Hugh and Axel

by John Huston

Yesterday morning we saw our first polar bear. Forty minutes into the first march, Toby spotted it about 400 yards to the north.

The landscape, almost all white, the bear appeared to be lightly cream-color. It ambled around for about 10 minutes on the horizon and never came closer than about 200 yards away. Once it caught our scents, it scurried off to the north. Our dogs never even noticed it. But it was fun to see; hopefully we get to see some more bears. We’d like to see them close up for photo and video, but we like to keep our distance for safety, so that’s our first priority.

The day before that, we took a rest day to give the dogs a break. Toby and Hugh went for a short ski and found an Arctic hare den. Three of the big white rabbits were just hanging out and Toby and Hugh sat there awhile and those hares came within a few feet of them, so that’s pretty cool. We’ll have a lot more contact like that down the road, we assume. This afternoon we saw some fairly fresh musk ox tracks as well, but no musk ox yet.

Temperatures are well above normal for this time of year, so our ski days have been very sweaty. We love the warmth, but all the sweat can make us cold very quickly once we stop skiing or if the wind picks up. For the past two days we’ve been traveling on sea ice. Tomorrow morning we head overland across the Bjorne Peninsula, which was originally mapped by Otto Sverdrup.

Everybody’s happy, healthy, and our routines keep getting better. Our travel pace has been awesome, so we’re excited about that. And our dogs continue to impress us more and more every day. So they’re getting into shape and they’re a huge benefit to have out here for propulsion and for morale and for camaraderie and that sort of thing. It’s really fun to have dogs along. OK, thanks for listening everybody. Talk to you next time.

Daily Expedition Data
Date: 4/6/13, Day 7
Location:N77'21", W86'51"
Traveled: 0 Hours, 0 Miles
Temperatures: -12°F am, -8°F pm