Canada’s Arctic is a magnet for adventurers. From the ancient natives that crossed the ice bridge from Asia that first populated the Americas, to grizzled truckers that travel north to work on the ice roads, the Arctic’s treacherous and harsh environment has beckoned to those - who may not be completely sound of mind - in search of adventure. These same harsh conditions are also what allow transportation between small hamlets and villages, as open ocean and waterways turn into roads once the water has settled into its frozen winter sleep.
This spring will see the end of one of the world’s most unique roadways, an ice road that travels down the Mackenzie River delta and out over the Arctic Ocean to the hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories.
This loss of an iconic route that floats over a major ocean is the result of the building of a new overland all-season road that will open this fall, negating the need to plow a road over the sea ice. It is a “now or never” opportunity to drive one of Canada’s iconic symbols and we have seized the moment.
Sir John Franklin they are not, however, both the Arctic and adventure are calling. Partnering with Nissan and Treeline Outdoors, Mark Jennings-Bates (Captain, Adventurer and Entrepreneur), Budd Stanley (Automotive Journalist and Photographer) and Steph Jeavons (Adventurer) will challenge both man and machine in a quest to reach the Arctic coastal town of Tuktoyaktuk.
The goal is simple, to drive the Tuktoyaktuk ice road, for the first time for the team, for the last time for everyone. The journey will take three weeks and will cover over 8,500 km.
However, they will not just be driving the ice roads, but they will be overlanding through British Columbia, Alberta, Yukon and Northwest Territories, taking the trail less travelled and camping in Canada’s most extreme winter environments. To prepare for the trip, the team has built up the two 2017 Nissan Titan XD’s to be totally self-sufficient, carrying all the tools and supplies including a Treeline Outdoors Tamarack Roof-Top Tent with Annex on each truck. Camping in the rugged 4-season Roof-Top Tent will enable to team to set-up a mobile basecamp that can be packed away at a moments notice should they need to get moving, or hunker down for an extra night should inclement weather arise. The ease of storing bedding and the included 2 1/2" high-density foam mattress, means space is freed up in the vehicle for other gear.
The adventure starts in Vancouver, British Columbia, and soon after will reach the resort town of Whistler, where they will leave the pleasantly smooth asphalt of the Sea to Sky Highway, and venture deep into the mountainous wilderness. They will never be certain of what we may come upon. Roads may be blocked, washed out, or covered with unpassable depths of snow. The two-vehicle team will follow a backroads route north through British Columbia, into the Yukon, up the Dempster Highway, crossing the Arctic Circle and culminating with an iconic drive up the ice road to Tuktoyaktuk. We invite you to follow us on this great adventure through Canada’s wilderness and out over the iconic Tuk ice road for the last time.
They team hit the road this week and will finish March 27th at the Vancouver International Auto Show, where one of the Nissan trucks and Roof-Top Tents will be on display.
Follow along via @treelineoutdoors and @nissancanada on Instagram (#TheArcticIsCalling and #TitanArcticChallenge) as the team tackles the longest and coldest adventure yet, a quest for Tuktoyaktuk and one last chance to drive over the frozen Arctic Ocean.