Week 04 Green Land
Date Posted: 3.15.2009
Location: 44º54'N 92º47'W
Expedition Basecamp, Minnesota, USA
Weather Conditions: Overcast, 50°F (10°C)
No, no, we are not in the country of Greenland quite yet. However, just as last week we had windblown fields of deep snow as far as the eye could see around Expedition Basecamp, today the scenery is all changed. We have not seen any green yet, but it's all muddy fields with stubby cornstalks and lakes of water! "On a training run with the Polar Huskies this week, we actually observed waves on the puddles!" says Andrea with a grin.
[image right: A beautiful wristband with Greenland's animals]
Talk about sea ice, it is changing and the effects it's having on people in Greenland was part of the fantastic chat we had on Wednesday with our own GoNorth! Cool scientists Shari Gearheard. With questions pouring in from Australia and Hungary to Maine in the USA, some 45 locations took part possibly making it our largest chat ever with upwards of what could be 1,000 students online at once!!! "Simply spectacular to watch the learning in action like that," says Aaron. Mille admits the experience brought tears to her eyes! She goes on, "the chat along with the many sweet Send-a-Notes and the already many great postings in the Zones are just the best motivation we can get as we are about to set out on the expedition and for the long days ahead on the sled."
Finishing up the final touches on the two qamutik (or komatik) sleds that we will be using on the expedition was just some of the crazy buzz at Expedition Basecamp. The sounds of crunching Ramen noodles and the rattle from the GORP mixer had barely faded from last week's food pack out! Less than 36 hours later we were all going full out from early morning to late night! This time, however, we were working on the gear and equipment for the journey ahead.
[image left: Andrea gives Lightning paste to prevent any chance of parasites before the expedition.]
There is no doubt the Polar Husky veterans know what's going on! That is, the day of departure is approaching. Twenty-three pairs of eyes stared towards the shop area, watching every movement to gauge what's next while the silent air is constantly broken by long howls; which was answered back by the pack of coyotes that hang out around Expedition Basecamp!
Probably the most relaxed Polar Husky is this week's first Polar Husky Superstar, Nazca. The matriarch of the Kennel, this incredible Polar Husky take pretty much everything with a stoic calm while always trying to sneak a little gentle kiss planted on your face if she can. But then, Nazca knows what she is doing. The oldest Polar Husky to be running on this expedition, she has an unbelievable number of expeditions under her paws. She has traveled literally around the circumpolar Arctic as she has been on an expedition every year since 1999! She has crisscrossed Canada and Alaska, and pulled across Russia, Sweden, Norway and Finland! For most of her life Nazca was the fastest Polar Husky in the kennel. Today she is the older lady and has had to give up that title probably to one of her little granddaughters - Kinu or Sisu. Sisu is this week's second Polar Husky superstar!
In some ways Sisu is much like her grandmother. She is very sweet and gentle, loves attention and is very shy with new people. However, she still is very calm! Fast as can be, she worked her way up the line in the team last year on what was her first expedition. In a bind when going through a steep canyon the bigger dogs needed to be closer to the sled for sake of power, and Sisu ended up in point simply for a place to put her. However, she blew us away! Beyond revved up, she just went at it! She was crazed and determined to get the sled moving and the team going behind her. Despite her young age she was completely unfazed by the pressure of running in the front of the team. The only thing that seems to get to little Sisu is when things just are not moving along quite fast enough! But then, her name means determination and she has pretty much run in point ever since. We are sure she will be up front once again when we set out with mukluks and paws on snow again in white (Green)land.