Stepping Stones PDF ePub eBook

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Stepping Stones free pdf Stepping stones (Tutjat) is the Inuit name for the islands in Hudson Strait off northernmost Labrador. Further north the stepping stones continue, with Resolution Island and the Lower Savage Islands, to Baffin Island. According to legend, Inuit once followed these stepping stones and discovered people living to the north who spoke the same language and had similar customs to their own. In 1981 Nigel Foster left Baffin Island on the stepping stone route south, crossing forty miles of tidal Hudson Strait solo by kayak. Trapped by fall storms he abandoned his plan to push onward to Nain, Labrador's northernmost village, and hitch-hiked to Nova Scotia aboard an oil tanker.
In 2004 he returned to Northern Labrador with his partner Kristin Nelson, starting this time at Kuujjuaq in Ungava Bay, northern Quebec. Cramming food for five weeks into two sea kayaks they set off on their 675-mile wilderness journey soon after the ice pack melted in July.
Low-lying Ungava Bay with a tidal range on a par with the Bay of Fundy sharply contrasts Labrador, with its stark knife-edged mountains and fog-shrouded islands, yet both are true wilderness, with no roads. Empty now of people, it was not always that way. People lived here for thousands of years. You can still find their translucent chert tools and see the tell-tale circles of stones once used to pin down their summer tents. Small piles of yellow bricks from former missionary buildings, and gravestones mourning the toll of Spanish influenza, hint of more recent occupation. Yet when an early flying boat, attempting to be first to fly a northern circle route to Europe, sank off northern Labrador, Inuit there still hunted from sealskin kayaks and lived in snow houses in spring. While discarded seal blubber melted between the stones of the summer shores, decommissioned Cold War radar stations leaked PCBs into the tundra.
Dodging polar bears, probing through dense fog, and trying to predict the mountain squalls that turned their reflections into spray, Foster and Nelson adopted a timeless nomadic lifestyle that until recently was commonplace in northern Labrador. Although they encountered polar bears more frequently than people, they heard stories from Inuit hunters and townspeople, from scientists cleaning up hazardous waste and from geologists hungry for diamonds and nickel. The twenty-first century has leaped upon Labrador in the form of mining, hydroelectric power schemes, cruise ship tourism and a new National Park. The Inuit, barely used to a wage economy, are negotiating their future.
Stepping Stones is about the iridescent blue flash of Labradorite pebbles, the snaking green curtains of the aurora borealis, the boom of calving icebergs and the call of loons in the fog. It is about facing the stark reality that we are meat- what polar bears eat when they are hungry.
One day, in dense fog, Foster and Nelson met David, an old native rooted in subsistence hunting. He knew all the moods of Labrador. His hands were once calloused from handling his paddle as he hunted seals from his skin kayak. When his friend translated Foster's travel plans to him, his eyes lingered a long time on the slender fiberglass kayaks. He turned to Nelson and nodded reassurance- "You can do it!" Inside his canvas hunting tent his wife Suzie, ill with cancer, lay on jackets on the moss beside the sheet-metal stove and poured tea for them from a heavy kettle into chipped enamel mugs. This is where she wanted to spend her time- here with her husband and granddaughter, on the tundra beside the tidal rapid where they always liked to camp.
nigelkayaks.com (Foster designed the kayaks, paddles, waterproofs and paddle bags they used for the journey)
krikristudio.com (The couple drank and ate from ceramic tumblers and bowls crafted by Nelson)

About Nigel Foster

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Details Book

Author : Nigel Foster
Publisher : Outskirts Press
Data Published : 28 October 2009
ISBN : 143274528X
EAN : 9781432745288
Format Book : PDF, Epub, DOCx, TXT
Number of Pages : 280 pages
Age + : 15 years
Language : English
Rating :

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