Polar Explorer Eric Larsen
Day 14. Brain freeze
clear, windy, -35 degrees F
28 March 2014
I always forget there are two sides to my polar adage: where there's good ice, bad ice will surely follow. You see (of course you do because its not that complicated) it works both ways.

Last night we were camped along one of, actually scratch that THE biggest section of pressured ice I've ever seen: huge blue blocks heaved and fractured together. There was absolutely no way through. But...

There was a way around. We headed west until we found a low notch and managed to wiggle our sleds through with only a few big heaves.

'Better than a stick in the eye,' I told Ryan afterwards.

For some reason, I've been using that phrase a lot lately... along with, 'it could be worse.' After all, it could be worse. I'm not exactly sure how, but it could be.

Actually, I've learned to moderate my optimism as well as my pessimism. Normally, I'm a glass is more than half full, but here I work diligently to meter my expectations. As physically difficult as this expedition is, mentally its even more challenging. The emotional roller coaster of polar travel - I'm sure psychoanalysists out there are just licking there chops hearing about it.

Don't worry about digging deeper though, my head is filled with snow... and ice.

The terrain flattened out considerably and we were able to sight on ice several hundred meters away at a stretch. The snow is still drifted and soft enough so we are doing double hauls. Ugh.

The snowshoe back for our second sled was both agonizing and breathtaking. A cold wing stung our faces in the millimeter or two of exposed skin. As much as I just tried to nestle my face deeper in my parka ruff, I could help steal glances at the blowing snow backlit by the low sun. In the distance further south, the mountains of Ellesmere Island stretched surprisingly far to the east and west.

Right before our soup break, we crossed a lone set of polar bear tracks, made only a few hours prior judging from the amount of drifting, heading to the south west, and luckily for us, upwind.

Distance traveled: 4.82 nautical miles

Image: Eric doing the YONDER stance on the western edge of the biggest pressure ridge in the world!
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