The Storm

One memory from 1999

After 17 years of outfitting in the central barren lands north of Yellowknife, one can be tempted to think you’ve seen it all. Nothing like a freak blizzard at the end of August to bring one back to reality.


Not just the reality of Mother Nature being in charge, but a sweet reminder of why we hunt, why we pit our skills against the odds. A blessed reminder of our vulnerable Human condition and the deep camaraderie that seems to grow faster as the degree of difficulty increases in the arctic wilderness.


Put a group of fourteen traditional bow hunters, headed up by Ken Grosslight — he, incidentally just killed a jaguar with his ling bow — together with four lady gun hunters from the DNR? in California — their first out-of-state big game hunt — along with Karen Mehal from the NRA, shooting black powder, and Tim Walsh, a camera man from TNN and mix them up with the guides and staff at Mackay Lake Lodge, add some scattered herds of August caribou and an arctic blizzard on a lake that is over one hundred miles long and you have the trip of a lifetime.


Three boats were caught in a storm; three bow hunters and two rifle hunters and three guides. The guides radioed their position, but they were stranded on an island with little shelter and only a few stunted trees for fuel. The next day, through six-foot swells in an unrelenting wind with driving sleet and rain, they all made it back safely, very wet, cold, and near hypothermic. Everyone at camp met them on the dock. A great general sigh of relief, everyone was going to be fine.


I have been living north of 60 for over thirty years and I have spent most of the arctic summers and falls above the tree land in the barren lands.


Back in 1985 we had a storm on September 3. I remember the summer of 1988 when it was over 90 degrees for weeks. All the Black Flies died from the heat. In 1992 all of our water pipes froze up on September 10. But, over time things seem to average out.