Glutton for Punishment

Hi everyone, this is John’s wife Jenn, John is dictating to me from a payphone just south of the Arctic Circle on the Dempster Highway:

From 1:00am last night
“Well, apparently I am either an idiot or a glutton for punishment. Maybe both. Just twelve short hours ago I was remortgaging my house to pay for my brand new set of back brakes, the previous ones destroyed by the mud bog once known as the Dempster Highway.

So how did I handle the depressed state of mind brought on by the giant bill? I could have done something sane, like, say, drive home, but instead I chose to get back in the car and drive a thousand kilometres north, back to the scene of the ’Dempster Disaster’.

Why on earth would I return to the place that killed my brakes and destroyed my morale? Because I had to. I simply couldn’t let the Dempster win, at least not without a bigger fight. But more importantly, I’m back because I like to gamble. As my friend Roberta recently put it in an email, wildlife photography in places like the Dempster is a lot like playing the slots. You play and play and get nothing, getting more and more demoralized, but then suddenly you hit a glorious JACKPOT – a grizzly on the tundra in fall colours – so you get all excited and decide you will play a few more slots, errr, visit the Dempster for a few more days.

It’s that lure of the wildlife photography version of the slots that has brought me back here for three final days at the peak of the fall colours. The potential is here for something truly spectacular…maybe it’ll be a wolverine stopping and staring at me from fifty metres away, or maybe I’ll finally see a giant bull caribou posing in a ruby red meadow.

If I had driven home today and accepted defeat at the hands of the Dempster, the trip would have felt like a failure. But here I am instead, giving it one last glorious shot. So what’ll it be? A broken timing belt or a dancing bear? I’m here now and I’m willing to find out…”

11:00am update
John reports that the caribou were no where to be found this morning, but that he saw a whopping six grizzlies (unfortunately, none of them were close)!

Stay tuned for John’s next update on Saturday or Sunday!


2 Comments on “Glutton for Punishment

September 6, 2010 at 2:23 am

Just call him John Quixote.

Keep charging the windmills – I'm sure you will win the battle up at Dempster yet.

September 6, 2010 at 2:23 am

Good luck John. Looking forward to seeing the glorious colours and the dancing bears. Barb Brouwer


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