Auyuittuq National Park, the most beautiful; valley on earth, featuring art inspired by nature, a project by Kristi Allik and Robert Mulder

robert c f mulder - kristi a allik - current projects - Auyuittuq
About this page:
A recent trip to Auyuittuq National Park in Canada's northern Baffin Island has stimulated many ideas and emotive concepts in us that will likely find their way into future work. Kristi Allik has just completed a composition for women's choir and electroacoustics entitled: Songs of Auyuittuq.
Other works such as ~InfoWeavers will use some of the material mined here.

On this page you find some of the imagery and initial thoughts regarding this astonishing valley.
We recommend a visit to the
Parks Canada web page (link to Auyuittuq National Park), which carries Northern mountain climate & environment information.

The Auyuittuq project
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Auyuittuq
In the summer of 1997 Kristi Allik and Robert Mulder spent two weeks in Auyuittuq National Park on central Baffin Island, camping, hiking, and recording.

They came to the valley to experience Mount Thor, a mythical mountain that, at 1700 m. supports a vertical cliff face of nearly 1100 m., the longest in the world.

This is a windy, cold, and dangerous land of enormous contrast, solitude and scope.

The experiences gleaned from this unforgettable landscape in visual, aural and spiritual form are surfacing in various projects that are currently under construction.

On this page you will find some of the images that, in a small way, reflect the majestic wildness of this place.

#5 Mount Thor facing South.  copyright 1997 Robert Mulder
Mount Thor

 

Pangnirtung
#6 Pangnirtung , Innuit setlement near Auyuittuq.  1997 Robert Mulder
1997, Robert C F Mulder

 

Pangnirtung, an Inuit settlement just 60 km south of the polar circle on Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada; has about 1200 inhabitants, mostly Inuit. From here a small open boat takes one to the park, (seen far away (50km) in the background).

Photographed on July 15, 1997 at 11:00 p.m.

Inukshuk
#7 Inukshuk near the polar circle.  1997 Robert C F Mulder
1997 Robert C F Mulder


Inukshuk is the Inuit name for these stone markers, that are placed in the northern landscape. It means "That which has the likeness of a human being" This one is placed at the polar circle. Beyond it, the western edge of the Penny Ice Cap and two glaciers spilling into the valley.

The Penny Ice Cap
1997 Robert C F Mulder


Most of the mountainous plateau of this 21.000 square Km. park is covered by the Penny Ice Cap a remnant of the birthplace of the last Ice Age. Here we experience the fierce winds, super-cooled by an expanse of 300 m. thick ice, that causes frigid clouds to cascade down the ragged valley edge.

Mount Thor seen from the west
#9 Mount Thor, looking east.  1997 Robert C F Mulder
1997 Robert C F Mulder

Successive glaciations of Eastern North- America originated here in the mountains of Baffin Island. The abrasive action of these huge glaciers created a 4 km. wide, 100 km. long valley. The granite debris of this action is now dispersed throughout half the east side of North America.

Mount Thor seen from the south-west
#10 Mount Thor looking North.  1997 Robert C f Mulder
1997 Robert C F Mulder

In June and July "the land that never melts" (the Inuit meaning of Auyuittuq) baths in the northern everlasting sun. Here we see Mount Thor immersed in the bright early evening light obscured by an imposing glacial rock dam that seems to obstruct our quest.

Mount Thor seen in the evening
#11 Mount Thor looking north, at 10:00 pm.  1997 Robert C F Mulder
1997 Robert C F Mulder

Later that night, from the top of the rock dam we see The Mountain, the one-we -came-for, straight up and straight ahead. On its lower, nearly vertical flank, we see the loomingly cast shadow of Mount Odin — a dance of the giants. Down the valley, the Penny Ice Cap, cold, clear and beckoning.

Mount Thor in the early morning
#12 Valley below Mount Thor.  1997 Robert C F Mulder
1997 Robert C F Mulder

Midday, one of those bright cool arctic days. We are closer to the valley where Thor lives, carrying ten days worth of food, warm clothes and lodging over rather treacherous terrain, a wild combination of dunes and loose rocks. We are hoping not to fall in the Weasel river below.

Glacial cascade on Tin Foil Ridge
#17 Glacial cascade on Tin Foil Ridge.  1997 Robert Mulder
1997 Robert C F Mulder

The many glaciers surrounding the valley melt on warm days like this one; this sends a rush of wild melt water down the slope. Crossing it (inevitable) is a very cold and dangerous endeavour as the very cold rushing waist- deep water is liberally mixed with dislodged rocks of great size.

Mount Thor seen from the north
#13 Mount Thor facing north.  1997 Robert C F Mulder
1997 Robert C F Mulder

The North view of Mount Thor, with the Fork Beard Glacier that was melting on this hot day (10C), consequently it was dropping box car-sized boulders down the lip of the glacier, down the mountain side. This was happening all around us, making it an incredible 3-D sound experience.

Leaving the valley
Weasel River & valley.  1997 Robert Mulder
1997 Robert C F Mulder

We reluctantly turn back from this incredible place, having been immersed by timeless signs of the past, still resonating today. For a while we will visit the hamlet of Pangnirtung, making contact with the people that are part of this land as they have been for thousands of years. We will be back.

This page was last updated on February 23, 2001