A new and different vibe
Under blue skies, we continue to head West, hoping tomorrow to reach Simpson Lake. Tonight we are catching some much needed rest, camped approximately 10 kilometres East of the lake.
With Frank now also having left the expedition team, it is fair to say that there is a new and different vibe to our journey, one that is felt at camp and out on the trail.
Richard and I are continuing to press on. Now just two, we have a new schedule in terms of breaking trail. We each take a 20 to 30 minutes spell to lead and break trail, and then we switch shifts. The switch-over comes on more quickly now. Every hour, or hour and a half, we take a 10 minute break to hydrate, eat some food and then get going again. Though we would like our wee breaks to be a bit longer, the problem is that if you stop too long, you get chilled, and you don’t want that to happen.
One of our main objectives this expedition is to reach, De la Guiche Point, which is the furthest point West that Rae achieved, in 1854. It was there that he correctly made the determination that King William Island, was in fact an island and not a peninsula, a discovery that ran contrary to the charts and maps of his day. Recognizing the ice, he correctly deemed it to be the missing link (to the Northwest Passage).
However, there is an even larger goal that serves as the bedrock to the Arctic Return project, which is to see, to fruition, the restoration of John Rae’s childhood home, the Hall of Clestrain, in Orkney, Scotland. Though this expedition will come and go, at it’s conclusion our focus will turn to drawing attention to the John Rae Society, in Orkney. They are the organization that has taken on, as part of their mandate, the commitment to raise funding for the restoration of the Hall and the creation of an Arctic Interpretation Centre there to celebrate, not only John Rae, and other Arctic explorers, but more-so, to give tribute to what John Rae stood for and the lessons we can all learn from the way he conducted himself, his explorations, and the important surveying work he did, so early in his career.
Richard and I sat down last night (Wednesday) to figure out how far it is that we still have to go and how many days we have left on the expedition. Obviously, the weather, in terms of temperature, precipitation, winds and snow conditions we encounter en route, will play a large hand in determining our progress. If we wind up having to ski in deep snow, we will get bogged down and fall behind schedule. We don’t want that to happen, so we’re putting our heads down, digging in, and pushing forward West, to reach the western side of the Boothia Peninsula and ultimately, De la Guiche Point.
To be honest we’re flat-out tired tonight (as I’m sure you can tell), but all is well. Richard is thoroughly engrossed at the moment, working on his knees. Not exactly sure why; chilblains, or something or another, that I’m not able to adequately describe this evening due to fatigue.
Unwittingly perhaps, (which is very likely, knowing Richard) he has replaced Frank’s now-infamous bouts of boot-work, to become the new expeditionary muse (for levity) during the hard going.
David [and Richard] Camped: 68º 27’ 45” N , 91º 5’ 45” W