Getting into the rhythm
Typically, at the start of any long expedition it takes a few days to find a consistent rhythm to doing things – to establish systems and daily routines. Especially so, at the end of the day, when we are preoccupied with putting up the tent, re-filling fuel bottles, getting the stoves going, the food ready, sleeping pads and sleeping bags in order, and so on.
In the morning we’re up at 6am and usually away by 8am, so it is roughly two hours between first ‘eyes open’, having breakfast, boiling up some hot water to fill up the thermoses (we each have two) for tea, coffee or water later in the day, getting tents and gear properly stowed on the sleds, all to strike camp to finally head out. Now and then, after an enjoyable hour’s ski or walk, we’ll stop for 10 to 15 minutes, sit on our sleds and tuck into the ‘grab-bags’ that keep us going throughout the day between breakfast and dinner.
What’s in our grab-bags? A variety of teas, hot chocolate, coffee, Gatorade and the all-important ‘cheese’, says Richard. (Again, since our last report, Richard hasn’t stop eating.) 😀😀😀
Continuing our travel through the Christie Lake system area. Surface conditions are still very mixed. We’re having to make our way over ice and ground that is often rough and uneven and on occasion, somewhat difficult. It is boots and spikes country. The skis are now securely strapped to our sleds. We managed to eke out about 20 kilometres of progress today. That’s generally good, not too bad really, although not quite as good when compared to yesterday in terms of the overall distance we’d like to make daily.
Though our sleds weigh in the neighbourhood of 200-210 pounds (91-95 kilos) or so, and theoretically should be becoming lighter, they are, at the moment, not feeling that way. Could be because we are having to drag them over the rough, uneven terrain at times; which in turn, is preventing our ability to make efficient forward momentum.
We saw three ravens today, flying over us, as if wondering who, or what, we might be. They were, as it turned out, the only signs of moving wildlife we saw, though there were signs of other activity along our route. We saw many caribou and wolf tracks, both of which tend to go hand in hand in this part of the world. That was nice to see! We also spotted some very, very old bear tracks a couple of days ago.
Looking ahead the weather promises to remain fair. We are able to get 48 hours of weather forecasting with our InReach device. Very handy. The next few days look to be generally settled weather-wise, although we are still going to be facing that pernicious headwind out of the North. Looks too, that we’ll be continuing to use our spikes as opposed to skis, a factor we are accepting as the hand we are dealt.
All in all, we’re — heads down and pushing on.