Three individuals spent their May long weekend walking approximately 150 km from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk in an effort to raise money for Inuvik’s East Three Schools and Tuktoyaktuk’s Mangilaluk School.
From May 17 to 20, Peter Clarkson, Nicole Petersen and David Elmy walked along the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway for around 37 km each day, taking them at least 7 hours to do so.
“You gotta put in the hours in order to get the kilometres,” said Clarkson, the former mayor of Inuvik.
Clarkson completed a similar journey in 2017, when he walked around 180 km from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk during the ice road’s final season.
“After doing the ice road, I thought it would be good to the Inuvik-Tuk highway sometime also. The timing just worked out well,” he said.
Although the walk was Clarkson’s idea, he said it was Petersen who proposed that they launch the “Walk2Tuk4Kids” fundraiser for the schools.
The three managed to raise more than $3,000 for each school, with the money going towards the schools’ health and wellness programs.
“It just looked like an amazing experience. Why wouldn’t you want to do this? It’s beautiful,” said Petersen, a regional sales manager for Air North.
The walk was her “first totally extreme adventure,” she said.
“Surviving would be awesome. That’s a goal. But it’s some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, so it’s really an honour to be able to do it,” she said.
Rather than setting up camp along the highway, Clarkson said that the group was picked up and then driven back to Inuvik at the end of each day. They would then be shipped back out the following morning, where they would pick up from where they left off.
“To stay overnight and camp, it just takes way more time just logistically. You need at least a week to do that if you were walking,” he said.
The hardest part about the trip, he continued, was dealing with sore legs and feet after three days of walking.
“That’s a challenge, when you get up the morning, just getting the joints and muscles going,” he said.
They were joined by more than a dozen students and staff members from the East Three schools on May 17, who walked around 2.5 km. At the other end of the highway, 63 students and 10 staff members from Mangilaluk School hosted their own walks, which ranged from 2.5 to 10 km.
“It’s a great time of the year to do it. The ferries aren’t open, so the traffic should be down a little bit,” said Clarkson. “The geese are flying, the ducks are flying. It’s just a great time to do it.”