Final pull

by John Huston

We are in the final pull of getting the New land 2013 expedition train out of the station.

Putting our lives on hold for 3 months always entails a certain amount of stress and chasing of details. To me, it has always felt like a pinching feeling that grows as the departure deadline nears.

Leaving home is a strange feeling. I’ve known this day was coming for a long time, but that doesn’t necessarily make me ready for how I’m going to feel on Saturday morning at the airport. There’s a whole mix of emotions flowing right now, excitement (about the North and Ellesmere Island), sadness (about leaving behind loved ones), responsibility (to my family, my job, and to the team), and fear (of forgetting something).

Toby, in Oslo, is packing up and launching the Norwegian arm of our educational program. He’ll be leaving behind his wife and 2 year-old daughter.

Yesterday, I called Hugh, our Canadian teammate. He quickly told me told me that he was too busy to talk because he had his hands full deep-frying bacon at a sausage kitchen. No joke…it was my favorite call of the week so far. Hugh and his wife have three young children. Hugh has been on the narrow end of our logistic funnel, handling all of our shipments into Canada and on to the North.

Kyle, our video man, just put his feet back down on terra firma in the southernmost Chile after crossing the Drake Passage following his seasonal work in Antarctica. Tomorrow, he flies back to Norway, where he lives with is girlfriend. Then he promptly heads east to meet us.

I’ve got all my duffle bags packed save for a few items. I’m doing my best to spend some quality time with my wife and our beloved dog. I’m also doing my best to add more weight to my frame. So far my increased butter intake has resulted in just a few pounds of gain and several sweaty nights of sleep.

On Saturday, the team unites in Ottawa, Ontario for a few days of eating, planning, and for a send-off event with some local media.

Then on Tuesday morning, March 19, we fly to Iqaluit for 6 days of preparations. In Iqaluit, we’ll meet our skijor dogs, get some cold weather exposure, and iron out our travel and camping routines.

On March 25, we fly to Resolute, Nunavut. There we will do the final food packing and organize our resupplies.

March 28 (maybe March 29) is expedition start day from Goose Fjord on the southern coast of Ellesmere Island.

Until next time, thanks for reading.