Famed anthropologist and adventurer, Knud Rasmussen once said, “You need to experience the seal meat to enjoy the orange.” His meaning, of course, was that arduous experiences cause you to better appreciate those moments of sublimity. With this in mind, let me say that we have been eating one hell of a lot of seal meat. To recount, harrowing landing at Ft. Conger; back-breaking sled haul across Lady Franklin bay; three days together in a tent riding out hurricane class winds; and yesterday.
We arose early and, noticing the drop in the wind, got on the water and began to paddle under grey cloudy skies and frigid conditions. They grew worse as the day progressed with gallons of sea water slipping into our spray skirts. At 6pm, we found a break in the ice foot and we were able to find an inhospitable place to stop – it was an ice bench covered in meltwater and debris from the hillside. No place to camp nor freshwater. But we were stuck. Bryce whipped up grilled cheese sandwiches and Dianna made soup, and then we huddled together on a tarp in our bags and hoped for conditions to improve. I’m not sure if I have ever been so tired and exhausted as at that moment. Five hours later, the wind abated and the tide grew favorable and we resumed paddling. After an additional three hours on the water, we located a nice place to camp, shared a 4am dinner and fell asleep exhausted. It’s on days like this that I invoke the spirit of Knud and say, “Please, man, send us an orange!”
Each time my suit has kept me completely dry. THANK YOU!!!!
p.s. A personal shout out to our friends at Kokatat. I’ve fallen neck deep into Arctic waters on four occasions so far (I like to keep track of these things).