The drive from Vancouver to Inuvik is just shy of the distance from Vancouver to Toronto. It’s a 4000km straight shot north – exactly 4000km in fact as we drove one lap around Inuvik on our arrival to ensure we reached the magic number – and is a journey I’d encourage any adventure seeking soul to do once in their lives. The shear length of the trip is a sobering reminder of the vastness of our country and makes one realize that there’s a lot more to Canada that what’s strung along the 49th parallel.Dempster Highway

Our route travels from Vancouver up Highway 1 through mountains and forest to the city of Prince George, right smack in the centre of British Columbia. From here it’s northwards on the Alaskan Highway to Fort Nelson – a remote, wild section of road affording large critter sightings from bear to buffalo to moose seemingly around every bend – and onto Whitehorse, Yukon the ‘big city’ gateway to the mighty Yukon River.

Pushing ever northwards our route takes us into gold rush history as we pay a visit Dawson City, YK and the terminus of our blacktop. Just a few kilometres shy of the tiny Klondike community is the start of the infamous Dempster Highway, a 750 km tire eating, vehicle destroying gravel and slate road road that boldly pushes northwards through the the mountains and wilderness of the Canadian north. It’s just after halfway that our location final hits home as we pass a sign stating you’ve now crossed the arctic circle. The Dempster is long, remote and can be downright nasty when it wants. We’re told our single flat tire and punctured power steering column was the road letting us off easy.

Inuvik is cool and windy making us keenly aware that we’ve arrived, that we’ve arrived in the arctic.