There were three things that everyone said about Pangnirtung before I left for my first circuit there: 1) Pangnirtung is unbelievably, stunningly gorgeous; 2) Bring lots of money to spend on prints and textiles; and 3) Lucky you getting sent for circuit there. You’re going to love it in Pang!
|View looking down the street, walking toward the hotel.|
|Old Blubber Station and stunningly gorgeous mountains.|
|Across from the Northern Store and the RCMP detachment.|
Everyone was right. Pangnirtung is a very special place. The scenery was incredible. I found myself distracted by the beauty of the mountains every time I stepped outside. My spending on prints, a Pang hat, a handmade ulu, presents for my daughters (the details of which I’m keeping secret until their birthday in March) and arctic char fillets from the fish plant was probably a not insignificant contribution to the local economy. I loved it in Pangnirtung and I can't wait to be sent there again.
The experience of flying into Pangnirtung is every bit as incredible as the actual place. Pangnirtung is located in a fiord. Our plane dropped below the clouds and flew into the fiord, toward the community. By the time our plane reached Pangnirtung, it had descended below the tops of the mountains. But then we flew right on past the town and the runway. When we passed the runway, I thought, we’re flying into a fiord… we are flying between mountains on both sides… the runway is all the way back there... what the…? And then I began to wonder if we were really going to do the crazy thing that I was thinking we might do.
That crazy thing was exactly what we did. Suddenly the plane made a sharp 180-degree turn, right inside the fiord. For part of the time it actually looked like we could fly right into a wall of solid rock. As soon as the 180-degree turn was done, we descended very rapidly to the runway (which pretty much begins right in the middle of the community) and landed safely.
Experiencing the Pang landing and realizing that I found it thrilling and fun instead of terrifying made it very clear to me how much I’ve changed over the past two-and-a-half years. Before I moved to Nunavut, I rarely went anywhere and was slightly anxious about flying whenever I did. Now it would be really unusual for me to go a month without flying somewhere. I've been to nine Nunavut communities now –13 if you include airports. I love flying, and I’m never nervous about it, even in terrible weather. I think that I’ve grown to love flying so much that I’m going to give a flying lesson a try next summer to see if I enjoy it. Why stop at being a passenger?