Week 12 Storm
Date Posted: 5.10.2010
Location: 76º47'N 64º36'W
Weather Conditions: Storm 0ºF (-17ºC)
“Can you feel it in your ears?” Aaron asks Mille... “At first I have no clue what he is asking me – but then I feel it in my forehead!!” says Mille. Seriously, we know it sounds crazy, but as we are writing this, we are literally feeling the atmospheric pressure changing! It is really uncomfortable; none of us have ever experienced anything like it before. Mille goes on, “It’s making me feel all woozy!”. Looking at our barometer, it jumped: the atmospheric pressure is now at 1005 millibars
[image left: The generator fort - notice the yellow extension cord running into the tent!]
He is just in from setting up ‘a fort’ around the generator to protect it against whipping snow. Like sand, it finds its way everywhere through any cracks and into every gap, including those inside of a motor. Unlike last week where we could power up using solar power, this time around to keep all the computers running we have to burn some gas using our small generator. That, despite Aaron coming up with a brilliant system to tie the solar panels on top of one of the sleds during the day as we are dogsledding, hooking it straight into and juicing up the gell-cell battery below the load! However, we simply have not had enough sunlight in the last week to recharge the batteries... To be exact, we have had one day without a storm this week. Just one day.
Despite the caution, we actually did get a small tear in a front wall on the one tent. The plan was to fix it right away. But, the first night back on the move we did have a bunch of stuff to attend to first – like filling up fuel bottles for the tent stove and re-supplying our tent-food-bags in which we carry one week’s worth of food. Moving to get freed in the morning had been rewarded with a terrific day of travel. The Polar Huskies simply cruised despite the fact that we climbed some 1500 feet (500 meters) further above sea level in a mere five hours. The climb was helped by the fact that the Greenland Inland Traverse team and their huge machines and loads of cargo were not far ahead of us paving one dream of a trail for the first two-thirds of the day, until we passed them in late afternoon.
[image right: Polar Huskies breaking trail as the storm began]
It was mid-day when they passed us again the next day. Disappearing off in the distance we actually thought that might be it for our tracks crossing! However, to our joy we caught up with them again a few hours later. It turned out though that they were calling it a day. Once again it was their turn to wave us off as we passed around their machines to break trail ahead, this time Aaron skiing out ahead as the visibility seemed to be closing in on us. It was mere minutes, and they were gone. We could no longer see them. We were in a storm, out of nowhere, again. But, for three solid hours, with Disko by her side, Lightning led our team through a white space. “Lightning simply moved herself into the ranks of great lead dogs with her phenomenal performance in that white-out,” marvels Mille, “there was no telling up from down, whatsoever, she took my few commands with such finesse keeping us going on a straight arrow along our bearing. She literally took us within feet of our route on the GPS when we finally stopped to make camp! It was simply awesome to be part of!”
[image left: Andrea and Brant filling bottles of fuel for the tent stove]
We have been sitting in the tent for a long time! We have been - reading books, magazines, playing cards, doing chores, cooking, drying clothing, digging holes for the dogs, drying clothing, feeding the dogs, drying clothing, checking the dogs, drying clothing, making water, sleeping, getting up at 5 in the morning and getting ready for departure in case the weather would lift, watching the barometer, going outside to adjust the tents to make sure all is good, drying clothing, reading the same magazines again, listening to the nor’easter… and well, trying to keep our minds from focusing too much on what is going outside the tent walls, when we are not outside that is. It’s pretty amazing to be here on the ice sheet and start thinking about what is happening around us!
Baffin is one of the hardest workers in the kennel. A very sweet soft guy with people, he likes to be left alone by the other dogs. We often joke that if Baffin one day realizes just how massive and powerful he is, there are a lot of Polar Huskies who better look out! For now, Baffin gets easily annoyed with them and quite possibly he will give anyone of them a scary looking growl if they are being a bother. But at the same time, that is really just mostly noise as he is a pretty mellow guy who likes to have peace. Funny enough, one of his best buddies is crazed little Luna. She may look a lot like Baffin, but Luna is as wild as he is mellow and as little as he is big. Nevertheless, as Luna has been training for most of the year running in wheel with Baffin, he has done his best to teach his incredible technique, elegance and hard work ethic. Baffin is a good and patient teacher!