Adventure begins
Relay set to start

Daniel MacIsaac
Northern News Services

Inuvik (Feb 18/00) - Inuvik's Julian Tomlinson is hoping to reach the world by spending the rest of the winter trekking to Nunavut.

The Aurora College instructor is joining a team of four adventurers in a project that combines a battle against the elements with high-tech learning and a national millennium celebration.

He and group leader Paul Ikuallaq from Gjoa Haven along with project co-ordinator Kirsti De Vries dropped in on Inuvik Town Council last Wednesday to detail the initiative, which kicks off at a ceremony in Tuktoyaktuk on Saturday afternoon.

"It should all have some impact on Inuvik," Tomlinson told the councillors.

"We're making the town the hub, and have already hired one full-time employee through Inuvik Works and will be employing some elders and Rangers."

Tomlinson said the group has managed to attract many partners along the way, including the Trans Canada Trail Foundation. That means the start of their trek coincides with the beginning of the millennium water relay, which leaves Tuk on Sunday and winds its way down the Delta, through Inuvik and Tsiigehtchic, and onward to Ottawa.

Tomlinson's group will travel east to Iqaluit, carrying its own vessel of arctic water, and pass through 19 communities. He said another partner, the U.S.-based Globe Program, has links to other environmental and scientific monitoring -- and via computer and satellite will help Aurora College's "Frozen Toes" expedition create a virtual Northern classroom as it winds its way across the tundra.

The Tuk ceremony begins at 3 p.m. as participants and spectators gather at the site of the Trans Canada Trail "trailhead" monument, and the first relay teams leave for Inuvik on Sunday.

As part of its own Aurora College Week festivities in Inuvik, the college is hosting a pancake breakfast Monday morning from 7:30 to 9 a.m. as a way to ensure that relay participants begin their southward journey with full stomachs.