by John Huston
For today’s blog I’m going to interview Hugh Dale-Harris, our Canadian teammate and a really great guy.
John (J): Here we go. Are you ready, Hugh?
Hugh (H): I’m ready.
J: First question, how does this trip compare to your expedition to the North Pole and your other expedition across Arctic Canada?
H: Ah, this expedition is different in that we’re traveling straight north through most of Ellesmere Island. The biggest difference probably is that we’re traveling by skijoring so each of us has one dog. The previous two expeditions we traveled by dog team. And also actually what’s similar between the two of them as well is that we’re traveling in springtime which is the time to travel in the Arctic.
J: What do you miss most about home?
H: I miss my family the most for sure. Lilly, ChiChi, Lizzy, and Amy, I miss you guys so much. Can’t wait to see you in June. Love you so much.
J: What is your favorite thing to eat when we take breaks?
H: Favorite thing to eat when we take breaks has got to be the soup; it’s an instant soup. We have some bacon parmesan, a whole box of sections of butter, and it’s awesome. I love it.
J: What happened yesterday afternoon?
H: Yesterday afternoon while I was enjoying my previously mentioned soup, we saw a pack of 8 wolves coming up to check us out, probably a couple of hundred meters off. Toby spotted them. They looked like ice chunks, it’s amazing. They just kind of appeared out of nowhere, howled and the dogs responded. And then they sniffed around a little bit and stayed their distance and then they basically vanished into the Arctic again. They’re amazingly camouflaged.
J: What happened last night shortly after we went to bed?
H: Shortly after we went to bed, we were awakened by the dogs’ barking and growling, which is not uncommon because they can kind of play with each other or argue over some leftover food. But we looked out and they were looking in one direction. And the wolves had come within about 50 to 100 meters of our camp to check us out while we were sleeping.
J: We were safe. Nothing happened.
J: What is your favorite time of day out here?
H: Favorite time of day is muscle-milk time. So as soon as we get in the tent at the end of the day, peel off our layers, take off our boots, and enjoy a hot drink, and for me and a few others of us, it’s muscle milk, which is like a sweet warm beverage; it’s kind of like a hot chocolate.
J: Hugh likes to drink hot drinks and he’s really good at doing that.
J: Hugh, what is your favorite hot drink on this trip?
H: The previously mentioned muscle milk is a favorite, but also my coffee first thing in the morning, instant coffee, is great. It’s one of those Starbuck’s instant coffees and it’s actually pretty good. I love it.
J: OK, in the tent, who do you sleep next to when you sleep?
H: When I sleep in the tent, I sleep in the middle and on my left is Toby and we sleep head-to-foot kind of thing. And then on my right is John, and we sleep head-to-head so when I roll over I can gaze into his eyes.
J: That’s not true.
J: Quickly describe the sleeping bag and how you’re using it these days.
H: Right now what I’ve done is opened up the sleeping bag. It’s actually quite warm because we have 24-hour sun right now, so over night the tent actually gets pretty warm. So I open up my sleeping bag and just use it basically as a duvet. And I wear like just a light jacket to keep me warm, so it’s comfortable.
J: Thanks for doing the interview, Hugh. You did a really good job. He does a lot of good jobs and other things out here, too. All right, more interviews and more fun blogs coming up. Stay tuned.
Daily Expedition Data
Date: 4/25/13, Day 26
Location: N79°49', W86°28'
Traveled: 7 hours, 13.5 miles
Temperature: -7°F am