The "two mile mess" was filled with various sized rubble.

by John Huston

Tyler and I traveled 10.1 nautical miles today in 11 hours and we are extremely happy with that performance. It is a full moon today and that affects the tides by increasing them to their greatest extent and we are also near an area where we have heard there is a large lead. So we have been wondering about how the tides are going the affect the ice. Normally they increase the drift and action in opening up a lead. So we're a bit curious as to how that will affect the area that we are in. And last night, toward the end of the day, we noticed a whole lot of humidity in the snow and a bunch of recently frozen-over leads that we crossed the last 2 hours.

As we went to bed last night, we could hear in the distance, kind of a churning of the ice slowly moving as high tide came. This morning, about 12 hours later, we traveled through what we came to call the "two mile mess." The "two mile mess" was two straight miles of ice of all different sorts and recently frozen leads, most of them very frozen, of all different sorts and different directions as well. I don't really know how to describe it other than a labyrinth of new leads frozen over and just chunks of ice with frost flowers everywhere.

Some of the chunks of ice were as big as a car or bigger.  Some were just kind of small cauliflower that we would ski right over.  It's kind of frustrating to encounter an obstacle like this because it slows us down. However, while engaged in overcoming that obstacle, Tyler and I are never frustrated at our pace. We realize that we can only travel so fast and we actually enjoy the engaging route finding of going through rubble and kind of more open labyrinth type areas like the "two mile messes."  Fun, as it makes the time go by quickly and we marvel at the power of nature and the Arctic Ocean.  

So we also encountered a "one mile mess" later on and then a "half mile mess".  But the "two mile mess" took us 3 hours to go through.  And to finish that and go quite slowly, take our skis off about 10 different times and walk pulling our sleds, and still do 10 miles in 11 hours of travel, we are thrilled. We are full of pemmican and happy. And we had some Cajun spice tonight in honor of my mother who is celebrating her 65th birthday with my father in New Orleans.

So thanks for listening everybody and we will talk to you (later). (Dispatch was cut off)

Daily Expedition Data
Date: April 10, 2009
Location: N87° 13.047'  W075 19.632'
Time Traveled: 11 hours
Distance Traveled: 10.1 nautical miles
Drifted .4 nautical miles S/SW
AM Temperature: -18°F
PM Temperature: -17°F
E wind 4-8 knots, clear but haze on horizons
167 nautical miles to the North Pole