Day 35–Enchanted Landscape

June 15, 2010 12:11pm

The view from the plateau of today's camp

N77°56.959 W68°31.915 Elevation 3955 Feet

The winds came up in the middle of the night, and called us to task; we dutifully obliged, a tad reluctantly in my case, I’ll admit, as I had barely slept. We had sat almost thirty six hours in the tent, time that I spent writing, reading, and viewing and editing footage and images of the trip. I woke up to some activity in the tent and found Eric awake and chipper in the way one feels after sleeping most of the day and most of the night. It was four AM. He was preparing dinner.

“The winds are up!”, he said enthusiastically.
“So are you, I see”, I responded–somewhat incredulously.
“Yes, well I slept quite a bit.”
“You’re being modest,” I shot back. It was an understatement: he had slept 24 of the last 35 hours! Eric has the ability to nap anytime, anywhere. He claims to have fallen asleep once, even while kiting! (He allegedly woke up on the ground!) He passed me a copious bowl of Beef Stroganoff which would be breakfast. We ate silently, and began to pack our things. Outside, the wind was building into the promise a morning that could rival that of two days ago. The sun was out; all things considered, it wasn’t that cold; and the ice had hardened some. It didn’t take more to get me excited. I had some challenging filming to do which required good wind, and had been concerned that that window might have passed. This was going to be just the day for it.

In fact, travel this morning turned out to be spectacular, leaving yet another great lasting taste to our journey. Rolling hills came into tighter configurations, giving an almost backcountry feel to the day. Upon flying up the first hill, more ranges appeared to the west as if a veil was suddenly lifted revealing a coastline teeming with mountains. They were clear and well defined. Snowy mountain tops, valleys and cornices were easy to make out. They were distant but in the crisp morning air, the horizon line was swallowed by their powerful presence and we felt right on top of them. It was spectacular! We covered our fifty kilometers distance in no time, and pretty soon we could make out the beginnings of the crevasses area. We had agreed that, given the vast amount of snow fall, and provided we traveled early while the ice was still firm, we could probably push by kite further than expected.

The first familiar depreciation in the terrain–the characteristic of a bridge tracing a fault line–came into view. We maneuvered around it, and as we moved up and down the numerous small hills, more became apparent. Careful not to be overpowered by the kites, we flew them high and slow. Exhilarating though it undeniably was, tension was in the air. In the end, the ice was very firm, and for this area at least, the risks were very small. We made sure to steer clear of steeper slopes, which would harbor more cracks, and made our way to a plateau where we staged our next campsite. It was still quite early, and the wind was pumping. I had some filming that required smaller kites, and given how comfortably ahead of schedule we are, we spent the next couple of hours netting some spectacular footage, flying back and forth across the dominating plateau.
One thing that became evident from looking down to the ocean–we are still almost 1300 meters high–is that the bay is definitely frozen. A boat will not likely be able to pick us up, but if the ice is as hard as it looks, we might get a dogsled team to get us to Qaanaaq (thereby reducing the carbon footprint, and cost of a helicopter). But before that, we have probably two days of skiing, and we’ll be back to pulling! The sledges are significantly lighter than when we started which should take a bite out of the effort. We are ahead by a couple of days. The weekly flight out of Qaanaaq isn’t before the 23rd, eight days from now.

We have traveled 2280 kilometers in the last 35 days! Outside, the wind is still kicking; I might just get out and kite…just for fun!

2 Responses to “Day 35–Enchanted Landscape”

  1. I do agree with all the ideas you have presented in your post. They are very convincing and will definitely work. Thanks for the post.

  2. Nida Abdelal says:

    You can definitely see your enthusiasm in the work you write. The world hopes for more passionate writers like you who aren?¯t afraid to say how they believe. Always go after your heart.

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