uncharacteristically warm. Perhaps the warmest day of the entire month. We found it very odd, that for one day, totally unexpected as it was, that suddenly we were basking in -15C, not the usual -30C, or worse, that we’d experienced the entire trip. It felt strange, to be so warm. But also a bit of a relief. We were able to take photos and relax.

In consultation with the hunters in Gjoa Haven, it is likely that they will pick us up  tomorrow. The conditions at this point in time look to be favourable. We were also informed that the community has organized a get-together for Wednesday — so that we might enjoy an evening of Inuit hospitality and the closing of this chapter of the Arctic Return story.

It is important to us, that Gjoa Haven receives the recognition it deserves, given the discovery of the Terror and the Erebus, only a few short years ago, and also for its significant place in the fabric of Canada’s Arctic history, one so irrevocably woven into the dramatic narratives of the 19th Century, those of: John Rae, the search for Franklin, and the quest to discover the Northwest Passage.

Richard and I are looking forward to Wednesday so that we will be able to extend our sincere appreciation to the people of Gjoa Haven for their community’s contribution and the proud place it holds in Arctic history, one that is still so very relevant in contemporary times.

A BIG BIG SHOUTOUT GOES TO: Everyone at St. Nicholas Primary School in Broxburn, Scotland; Stromness Primary School, in Orkney; and Hope School, also in Orkney. The children and staff of all three schools have shown great enthusiasm in their support of the Arctic Return Expedition. 

In particular, it is you, the children of these three wonderful schools, that we really, really wish to thank, for the flags created from the posters you had all made.  We carried them proudly on this journey.

When the going got difficult, having your flags, lifted our spirits often. We’ve taken pictures of them today, flying next to the plaque that was placed here 20 years ago to honour the great Orcadian, John Rae and his companions. Your flags now honour him too, at Point de la Guiche. You are here with him and with us. Thank you!!

It really feels that we are wrapping up this portion of the project. We’ll be talking to the hunters in Gjoa Haven again tonight, just to confirm things for tomorrow.

It felt weird not to be dragging the sleds again…but, uh…maybe Richard and I will just drag them around for an hour or two, for no other reason than we miss it!  All is well.

David and Richard, signing off, Monday, April 29.

The Arctic Return team sends its profound thanks to RICS, Adventure Canada, Canada Goose. Without your help as major sponsors, and the help of our other sponsors, our project to shine an international light upon John Rae’s historic achievements in the Canadian Arctic, would never have been realized. Thank you!