White Desert

April 9, 2009 8:37pm

Great day of traveling today, as the climate lent leniency to our trip with
an average of minus 25F to 29F degrees. Peary said it one hundred years
ago, and it still holds today–perfect temperatures for trekking here.
Just cold enough to keep from sweating, but not so cold as to numb the
experience into a teeth clattering, white-knuckled ride through frosty
hell. Additionally, the terrain was friendly and relatively flat, and
the scenery epic. It felt very much like a sand desert, but white–each
boulder a block of ice; each sand drift an ice drift. We came upon two
open leads which we crossed without trouble (though there is always the
thrill of tension preceding the crossing as we never know if it will
hold or break beneath our skis!) We also came upon some bear tracks
again, though this time they were probably a few weeks old. A bear has
little business being up here, given the scarcity of food. Mind you,
were it to come upon our tracks, the bear would be well justify to say
the same of us! We took our time traveling and I made it a point to
film and photograph. It is tough. A decision to shoot is always
weighted against time lost, and a potential cold injury to the fingers.
Either way, the fingers always get it! On thee frostbite watch, we seem
to be managing our injuries. But you cannot let your guard down out
here. It is unforgiving. We have camped next to an old re-frozen lead,
in what is perhaps the most scenic of our campsites so far. I made it a
point to walk around, since we generally build our tent and rush in to
get away from exposure. A truly exotic walk into another world. It
does not get old! We covered 11 nautical miles in 11 hours. We have
crossed into the next degree and our position is now N87°02.345 and

Leave a Reply