By Capt G. J. (Junior) Roberts
5 CRPG UPAR
Almost there! Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Forget about the burden you have been towing behind you for the last month and a half. And then, as if by magic, there it is! It is April 4th and you have arrived at your destination.
On February 21st, 2012 Canadian Ranger Noah Nochasak and a travelling companion left his home in the Northern Labrador community of Nain. The next month and a half would prove to be a gruelling experience as they walked 550 kilometres across some of the most inhospitable terrain in the world to Georges River. There were no communities in between and everything they needed for the trip had to be dragged behind them in a komitic.
Canadian Ranger Nochasak had planned the trip to afford him a sense of cultural preservation of his heritage and a reconnecting with his ancestors. The trip was plagued by snowstorms accompanied by cold temperatures and strong winds. According to elders, there were more storms this year than anyone could recall in recent memory. Often the storms resulted in Noah and his companion being unable to proceed. They would spend many days in their unheated dome tent in very stormy weather.
“When we were able to travel, the temperature was around -30 degrees and windy. 80 to 85 percent of the time we were walking into the wind and it was very cold”, Noah commented. “It was a wise decision to carry enough food for the entire trip as we did not see any animals to take for food. Because of a minor problem with my knee, it was a hard physical trip”, he stated. “It was a hard trip in the mind also”, he said. “After three weeks or so everything gets repetitious. The sound of the sled on the snow, the sound of your footsteps, the appearance of the terrain all gets repetitious and you long to be able to communicate with your friends. Even though I had a satellite phone to contact the 5 CRPG Duty Officer each night, it did not work 100 per cent of the time. I really craved an IPod,” he concluded.
When asked if he ever considered giving up and returning home, Noah simply replied, “Turning back was never a consideration. This trip was all about preservation, focus, never giving up, believing in yourself and pushing one’s physical self to the limitations of your body, and, unlike a machine, keeping going. There was no turning back”, he stated.
Shortly after his journey, Canadian Ranger Nochasak attended the presentation of the Canadian Ranger Ceremonial Axe to his Honour, Lt Governor John Crosbie at Government House in St John’s. While there Noah talked to their Honours, Lt Governor and Mrs Crosbie about his experience and a planned trip for this summer in a home made kayak.
Congratulations Noah on your successful walk and best wishes for your planned trip this summer.