Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Ellesmere Island Journal days 1-3

Yesterday I finally Joined the team, they’ve been pushing through the rough Ice now for 40 days and only just reached smooth traveling where the plane landed. On the the flight in I manned the controls for a couple of hours and flew the Twin Otter over sections of the Arctic Ocean. I brought plenty of gifts with me to try to get on everyones good side, but it seems I didn’t particularly have to worry about it as they were just happy to see a new face. It’s extremely warm right now, and with the sun shining as it does 24 hours a day, everything feels extremely comfortable. We celebrated a bit last night and drug the sled to the top of a nearby peak and 6 of us rode straight down the hill in a mad dash, I have to say, it was one of the most fun days I’ve had to date.

This may be my only chance to be alone. I’m sitting on top of a small mountain overlooking our camp, and the broken arctic ocean. From here I can see the shadows of clouds as they move across confused jumbles of Ice far out to sea. The shadows shimmer as they move. This place has not been conquered by man, we simply can make quick dashes in and out of it. As I sit here and take in a full 360 degree view the only elusion to man that I can see are my own tracks, and our tents. Not even a man made sound penetrates the stillness, such powerful stillness. Yet, it holds such violence. Only a mountain away the Cache of Otto Sverdrup sits, a treasure lost that has been found by Toby after many years.

It was our first day moving since I arrived. We packed up early and set about moving camp. The sleds are heavy because of the amount of food that we now cary, and as hard as I trained, it was not near enough. As we finally pulled into camp, my motivation collapsed and merely setting up the tent was an act not performed so much as automated. I stand now ready to collapse. We covered about 23 Kilometers and I sat down only once all day. The General Outline of our day is as follows. Wake at 6:00, eat breakfast by 7:00 pack gear by 7:30 load the sleds by 8:00. From here Will usually treks ahead to find a route and we travel at a jogging pace for 2 hours at a time taking 15 minute breaks in between. We continue like this for 8 hours or so until we set up camp again. This is a very loose schedule, on easy days, the breaks extend to almost 45 minutes, and some days we quit a few minutes early or late.

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