Wilderness traveller, photographer and lecturer John Dunn is returning to Quesnel’s Chuck Mobley Theatre, Feb. 20, bringing his latest presentation: Ellesmere Light, an innovative summer expedition across Canada’s northernmost island.
However, this latest adventure was also an exercise in frugality, during which Dunn used as
little equipment as possible.
The 55-day journey began in mid-June with the expedition pulling a sled on the melting sea ice for 250 km, then attaching wheels to the sled hauling it overland for a further 250 km and finally hiking the equipment in for the last 250 km.
Vital pieces of equipment, including all their food, were an 800-gram tent and a 1.4kg boat.
“It was amazing how little stuff one really needs in order to undertake such a challenging journey,” Dunn said.
“Our journey was made easier by having to pull or carry less.”
Dunn added people should not be defined by their stuff.
Born and educated in England (he holds a geology degree), Dunn first went to work in mineral exploration in Australia before moving to Canada in the late 1980s. He says he comes by his wilderness wanderlust honestly, citing his parents’ around the world sail at the age of 65+.
Dunn has a long association with Canadian Geographic. The Royal Canadian Geographical Society has supported six of his expeditions and the magazine has published images and stories from five of those journeys.
Dunn is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.
Primarily, Dunn explores Canada’s high arctic, most recently his summer expedition to Ellesmere Island.
After 20 arctic trips and more than 1,100 days in the field he still has the arctic bug and the desire to share his experiences through his images and lectures.
“A journey along the treeline at the southern edge of the arctic would be interesting,” he said.
“Also, an expedition in the Yukon too, perhaps.
“But first I want to complete a journey I started many years ago – namely a traverse of Canada from south (Vancouver Island) up to the top of Ellesmere. I have completed most of this but still have a few thousand kilometres of paddling, skiing and hiking to do.”
Dunn takes great pleasure in sharing his experiences through public presentations.
Although described by many as extreme, he prefers to begin with good planning, then being out on the land, working towards a distant and quite challenging goal.
“As a photographer I enjoy the process of trying to record the experience and then subsequently sharing the adventure through richly illustrated presentations,” he added.
He went on to say any outdoor adventure can be satisfying and exciting.
“It depends so much on your skill level, expectations and how much you want to challenge yourself,” he summed up.
The presentation is sponsored by the Cariboo Ski Touring Club and Ron Watteyne said this is an opportunity for the public to see and hear about a part of Canada in the high arctic that most of us will never get a chance to experience.
“The presentation will also open our eyes to the effects of global warming in the north,” he said.
“John has been to Quesnel twice before to a sold out audience with his excellent picture and video presentation.”
Tickets for Ellesmere Light are $10 in advance from Rocky Peak Adventure Gear, 337 Reid Street, or $12 at the door.
The presentation begins at 7 p.m.