John at 3:00 AM

by John Huston

The past few days have felt timeless in many ways. We now travel from 9:00 p.m. ‘till about 4:00 a.m. every day. The transition to night travel has been seamless thankfully and lacking in the typical jet lag, so we’re happy about that.

Nighttime travel means that we have the sun at our backs as we ski south. Since the sun is low in the northern sky, it casts a gentle off light that is just so special to experience. It’s kind of hard to describe, it’s sort of like the light that you see before the sun starts to set. It just lights up mountain peaks and the ice in a really, really nice way. Night travel also plays with our minds, so we lose sense of our typical chronological reference points. Sometimes we lose track of where we are on the clock and the calendar and feel kind of lost, not in a bad way, but it’s just a funny feeling.

The land up here, it feels like a place that time has forgotten in some ways. People rarely travel in a lot of these parts and it is largely an animal world, and in the past 48 hours we’ve been experiencing that. We’ve seen 3 wolves very close to camp, a huge herd of musk ox that included 31 animals, including 8 calves. So that was super cool, we saw that today. And we’ve also seen at least 41 Arctic hares in the past 48 hours, including one huge group of 23. We have seen wolves so many times that sightings seem almost commonplace and the fact that they look like really big dogs also adds to that effect.

Big bunnies

Temperatures are pushing up closer to freezing point, but so far snow has held out and the skiing is very good. Today we skied through a whiteout of fog all day, and that can be numbing to the mind, but can also be enjoyable if you’re patient and in a good mood as we were today. And so now it’s about 7:15 in the morning, we’re having our dinner shortly, and then we’ll go right to sleep. Our goal these days is to keep the tent as cool as possible when the sun is high in the sky which is when we’re sleeping. OK, thanks for listening everybody, more to come soon.

Daily Expedition Data
Date: 5/23/13, Day 54
Location: 80°24'N, 88°51'W
Traveled: 7 hours, 10.8 miles
Temperatures: 30°F am, N/A pm