Questions & Answers Wk 05

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Every week Team GoNorth! answers ten questions related to the module topic from student explorers -- so stay tuned and submit YOUR questions!

The dogs sleep outside.

While we are at Expedition Basecamp they sleep in the dog yard (sometimes in their barrels/dog houses). While we are on the trail, they sleep under the evening sky on a stake-out.

Where do the dogs sleep?

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The Polar Huskies cannot go to Antarctica.

In 1991 an international agreement was signed that required all non-native species (with the exception of humans) to be removed from Antartica. For decades sled dogs helped transport scientists around Antarctic for exploration. In 1992 the last dog teams were removed from Mawson Station.

Did you know that GoNorth! Greenland 2010 is the 5th year of our program? During the first year, in 2006, we crossed the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. In 2007 we went to Chukotka. 2008 had us crossing Fennoscandia and in 2009 we went to Nunavut!

Why did you choose Greenland instead of other countries like Antarctica?

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Yes! There are students just like you in Greenland and there are schools too! We will be visiting schools along the expedition route and we look forward to sharing our experience and what we learn with you in the weekly Trail Reports and Scrapbook updates.

Are there any schools there?

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Good observation and great question Luke! We have snow goggles and sunglasses that will help us during bright times on the trail and we have headlamps so we can see around the camp at night.

Keep in mind as we continue towards June 21st, the days "get longer." This doesn't mean that there is more than 24-hours in the day, but rather there are more hours of sunlight. As the earth tilts on its axis, there will be a period of time where the Arctic will experience 24-hours of sunlight and the sun won't set! So for the most part because of the longer days we will be traveling while it is light out! At times we travel in the evening hours because even though it will still be sunny, the sun will be lower in the sky. This means that the temperatures will be cooler at night than it will be during day hours when the sun is at its highest.

Does the time that the sun stays up effect the exploration of Greenland or do you have enough tools to see and still ride in the night?

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Growing up in Denmark I was very close with both my grandfathers - actually I was close with all my grandparents. My one grandfather, Steen, was born and raised on Disko Island in Greenland. One of my favorite things as a kid, was to hang out with my grandfather Steen and listen to his stories from being a kid growing up with his own dog team exploring out on the land; as well as the stories of his two much older brothers who both moved to Greenland where they dogsledded all over the north working as botanists. So, yes, I actually did dream of growing up to work with big sled dogs and traveling on journeys in the Arctic. But, my plans were to move to Greenland and live there. Then, before I ever made it to Greenland, I began working with the Polar Huskies when I was 18 years old, the first time I came to the USA, and before I knew it that following winter I was on my first expedition (that was in Canada) and this is what I have been doing ever since! Now, my other grandfather, Jens, was a farmer and I spent much of my childhood working as a kid on the farm. That probably taught me some of the most important lessons in preparation for what I do today, like working hard and long hours no matter the conditions, not to give up even when it gets hard, to love to work with animals, team work and knowing how to look for solutions to pitch in. Also, while Denmark is not "Arctic" or actually even have that much of a season for snow - like you have in Austria - the weather in Denmark is really cold because it is humid, wet and windy! My grandmother always told me to ignore the weather and hod my head high no matter how cold I felt. Yes, I know it sounds really old fashioned, but I really have heard my grandmother's voice inside of my head many a time, saying just that, over the last 17 years that I have been dogsledding on journeys in the Arctic! Now, guess where I learned to ski?..... Yes, in Austria! We use to go on skiing trips to Austria at least once a year!

Mille, when you were a little kid, growing up in Denmark, did you ever dream of exploring with cute polar huskies? Also does your experiences in Denmark ever help you in this journey?

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Team members who will be traveling to Greenland are:

Mille Porsild
Aaron Doering
Andrea Verdegan
Christine Germano
Brant Miller

How many people are coming with you guys?

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We have tools that we carry with us on the sled to use for just these occasions. If the sled were to get stuck and the Polar Huskies were not able to break it free, we would begin digging and chopping! We would use shovels to dig the sled out and use an ax to help break up the snow. Depending on the situation, this can take many hours. Eventually we would either get the sled completely unstuck, or loose enough so that the Polar Huskies would be able to pull it again.

How would you cope if one of your trailers or sleds get stuck in the snow like the trailer in operation Mud, and the huskies can't get it out. How would you go about it?

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There will be two sleds.

Did you see the picture of Tim and Andrea loading the sled into the trailer in the week 5 photo journal?


Our class would like to know how many sleds will be used on the expedition?

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Not yet! But once we get to Greenland we sure will! And do you know what that means? You will see them right here at! :)


Have you seen any glaciers on your trip, yet?

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Traveling in the Arctic means there is always the chance that the weather will get bad. But, 'bad weather' is a relative term and depends on where you live and what you are used to. For example, 'bad weather' to a student in Alabama may be beautiful weather to a student in  Minnesota. Likewise, 'bad weather' to a student in Minnesota may be beautiful weather to a student in Greenland.

We have experienced days on previous trips to the Arctic where we have decided to call it a rest day and stay in the tent instead of traveling. Reduced visibility is usually our biggest concern, cold and wind? Not so much. :)

Can the weather get bad?

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