The Hunting Cabin
After a long night of fixing, re-fixing, and fixing a breakdown on Andy’s snowmobile we arrived at this tiny cabin in the cold winter dark. An hour later we pull up to tiny outpost cabin, all snow-drifted in. “We will sleep here tonight”, Andy says, as if there was any doubt. I am cold, tired, and delighted to accept the end of intrigue for tonight. All this time I just assumed we would eventually build an igloo to sleep in, like we did twenty years ago when I travelled with Inuit hunters, like Andy’s father Paulosie. When I look at the little cabin here in this black cold wind, – the answer to “why build an igloo when you can sleep in a cabin?” Becomes staggeringly obvious. Harry is here too, and busy unpacking his qamuti.
“I stayed here last winter. That window was broken by a polar bear”, Andy says, referring to a damaged and repaired window frame. What a remarkable and exceptional place this is. Twenty years ago, there were no cabins like this. Around 9:00 p.m. we hear snowmobiles outside. The door soon swings open, cold rushes in, and out of the cloud come two fur-clad Inuit hunters. This time it is two brothers, whose father owns the taxi business in Igloolik.
I watch them pull off their fur parkas, and seal-skin pants, and layers of clothes: caribou socks, then wool duffle socks, then plastic bags inside those, and then a seal-skin boot inside the plastic. Andy and I make room for them on the sleeping platform. I introduce myself…but there is no response. “They are quite deaf”, Andy says. “If you find an old man who isn’t deaf (from guns and snowmobiles) it means he hasn’t been hunting much,” Andy says, who is also very deaf.