Letters from the Arctic

Friday, April 5th: The Beginning – the Akshayuk Pass


This is the most exciting and quite possibly the most treacherous day. The first two miles are the place where we’re most likely to meet polar bears. The danger is real because the bears are out looking for seal meat to feed their young and we’ll be starting at the northern end of the park and working our way south.

This day will be snowshoeing North Pangnirtung and heading to Owl River.

The word “Auyuittuq” (the Akshayuk Pass is in Auyuittuq National Park) is an Inuktitut word meaning “the land that never melts”.


TEMPERATURE:  4°F but feels like – 2 °F with the wind. 


“The Akshayuk Pass is a stunning ancient riverbed for the Owl and Weasel rivers, which are fed by dozens of glaciers running into the valley below. There are a couple of options for the hike; either north to south from Qikiqtarjuaq to Pangnirtung (which is what the Baffin 2019 team is doing) or an in and out to Summit Lake from the south. Travel to the park from either of these two towns is by boat in the summer via the Pangnirtung and North Pangnirtung Fiords.”

The Akshayuk Pass is the “land that never melts” because it’s covered by the Penny Ice Cap. This Glacier is approximately 6000 km2, covering more ground than Prince Edward Island! It is a remnant of the Laurentide ice sheet that once covered most of North America. The park is also home to peaks and valleys of the Arctic Cordillera Mountain Range which are stunning.

Rose McInerney

Author Rose McInerney

Rose combines her love of all things artfully-designed to connect women to a shared community of learning and a richer, more fulfilled self. As a passionate storyteller, published writer, and international traveler, Rose believes women can build a better world through powerful storytelling.

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