Before us…a spectacular Arctic scene
Hello. David here.
The whiteout blizzard we experienced yesterday curtailed our progress a little bit. Never a good idea to try and navigate in an Arctic blizzard, so we put the tent up (without incident) and hunkered down a couple hours earlier than what would be normal.
The wind was still blowing this morning. Heading to the West today, it was still quite cold in the mid-minus 30’s. But the wind direction was good. Wasn’t hitting ‘on the nose’ quite as much as it had days previous.
Fingers and toes are all checked tonight, and I’m happy to say they are all still there. That’s a ‘Yay!’ for the both of us.
So all is well tonight, though it must be said, that Richard and I have taken to not getting along. Primarily, because Richard seems to still be operating on Naujaat time, whilst I am, CORRECTLY, now working off, Gjoa Haven time. What we’ve done to ameliorate the situation (and stay true to our principles), is to draw a line down the middle of the tent with a Sharpie pen. This alleviates confusion. The left hand side of the tent is in Naujaat time; the right side — Gjoa Haven time.
Keeping time straight and without confusion, our morning ablutions and routines are now scheduled: ‘right hand side of the tent time’ or, ‘left hand side of the tent time,’ as required. And when he then asks, ‘David, what time is it?’ it will be so very easy, to smartly reply, ‘it’s right hand tent time, Richard!’ Simple. No confusion. No conflict. For tonight at least, we will both know what time it is, depending. He will come around (eventually).
Today, we did 18 kilometres in a straight line. Roughly translated, that’s well over 20k. Today we worked our way through the labyrinth of lakes and rivers that emerged out of the beautiful Ross Hills, the range (or line) of hills that lie West of the Simpson lakes.
The sky cleared for us, and on today’s trek we were greeted with what I would have to say was, ‘one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen in the Arctic. The horizon before us was completely flat, akin to what I can only describe as presenting an, ‘Arctic —Antarctic —prairie vista —of mildly undulating snow, all rolled into one. The scene we beheld, was so spectacular, so incredible, that we just had to take the time to take it all in.
It is normally easy on an Arctic expedition to just put your head down, find a bearing and slog away; but here, today, we took our time to fully appreciate where it is we are, and what we are doing. Our surroundings today became so, ’staggeringly beautiful!’ and different in their topographical transition from the winding lakes and rivers, to unfold suddenly (pop up) on the other side of a small rise to now reveal this incredible flat horizon. Unforgettable!
Thankfully, we continue to make good progress on our journey. Looking at the map tonight, *Point de la Guiche, is roughly 85 kilometres away. Of course, we don’t know what the conditions are like between here and there; it is flat, we know it’s flat, but there’s a system of rivers to come that might also include dips and valleys. We shall see.
We are eager to get going tomorrow, to head West again, to find a coast. We really feel that we are in our final week now; both feeling good, both feeling strong and motivated to finish Arctic Return’s journey, and to honour a great man. Two great men, actually, but more about that when we get to Point de la Guiche.
Now, if only Richard could properly tell time, well, we’d be all the better still.
Cheers, David, and Richard
[In blizzard conditions, the right goggles are essential. They are an incredibly important piece of equipment that protects our eyes. Having already encountered a number of heavy blizzards this trip, we do owe a very special thank you tonight to, Native Eyewear (@nativeeyewear.com), for supplying their fabulous goggles to the AR team.]
*(De la Guiche Point)