Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Last Days of Ellesmere

Tomorrow: Hot food, Drink, Warmth, buildings, showers... You get the Idea, and yet, life out here is by no means bad. Hard at worst. I do look forward to sleeping in the dark though. What will the City hold for me after this adventure? What Changes?
Today I took a few minutes to go for a ski by myself across the sound. I took my time and managed to cross in an hour or so, passage to land was barred by open water that had appeared overnight from the river. So I followed the coast for a bit before cutting back across the bay for camp. I eventually crossed my own tracks and there alongside them, two fresh sets of wolf tracks. They had followed me and must have snuck past while I was eating lunch. I followed the tracks as they went directly to camp, the prints of one of the wolves were quite large. I certainly wanted a to get a look at the beast but he never did show himself.

I’m both relieved to be out of here and quite sad, there will be more trips to come, of that I’m sure.

A bottle of red wine signifies the end. I drink to Howls and midnight sun for the last time. Perhaps there have been many lasts on this Journey and as well many firsts.

Wolves are circling me now as I write, should I fear? There are 4...5...Now 6! Perhaps I should stand up. Should I be afraid or should I stay still and possibly have the experience of a lifetime? The others are watching from camp which is quite far away. Now I see why sharks are called the wolves of the sea... Now I see 7 wolves! They are so much like sharks, their curiosity matched with their fear, though at once they could tear me apart. I want so bad to photograph them but my camera is in camp, to rise would scare them off. Perhaps I should keep this for myself?

They came quite close just then, 10 feet away perhaps, enough to look into their eyes and see that they were not here for violence but for simple curiosity.

Alone, on the Ice, In the land of wolves.

Patience, patience, another approaches. Even the Alternating rhythms of my breath scare it. So much fear and yet so much calm, it is only 5 feet from me. I do not turn to face it this time but allow it to approach from behind, always in the corner of my eye.. It certainly prefers my blind spot.

Wow, truly an experience of a lifetime. Who gets so close to such wild creatures, so magnificent they are, so powerful! A perfect way to say goodbye to the arctic. I’m anxious to say goodbye and hello to a lifestyle though, and New York will be welcome with all of it’s eccentricities.

After the Wolf Experience:
It sniffed the air from behind me. I force my muscles not to turn my neck, the slightest motion scares it away and each time our play of trust begins anew. I risk it all to simply be near, and the only reference I have to the approaching wolf is is it’s breath on my neck. This is enough, for my senses flood with the desire to run. I remind myself that the reputation of the wolf is made by men who fear and I take the body-language as a sign of it’s intentions instead of the stories. So I sit and when it is over I return to camp. Tobias watched it happen and waits with shared elation. As it turns out, there were people watching the whole time, the entire experience is on film, what Luck! My last night on Ellesmere...

June 3rd
Two days ago we stood on the wild Ice of Eureka Sound, and here we stand now, in New York City wearing fancy shirts, eating fancy dinners, and trying our best to act normal. It’s these contrasts that make life interesting, and at least for me, the sudden immersion into an entirely different culture just highlights the best memories of our adventure. As we left Eureka, our egos had been whittled down to the bone as we were transformed into a team of people with a common goal. The effect was amplified by the physical stresses that confronted us, and the little amount of time we had to actually reflect upon ourselves while faced with the wonders of the North, and the many tasks that faced us each day. We all find ourselves striving to make New York as much like the arctic as we can, Sam opens the windows to his hotel room trying to get fresh air, I turn up the AC to make it as cold as possible in my room, and all of us are faced with our various sleep issues, I can’t sleep because of the lack of exercise, and Toby cannot sleep enough. We are all adjusting though, and will soon be back into whatever life we have waiting for us. For me, I have many months of travel coming up, and a few conservation projects in the works, but the Arctic has left to strong an impression to be ignored. I plan on pursuing some of the stories that are common to the Arctic but unheard of in the bustling southern world, for now though, my priority list is short, to go home, see my family, my friends, and celebrate the opportunity that I have been given to inspire people to take action and make the world a better place.


GMV said...

Your words make the world a better place, waiting for us.

Anonymous said...

wow good job man
your work is so amazing
i love it,beautiful pictures congratulations
and a good blog too!!!