PaulatukNanuks means Paulatuk Polar Bears in the Inuvialuit language. “The polar bear can stand the harsh temperatures up here just like us,” says team captain Rachel Nakimayak. Rachel and her team have been motivated to get outside and walk these past few weeks as they take part in the 2016 Walk to Tuk, which sees teams from across the territory conceptually walking the distance from Fort Providence to Tuktoyaktuk.
PaulatukNanuks is comprised of community members young and old. A few participated in the 2015 Walk to Tuk. Team members have spent the last five weeks crisscrossing the community on foot, from home to the water pump house to the airport and even to the dump. Some team members walk during their lunch hour while others take three shorter walks spread throughout the day. Certain team members walk on their own or with their pooch but the real fun has been when everyone gets together for group walks on the weekends. These weekend walks have been growing in popularity and inspiring curiosity from other community residents.
A few weeks ago, the group of 16 walked across the bay to the “Roger”. “The Roger is an old schooner that Paulatuk community members used to travel in years ago. It drifted out and has been a land marker for years and years. We all felt refreshed and liked the socializing aspect of the walk,” shared team member Sandra Thrasher. Walking to the Roger has now become a regular weekend group activity taking roughly two and a half hours.
Sandra joined the PaulatukNanuks because she wanted to get out of the house and get some exercise. “This is the best program ever and best idea to get people like me out exercising, otherwise I would be home watching TV!” Captain Rachel Nakimia heard great stories about how others had lost weight from walking. For Rachel, though, the primary motivations were get outside, getting active, and enjoying her local scenery. Norma Hickey, a nurse who is involved in the group, thinks many team members have profitted from the experience of participating in Walk To Tuk: “We all have benefited especially living above the Arctic Circle with very limited daylight. As a team we are all accountable to each other.”
The PaulatukNanuks walkers are always on the lookout for wildlife including wolves, wolverines, polar bears, and foxes. Although they are named after the polar bear they have been fortunate enough not to see any on their group walks on the Arctic Ocean. They did, however, spot a wolverine on a walk towards the dump.
This team is certainly not letting the cold, darkness or wild animals stop them from walking!
Click here to see PaulatukNanuks profile page and list of members.