If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

N is for Caribou

Today’s post is brought to you by the letter N and the category memoirs

I suppose every person has a few good memories that stand out in their mind.  Above the crowded clusters of birthday and Christmas celebrations.  A little higher than the first kiss and the first car.  Even better than maybe your wedding?  Well, don’t tell your spouse that.

One of my most special memories was the day I flew to the territory of Nunavik, Quebec.

I was with my father and several of our friends.  We were on a remote hunt for the tundra travelling caribou. 

Our first leg of the journey was a drive to Montreal from our home state of Michigan.  From Montreal, we flew a big plane to the little town of Kuujjuaq.  From Kuujjuaq we boarded a float plane and flew to a remote outpost camp.

For three days, we searched high and low for the elusive caribou but none were to be found.  It seemed that the herd had not migrated this far north yet.

With some mild persuasion and possibly the threat of a good ass whipping the outfitter decided to move us to a camp where there was caribou.  So we packed all of our gear and hopped aboard a plane.  The first flight was just for the 6 of us guys and our rifles.  The second flight brought the remaining gear/luggage. 

We arrived at the new camp only to find that they didn’t even have a place for us to sleep.  They still had to fly in the materials to build us a bunk tent.  So with nothing better to do, me and my father and our friend Chris ventured out into the tundra to search for the caribou.

The tundra is an amazing place.  We were far enough north that there were zero trees.  Only scrubby bushes about knee high scattered about.  Mostly it was a vast rolling plain made up of mosses and lichens.  Large boulders and rocky gorges dotted the landscape and you could see for miles and miles.  It was breathtaking.

I have never seen anything like it.  Clad in hiking boots, blue jeans and a lightweight jacket we stalked to within shooting distance of our targets.
On the count of three the shots rang out and we high fived each other as the caribou fell swiftly to the ground.

The memories of that week will be forever etched in my mind.  It wasn’t because of the success we had although the fishing and hunting was immeasurable.  It was the comradery, the chase and being alive in such a wondrous place.

I think I was 19 at the time.  21 long years ago and I still remember almost every detail.


  1. I bet it was amazing to see. There's something about being able to see for miles and miles. I remember that well from living in Arizona.
    Have you ever gone back?

    1. I have not gone back sadly. For one, that was an extremely expensive trip and for two I would probably try another experience before a second attempt at this one.

  2. Those are mighty big antlers! I can see how it would make an impression on you at the age you were at the time. All I can think about was how cold it might be out in the elements like that.


    1. At that time of the year, it was not cold but the bugs were insane if you stepped out of the wind. That is the one constant up there, wind.

  3. There are some things that are permanently etched in our minds. The best part is when those are of times that totally took us to the moon and back. This sounds like one of those epic occasions. Beautiful landscape.

    1. It was so alien to my eyes that I was in a constant state of wonderment.

  4. That looks JUST LIKE Iceland. I know what you mean about beautiful it is.
    BTW: nice hat.


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