Down the Canyon

by John Huston

A few days ago we passed the quarter pole of this expedition. And, in honor of that occasion, we have a bunch of fun facts about our trip and about our life on the ice that we want to share with you.

First, though, I’ll give a quick recap of our totally amazing day yesterday coming down from the height of lands between Trold Fjord and Bay Fjord. And on the way we went through this super cool rock-carved canyon about 40’ walls and in many places only 10 to 15′ wide. And then it widened out until we got into a kind of a riverbed that was a braided stream more or less.

So on the way down though, we saw 28 rabbits, three musk ox skulls all with their horns, two of which were attached to all the bones of the dead musk ox. Who knows how long they’ve been lying there. Yesterday we also saw five wolves, two of them howling to our dogs as we exited the height of land near our campsite, which is kind of a big open valley area. And then three more that ran past our camp only 40 yards from where we camped right when we pulled in at the end of the day yesterday. So that was quite exciting. Today we had a real simple day, very straightforward travel back on the sea ice, and we’re now headed northwest and then north up to Eureka.

OK, here are the fun facts about our trip.

Favorite lunch food: we have this instant soup that we add bacon and parmesan cheese and butter to, and then hot water from our Thermoses and that’s our favorite food to eat on break.

Favorite meal: Toby’s Cajun bacon super-grease stew, bacon being the main ingredient and the grease from that bacon.

Coldest temperature: -35 degrees Fahrenheit or -37 degrees Celsius.
Warmest temperature: +16 degrees Fahrenheit, which is -8 degrees Celsius.

Highest wind speed is 30 knots.

Our coolest animal encounter or wildlife encounter:
No. 1, we have two of these, No. 1 is we have three wolves running by our camp within 50 meters last night.
The second coolest was witnessing an Arctic fox kill a seal pup from a distance, but still that was pretty miraculous.

Number of cameras out here: we have 7.
Gigabytes of film shot so far: that is 300 gigabytes so far.

New Land

Number of blisters: 2.
Number of blisters that hurt: 0.

Our favorite kitchen item: we have these non-stick 3-liter MSR pots And of course, a wooden spoon; you’ve got stir stuff, otherwise it burns.

Average hours of sleep each night: 8.

Our favorite kind of clothing on the inside layer: we have our Devold Wool Expedition Zip Necks and Devold Wool Mesh Underwear.

Our favorite outerwear are definitely our Bergans of Norway Antarctic Expedition Pants.

The time John and Hugh have spent listening to iPods: 0 minutes.

Our dog nicknames:
• We have Little Larry.
• We have Paddy for Napu because of his green harness and his red fur.
• We have Queen Elle for her attitude.
• And we have Axel the Machine who seems to claw the earth past him as he pulls; he’s just a total beast of a strong dog.

At Night Toby says, “Time to listen to the Second World War,” right before falling asleep: that happens every night because he’s listening to the history of World War II on his iPod as a goodnight story. Typically he only lasts a few minutes before conking out.

Times a dog has peed on a camera: once. Good boy, Napu.

The best wildlife spotter on the team is Toby.

First person in his sleeping bag every night: Hugh “Lightening Man” Dale-Harris.

First person dressed out of the sleeping bag every morning is me John.

Favorite spice in the spice kit is cayenne pepper, which we’re running a little bit low on right now.

Our favorite expedition travel gear is our Asnes Waxless Amundsen Skis.

And that’s the last fact. So thanks everybody for listening to the facts of the expedition and following the blog. We’re having a great time out here. Over and out.

Daily Expedition Data
Date: 4/21/13, Day 22
Location:N79°07', W84°39'
Traveled: 7 hours, 14 miles
Temperatures: 4°F am, -8°F pm