by Tyler Fish
Last week, John and I noticed, or made a few observations, about our progress. One is that the terrain flattened. We found ourselves traveling primarily on wind packed pans of ice, flat plains separated by lower and higher ridges. The lower ridges of rubble we could ski over and the higher ones sometime we have to take our skis off and climb over or down from.
We are also able to ski faster. We notice that our pulks are getting lighter as we eat and as we use our fuel. And we also changed from full skins on our skis to partials skins on our skis, which increased our speed dramatically. And our distances become more and more consistent. It's a better distance. It's longer and we notice that it's easier to ski all day and more enjoyable. So even though we're putting long hours and skiing further, we're actually, in some ways, less tired. Those are our observations.
The question that we've had this week and we've been unable to answer is, "How is the ice?" We know that in 2007 it was the lowest extent of summer sea ice ever, so the least area ever recorded. We know that in the 2008 it was not the least area but it was the thinnest that they ever recorded. So if we sit here on the ice of 2009, what is it? We really don't know. It's very hard to tell for us. But we're definitely curious.
And then the realizations about us and our expedition. Right now our expedition is sustainable. We feel really good about the work that we've put in. We eat well, we sleep well and we appreciate what we're doing. We're also calm. We feel like we have been doing the right things; either based on the advice of others - and we have got a lot of great advise and feel like according to most people's words we're doing well, or based on our own judgment, we feel like we are on our way to the North Pole. And things are dependable. We now know how to depend on our gear and we know when to use it, how to use it, and our routines are good. And we're a dependable team. We trust each other and we are going to make it.
Daily Expedition Data
Date: March 28, 2009
Location: N85° 12.012' W074 30.144'
Time Traveled: 9 hours 30 minutes
Distance Traveled: 8.9 nautical miles
AM Temperature: -39°F
PM Temperature: -28°F
clear and sunny all day
288 nautical miles to the North Pole