Camped on the Kellett River

David, Richard and Frank checking in 

It is now Day 14 on the trail. We’re camped on the Kellett River, which is part of a river system that will eventually drain into Pelly Bay, on the Gulf of Boothia. We’re probably looking into at least a couple of days travel, between here and our arrival at Pelly Bay. We will then take on a short sea-ice crossing before we achieve the Boothia Peninsula proper.

A long day today — very much overcast —the unseasonably warm weather continues, warm being -15C or thereabouts. Not unexpected, that. You do tend to get a bit of a ‘blip of warm weather’ in the Arctic during the springtime month of April. The soft snow conditions we’ve experienced over the last couple of days does make things a bit of a ‘harder go’ in terms of pulling the sleds. Fortunately, temperature conditions are predicted to drop down and for the wind to pick up over the weekend to a more comfortable (for travel) -20C to -25C which should bring a windchill closer to -30C / -35C. As uncomfortable as the cold weather can be at times, it does make travelling easier and more efficient, when it comes to pulling the sleds.

The team skied a long, long steady day overall.  The overcast, greyish light was really not very much to our liking… surrounded, as we were, by an endless grey/white cast in the sky, that will put you into a bit of ‘a funk mood’, if you let it.

As nature can, and so often does though, even during a low ebb, something is sure to pop up to brighten the day. An Arctic fox paid us a brief visit, actually paid us some attention for a bit before deciding to take off. 

Going back in time

Later in the day, skiing along as we do, we glanced off to left of a small embankment and saw in the far-off distance, what looked to be three iglus.* These turned out, of course, to be nothing more than three large boulders off to our lee-side. But seeing the iglus at first, for those few brief moments at least, we imagined we were travelling back in time to 1854; half-expecting Rae and his companions to come running out to greet us, to share stories, news and talk with us of their discoveries, just as the people of this region did in the Arctic back so many, many years ago.

*(the most common, but still evolving English words in mainstream use that refer to Inuit snow houses are, ‘igloos’ or ‘iglus’. To Inuit, the word ‘iglu’ refers specifically to a ‘house’ or ‘home’. The correct word for snow house (as was implied here by the use of ‘iglus’ ) is, ‘igluvigat’ and would be ‘igluvigaq’ if referred to in the singular.

Our camp, on a warm Spring Friday night, April 12

We do have a very nice camp set up tonight. My companions, Frank and Richard, are staying (oddly) quiet tonight. Missing is the more-usual chiming in (in the background). I’ve been duly informed they are diligently focused on ‘administration work’ , and not on what I am saying. Probably, they are, ‘quite nackered’ that’s all; but I shan’t tease them about it. They worked hard today.

Planning another long day tomorrow, but all in all, we’re making slow, but good and steady progress. Very much looking forward to the colder weather.

AN ARCTIC RETURN TEAM SHOUT-OUT: And oh yes, another huge SHOUT OUT.  Where would we be without our MSR XGK stoves? Seriously, no self-respecting camper should ever leave home without one. Amazing, amazing little stoves. They light every time!  If we didn’t have them, this would be an entirely different trip. A very special thank you to everyone at MSR, from the three of us way out here on the Kellett River in the Arctic, for giving us hot food and hot drink, every day of the week. Your products are great!!!   [The AR Team]