As all adventures do, our journey North had to come to an end. We were set to board the North-Wright Airways in the afternoon. We woke early to pack and have some final visits. Richard had mentioned a few times "shaking hands" with the elders. It is a custom of being introduced and sharing a few words. We met Richard's mother who asked about our day on the land. She asked if we had given a gift back to the land, and was pleased to hear we had offered a couple of our traveler cigarettes. While we were relying on translation, it was a pleasant and natural meeting. A perfect way to say farewell – at least for now. As we drove to the massive gravel landing strip to meet our plane, Richard promised that next time he would bring us to a sacred place his uncle had found decades earlier. This place is on the other side of Colville Lake. It is a cave through narrow rocks, with a pond whose water has cured 6 people's cancer and whose mud heals arthritis. He sure knows how to peak one's interest!
That evening back in Yellowknife as we were enjoying a meal of fresh fish, we met a traveling writer from Australia. The conversation was wonderful as she shared of her profession and her recent adventure on the Keele River. As all irony would have it, she handed us her business card with picture of her pulling a hand toboggan. It seemed like a perfect coincidence, as we reflected on each of our experiences in the Arctic. "How was the trip?" we will undoubtingly be asked upon return, and our genuine response will simply be "life changing".