to the Torngat Mountains
16: Friday, August 24
The flight home
Last night was my
worst night out camping yet, ever. I did not start falling
asleep until around 5:00 a.m., after spending most of the
night watching the tent walls squeeze in around us and supporting
the poles with one hand when the wind threatened to flatten
the tent completely. Went out twice during the night to check
the guylines. Each time the gusts died down, I allowed myself
false hopes that the wind was settling down. But they were
just that: false hopes. When it started up again, it seemed
to grow in strength and duration. What a lousy night.
I get out of the tent at 8:30 to a somewhat milder wind, relatively
speaking. The tent is full of sand and so are my eyes and
ears. Casualties this morning: my tent has two broken guylines
(from rubbing against the rock piles), one torn vestibule
guy-down strap and a small tear in the fly, which is fortunately
close to the ground. Vinh, whose tent suffered a broken pole
the previous afternoon and who spent the night in Normand's
old tent, slept without a fly, which tore off with the wind
during the night. Normand's tent has two broken guylines.
Not too bad, considering the force of the wind. Now, if only
the plane would come and pick us up.
For once, I spend a day not feeling hungry. I lounge around
camp, gather wood, eat snacks, explore a rockfall near camp
with Lisette, wait for Normand's call to the air dispatcher
and watch as mounting winds begin flattening my tent again.
We begin preparations to move my tent to a more sheltered
spot in case the plane cannot come for us, and discover blown
grommets on the guy points as well as bent sections on two
of the poles. Mental note to send the tent off for repairs
when I return.
At 5:30 p.m., Normand gets on the satellite phone and receives
confirmation. The plane is on its way. The Twin Otter touches
down at 7:00 p.m. Huguette, the pilot, has some chocolate
to share with us, bless her heart. On the flight home, my
face remains glued to the little window, at times recognizing
places where we had hiked or camped, and feeling both relief
that I'll soon be home to a hot shower and the chocolate in
my pantry and regret that the expedition is over. I'll miss
this place, this landscape. I'll fondly recall this trip in
the future, but for now, I'm heading for home sweet home.
NB, 2003, Canada -
additional infos about the expedition and the author
can be found here
travelogue is part of the subside travelzine