Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Ellesmere Island Expedition Journal Days 4-6

Today was travel day two for me. My body is tired, but my resolve is stronger, this time upon reaching camp I didn’t simply collapse into bed as I did yesterday. The number one thing that I notice out here is the power of light, the way it is so overbearing during the middle of the day, and how when the clouds roll in and the sunlight is scattered among the mountains, it softens to just the most pleasant hues, producing a million shades of blue. I would liken it to a moonlit night except that the sun shines with the same power for the full 24 hours.

My body is making the adjustments to a life of arctic travel, but much of the weight that I put on in order to combat the cold is superfluous and I anxiously await the day when I don’t have to carry it anymore. Still I’ve managed to ski over 50 k in two days so I’m not doing so bad.

(Note: After this point I realized nobody else was skiing the entire time and people were holding onto the sled getting pulled along a bit, still one pushed with the legs, but the sled helps carry your momentum)

Lets not watch our dreams drift by,
Clouds just rolling by,
Let’s not waste our time,
It’s all we have this time.

For two days we’ve been traveling along the coast of Nanson sound, the icebergs run aground here and massive chunks littler the shore. It’s a sight like I've never seen before. We cover perhaps 25K a day now and have sen wolf tracks littered with dripping blood, and caribou tracks, yet only a lemming has shown itself.

Although I currently feel more like bear bait than an author, photographer, or explorer, I could not pass up the opportunity to sit alone among the wind drifts and ice chunks we’ve set up camp in.
As we pulled up to one of the few flat spots on Nanson Sound, a crystalline haze descended on upon us, like the ceiling of clouds and sky decided to come down for a closer look at the beauties of the land. I would cal it a fog were it not for the fact that the clouds shine and glitter. Certainly not the gray and hollow fog that rolls off of an ocean. This is much different, tiny flecks of ice spin through the air reflecting by chance the midnight sun so that all things shimmer like the turning schools of fish you see in oceans. With camp barely visible, sound mostly muffled, I could very well be the most alone person on the planet right now, though I doubt it.

We made it a long way through the rough ice today, and along the way made a friend. Miles to sea we came across a confused lemming, obviously searching for a new land to populate, so we gave the little hitchhiker a ride, a meal and a warm water bottle cover to sleep in.

(Just now I turn to take another look into the fog and find instead a clear view of camp. I then turn back and see before me a mirage, stretching the horizon vertically so it looks like we face a massive wall of ice tomorrow. In seconds the vision passes.

We also heard the sweet chirp of a snow bunting today, a sparrow-like bird which ducked in to give us a closer look.

One of my favorite features of this land is the way the old icebergs stand above the new crumbling ice. At times, the way the fog covers the bottom of the bergs, and the tops stand alone, a peak above the clouds, or like it should look in a fog covered sea. It only takes a few minutes in this land to understand the sereneness of the inuit. Like the way visiting china left me more understanding of the chinese arts. Mirages come and go, yet never before your eyes, leaving the onlooker astounded and mystified

No comments: