Written by Harold
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Until June of 2013, when he took on the job of “Dock Boy” at Plummer’s Great Bear Lake Lodge, Mathew Mesec could be best described as an urban kid, whose idea of adventure was a trip to the family cottage a couple of hours north of Toronto.
In this article Mathew shares his thoughts, feelings and impressions of what he describes as a life changing experience in Canada’s Arctic.
My experience at Great Bear Lake was life changer for me.
Having grown up in the big city of Toronto, I wasn’t sure what to expect so far up north, in an area that is cut off from the rest of world. No cell phone, television, video games or contact with my family or friends.
I was not an experienced traveler, nor had I ever ventured too far from home. When the time came for my flight to Yellowknife, I had no apprehension; I left Toronto in search for a new and exciting adventure.
My first surprise was when I landed in Yellowknife, only to find out that I was stuck there, in a small float base, which was nothing more than a 2-bedroom shack, until further notice, because there was too much ice on Great Bear Lake to land the float plane.
After 4 days, they sent a chartered cargo plane so we could land on the small landing strip by Plummer’s Lodge. The flight was approximately 1 hour, and it felt like we were catered to hand and foot after sleeping in the shack and eating fast food for 4 nights. Those were a great 4 nights thought, as I was able to meet others who were also heading up north as well. They were able to fill me in on what to expect when I get there.
One of the most fascinating things was the fact that the sun never went down; at 3:00 the sun was positioned just below the horizon. When I finally arrived at Plummer’s Lodge it was so much nicer than I would have expected.
I had my own room in the sleeping cabin, and all the other people there were absolutely amazing. The scenery included a lot of trees and crystal clear waters. The water was ice cold and the food was so good! As for the weather, it was nice and warm most days and cooler at night. As for the mosquitos? Well, just ignore them because they aren’t going anywhere!
My day consisted of cleaning the grounds, helping guests with their luggage and assisting them into and out of the fishing boats, getting the rooms ready for the night, helping in the kitchen, and assisting with the big musk-ox hunt at the end of the summer.
Each one of these experience and more has left an incredible mark on my life, and the fondest of memories that will last a lifetime.
From catching a 25 lbs. lake trout, to traveling days on a barge, to sleeping in the wild during the hunt and experiencing first-hand how the hunt is carried out, to seeing wolves in the wild were all experiences that I will cherish.
Nothing was like finishing the summer enjoying fresh musk-ox steak and musk-ox jerky.
Sadly the summer came to an end, and returning to Toronto was like a shock to the system.
I did not miss television, video games or the crowded city life.
Plummer’s Lodge is like paradise in no-man’s-land. It is a part of creation that most people will never have the privilege to see or experience.
I would recommend it to anyone who likes nature, enjoys fresh clean air and want to disconnect from the rest of the world for a while.
Post Script: Just in case your were wondering, Mathew returned to Plummer’s Great Bear Lodge in the summer 2014.