Author: Phyllis Root
Photographer: Kelly Povo
July 8, 2018
Our days have been chock-full of wildflowers, and yet there are still more to see. Down by the shore we watch three caribou graze on the tidal flat while our guard checks for bears. Here in the rocks we find still more proof that life takes every foothold or roothold it can find–tiny Greenland primrose and tufted saxifrage appear to grow straight out of the rocks. By the place where the plane called Miss Piggy crashed, we see one rare white flax flower, which only blooms for a day and only in the middle of the day (although our days seem endlessly light, so how does it know?). When we stop to take a picture of the shore and the Krumholtz-effect spruce trees, we see yet another new-to-us flower, broad-leaved fireweed, blooming beautifully in the sand and gravel.
After lunch we head out again down the bouncy road to Twin Lakes, this time to explore an area where a wildfire burned thirty years ago or more. The land is slowly recovering. We don’t find the wet bog we are looking for, but a stop at a fen reveals more butterwort, more round-leaf orchids, Lapland rhododendron, and dwarf Labrador-tea among many others. In the last few minutes of the last stop of our last day of full-out wildflower searching, I lip my waders by stepping into water deeper than my boots are high. Luckily I have only a short time to squelch in my socks before we arrive back at the Centre.
We spend the evening as a group going over the checklist of flowers (we have seen almost every one on the list excepting water plants) and identifying photos. Churchill has over 500 vascular plants. In a place where glaciers left scratches on the rocks and we scratch at the bites of persistent insects who found us in spite of our bug shirts, we have barely scratched the surface of what there is to see.
Tomorrow is not a designated wildflower day, but we are sure we will see them no matter where we look in this incredible and amazing place. #sustainthenorth