Topsy turvy travel
Thursday evening. Richard reporting in for team.
We’re now well into ‘phase 3′ running off the Arctic Ocean. We skied up the Curtis River and tonight we are settled on dry land. The temperatures have gone up quite a bit. We had -10C while en route this fine day, so again, we were stripped down to light layers while on the go.
Today has been rather like skiing inside a ping-pong ball; white, white, white, in whichever direction one looked. Very overcast, very featureless, the sky blending into the ground. It’s very hard in this ‘whitewash’ to judge any topographical relief while we are on the go. One minute you’ll ski into a snowbank and fall over, or you’ll ski down a small dip and fall over. Some of us, I should add, were falling over more often than others. The only wildlife highlights of the day: three ravens flying overhead and the skull and antlers of a caribou that we came across.
Call it Karma
If you’ve been faithfully following our wee blog (as we are sure you have) you will remember David pulling off without one of his sleds in tow the other day. Frank and I were thoroughly entertained by that. Well, it has now happened to me, today — twice!! At one point, a bit later, I was skiing down a hill to meet the guys; there was some sort of crazy commotion below where the boys were waiting for me. They were waving their arms wildly to get my attention. I thought, oh, oh, there must be a bear! and then I heard Frank say, ‘hold on a minute, I’ll get a photograph.’
I thought, surely the guys WOULD NOT BE crawling off just to whip the camera out, as opposed to rushing to my aid …would they? In near panic I turned around, and sure enough, I was still in possession of sled ONE, yes, but sled TWO having detached itself somehow, lay halfway up on the hill on its side. Obviously the two sleds had a ‘falling out’ somewhere along the way. The argument between sleds ONE and TWO persisted for the remainder of the day, and true to fate, a few hours later, sled TWO again decided it had had enough of ONE. The cordage between the two snapped, only to leave me foolishly skiing on for another 200 metres or so, missing one sled … or was that two?
Not to excessively belabour this point, but re: Frank, our resident cobbler — the shoemaking continues tonight. As it has every night so far. Last night he cut his boot down its entire front (to relieve the pressure on his foot), made some new holes and laces, then laced the boot back up again. His totally redesigned boot looks quite nice now.
David Reid continues to surprise. He somehow has the ability to fall asleep in an instant, in a virtual split second, every evening. However, somehow he also possesses the uncanny ability to respond to any discussion that Frank and I might be having, ostensibly while he sleeps. We think he must sleep ‘catlike’ — one eye and one ear open.
As for me, I continue to struggle to treat a nagging case of ‘chaffage’ and have graciously been lent a spare pair of Frank’s swanky, ‘non-chaffage’ Lululemon base-wear, which proved quite successful in terms of reducing said problem today.
You may by now have gathered that travelling together in the Arctic for over a week now, the three of us have begun to develop a language of our very own. So tonight, as the kettle is boiling, we now have what is called, ’boilage’. So while ‘boilage’ and ‘chaffage’ will do for the time being, I’m sure our unique vocabulary will continue to expand as time goes on.
Camped comfortably tonight as we are, there was time and inclination to have a ‘salami chopping’ session. We had purchased a couple of large salamis while in Ottawa for the expedition. Of course they remained solidly frozen since Naujaat. The warmer temperatures made it possible for us to be able to chop some, nice and handy, very tasty, bit-sized chunks to go along with our dehydrated, just add water fare.
I’ve been told by the guys that I’ve actually EXCELLED this evening! having dug out a lovely patio area in the tent porch so that we now have a seating area. I’ve also been labelled the resident ‘barista’. I’m proudly making everyone coffee and have now been converted to the fine bean myself.
After another great night’s sleep, we proceed tomorrow in a quasi-northwesterly direction heading into a river system that will link us up to Pelly Bay, which is our next milestone. Light winds are forecast.
Rae, is most certainly with us tonight.