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In the land of the shape-shifters

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I have convinced Neil to abandon our important fall chores of hunting, building and berry picking to head north to the Arctic Ocean in search of pingos.
Poor Homer got left behind in Dawson. He knew what was coming
Setting off

I couldn’t spend another year in the far north without seeing a pingo. It’s hard for us to travel. The river’s either freezing or breaking and we can’t get off our property, or the truck’s in the wrong place, or snowed in or something’s going on. So unless a pingo wanders past the house during its annual migration, we’ll have to go to them.




We packed up our camping gear and drove all the way to Tuktoyaktuk on the Beaufort Sea, where pingos graze on the golden tundra.
Pingos in the wild
No they don’t. Pingos are land forms, conical hills that are created when a pool of ground water sits on the permafrost and freezes slowly, pushing the land above it into a mound that stands up off the tundra in a boob-like hump. The country is so flat here, and so damn wide, that…

Welcome to the jungle

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I’ve been out for a month and everything has gone mad in my absence. The plants in the yard have grown by feet. Our poor lettuce, beans and peas in the garden are struggling for life amidst towering fireweed and a carpet of chickweed. Our trails are lost to a swaying mass of greenery.

Homer is the only thing that has got smaller. He is blowing his winter coat at long last, after suffering nearly 3 months of 30 degree heat and just in time for autumn. He’s always behind the curve, poor thing.

The dense foliage hides all manner of things. We had a grizzly bear behind the outhouse last week and couldn’t even see it. Luckily Homer pointed it out with a few loud barks. All we could see was trashing greenery and if it weren’t for the prints on the beach we’d have had no idea what the visitor was beyond a very large thing (see footnote).


Neil has not grown or gone mad despite being home-alone for a fortnight. He has set up a consultancy business, which posed a few problems when he had to …