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People & Culture

Coppermine 2012: Expecting the best; preparing for the worst: The bugs

  • Jun 03, 2012
  • 490 words
  • 2 minutes
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The commander must decide how he will fight the battle before it begins. He must then decide how he will use the military effort at his disposal to force the battle to swing the way he wishes it to go; he must make the enemy dance to his tune from the beginning and not vice versa.
-Viscount Montgomery of Alamein

The enthusiasm with which our group has stormed forwards with this project cannot be understated. To help develop curriculum on Canada’s North by recording an expedition across it is the opportunity of a lifetime.

When the six of us held a video conference a couple of months ago to solemnize our pledge of fealty to this expedition, we knew we were cementing an alliance against the elements. The obstacles will be great, and there will be many, but it may be the plague of miniscule flesh fiends known as “no-see-ums” that could cause us the most consistent grief.

Ladies and gentlemen, there will be no lack of protein on this trip.

Since announcing our intentions to venture into the Barren Lands and out to the Coppermine River, we have been warned and questioned ceaselessly about the ferocity of the blood junkies in this region. Most of us will be confronting a volume of pests unseen in any of our past travels in northern Ontario and Quebec.

Following the advice of our supporters, the canoe tripping legend Bill Layman and the good Viscount Montgomery, we plan on confronting these villains head-on. A great way to discourage overnight canoe tripping is being poorly prepared for the more aggravating hardships. One of the many pieces of equipment that will help us accomplish our objectives is a floorless flash tent with micro bug screens.

Not only will this offer us sweet reprieve from the voracious parasites, this freestanding light shelter is perfect for camping above the tree line and can be set up quickly.

Before the purists denounce the need for such a structure, we should stress this is not simply an issue of comfort. It also serves as protection against wind and storms if they roll in unexpectedly, appropriate as our only respite from these vampires is when the wind rages.

Apart from our mission to develop interactive teaching materials, we also want to donate as much equipment as possible to Kugluktuk High School in order to expand their outdoor recreation program. We are certain that supplying this gear will help foster enthusiasm for student-led trips.

If you want to support our endeavour and receive our eternal gratitude, visit our website and follow our blog at

Later this week, read up on the importance of proper spray skirts as Seth Wotten explains how your donations can help save our lives. Becoming a hero has never been so easy!


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