Located in Canada's newest territory, Nunavut, Auyuittuq National Park offers visitors a chance to experience the majestic beauty of nature in its most untamed and majestic form.
The first national park created north of the arctic circle, Auyuittuq (Inuit for "the land that never melts") was first established as a national park reserve in 1976 and then became a full service national park in 2000 by way of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement. The closest town to Auyuittuq National Park is Pangnirtung, Nunavut Canada.
Nunavut's Auyuittuq National Park is 19,707 square kilometers in size and the terrain is made up of valleys, ocean fjords and mountain peaks, as well as glaciers that melt into rivers that run through rock and tundra right out to the ocean. The Glaciers in Auyuittuq continue to actively shape the Nunavut landscape, just as they have for thousands of years.
The brief summer season - when there is virtually twenty-four hours of daylight - provides visitors ample time to hike and explore the park's terrain. Over 25 percent of the park's terrain is covered by the Penny Ice Cap - the only portion of the park that lies below the Arctic cirlce. Akshayuk's Pass offers backpackers the opportunity to hike a 110 kilometre trail that cuts right through the mountains of Nunavut or you can hike across the frozen surfaces of Summit Lake and Glacier Lake. Skiing and mountain climbing are two other activities open to the visitors.
Because of the harshness of the terrain in Nunavut, there is little vegetation but visitors to the park will be able to see wildlife both on land in water. Lemmings, ermines, foxes, hares, bowhead whales, polar bears, walruses and seals all call Nunavut home. Some arctic flowers can be seen during the very brief summer season.
You may also stumble upon an Inukshuk - a figure of stones erected by the Inuits that was traditionally meant to serve as a guide through the wilderness to help keep travelers safe. Literally meaning "in the image of man," Inukshuks are a unique part of the culture of Nunavut and the rest of Arctic Canada.
There are companies that offer a variety of backing excursions suited to your interests and experience level. It is a good idea to take advantage of their expertise if you are new to the area and unfamiliar with the park in any way. You can find information about these services online or by contacting Parks Canada.
The high season is July to August but the arctic weather can be unpredictable so you should be well prepared for sudden changes in temperatures and conditions. Be sure to bring your supplies with you - services are very limited within the park itself and there is no firewood available for collection so a campfire stove is necessary. The park can be accessed by boat or snowmobile or visitors can hike or ski in from the community of Pangnirtung.
Auyuittuq National Park in Nunavut Canada is a must for those truly adventurous and for the wilderness enthusiast. Unlike other national parks, Nunavut's Auyuittuq does not offer its visitors any sort of modern conveniences - just true wilderness in all its breathtaking wonder.