The last time I was in the little community of Baker Lake I was still a Crown Prosecutor and it was in the dead of winter. On this, my second only visit, I got to see the place before the first snow fall of the year.
Baker Lake has the distinction of being Nunavut’s only inland community, that is, one not situated on a sea coast, and it is also very nearly at the geographical center of the country. It has a population of nearly 2000 or so but, while I was there, it struck me as a fairly quiet sort of place. Possibly, though, I just happened to visit while many community members were out hunting or fishing…
My accommodations for the five days I was in Baker were at the Nunamiut Lodge, which sits right on the shore of the lake.
The rooms at the Lodge are a cut above many that I end up occupying in other communities and each one is supplied with only one bed so there is no likelihood of having to share (as happens all too often elsewhere). I especially liked that I had a small fridge, microwave and cooking area since I typically prefer to prepare my own meals on court circuit. The meals at the Lodge are actually pretty decent but the choice is limited (supper is a set meal, for example), and I would rather eat when I am hungry instead of at fixed times.
I did eat a couple of meals in the dining room and I have to say that this one is probably the prettiest of all the hotels in Nunavut. It is larger than you can see here as there is another section just through the French doors to the left of the picture.
This is the view from just outside the dining room looking south over the lake. The town is situated near one end of the lake and it extends for quite a long way to the east. The narrow promontory you see was built to service the pipes that extend out into the lake to supply the drinking water for the town. The pipes are supposed to lie on the bed but, while I was there, work crews were fixing a problem with the part just offshore floating to the surface.
The water station is right beside the hotel (I took this shot from my room), and it receives the water from the pipes. Here you can see a couple of water trucks filling up so as to deliver the water to all the houses in the community (and the hotel, of course).
During several walks, I spied a number of these cute little creatures. They are a species of rodent that I would call a ‘Prairie dog’ but are known locally as ‘Sik-Siks’. I apologize for the quality of the picture here but it was taken at maximum zoom on my camera from quite a distance. I did manage to get closer and, what I at first took to be a piece of garbage sitting beside the little guy, turned out to be something else entirely…
Here, as you can see, the Sik-Sik is sitting quite companionably with an Arctic Hare. I stood there for nearly ten minutes watching them as they looked back at me without showing any particular fear or alarm. Court circuits can often be very frustrating and tiresome at times, with travel aggravations piling up and making things difficult. I have to say, though, that the tranquility of the moment watching these two did a lot to alleviate those stresses.
Anyway, my circuit to Baker Lake was followed by a circuit to Taloyoak without an intervening stopover at home, making my trip a whole two weeks away. The compensation for that was that I had two layovers in Yellowknife and got to eat at a few new restaurants. Reviews of the same are pending…