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Sibling adventurers finish 1,000km Arctic Canadian skiing, paddling journey

CBC NewsEye on the Arctic

A group of adventurers has completed a gruelling skiing and paddling adventure across Baffin Island in Canada’s eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut.

Siblings Eric and Sarah McNair-Landry and their partners Katherine Breen and Erik Boomer are now back in Iqaluit after a two and a half month journey from the community of Qikiqtarjuaq to Cape Dorset.

The team skied, kayaked and portaged more than 1,000 kilometres along traditional Inuit routes using Baffin-style sea kayaks they built themselves.

“Paddling across these amazing old lakes and following these old traditional routes -- that was the biggest thing that was different and provided the most challenges and some of the best times as well,” said Boomer.

The Pittarak Team started the expedition in July. The 65-day journey was a new experience for Breen.

“It was hard to get used to that many days out on the trail,” she said. “Before this trip my longest trip would have been about 10 days. So once I got past that then things got a bit easier and I learned a lot from the rest of these guys.”

The team arrived in Cape Dorset last Saturday at noon to a big welcome from the community. People circled the team and their kayaks and said a prayer.

Sarah McNair-Landry said it was heart-warming.

“We came into Cape Dorset and there were probably 200 people on the beach and some people had little fireworks and they were honking their horns . . . It was awesome. We came ashore and people were so excited.”

The group says plans are already in the works for future expeditions.

This story is posted on Alaska Dispatch as part of Eye on the Arctic, a collaborative partnership between public and private circumpolar media organizations.