Polar Training - Day 6
18 January 2018 | Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba
With very little snow on the lake, we have been forced to stay close to shore snaking along meager amounts of drifted snow. Normally, we would be camped in the middle of the lake right now. Instead, we are nestled near the south end of Elk Island.
The upside to a 'low snow' year is that the views of the ice have been incredible. Today, we skied along large swaths of windswept ice marbled and cracked in hundreds of different ways. At some point the lake froze, then broke up and refroze again leaving whitish slabs layered underneath clear ice.
On the North end of Elk Island the wind had pushed large slabs of ice against shore and left a cracked and fractured mess - not too unlike the Arctic Ocean. For most of the morning we wound in between small pressure ridges and stacked 'plates' of ice. For Jaco and David who are going on a Last Degree North Pole expedition with me in April, it was just another training opportunity.
Before skiing, we spent about an hour practicing reviewing navigation techniques. There is a lot of information that I want to cover and I don't always get a chance to get through the whole course syllabus in he first few days.
Even though temperatures had warmed considerably since a couple days ago, the morning was overcast and kept things relatively cool. Not a problem for our group now, of course, as everyone is adept at 'the polar striptease' adding and subtracting layers as your body temperature increases/decreases.
At one break during the day, Brad pulled out a bunch fudgcicles that he had been pulling along in his sled. With big smiles, we sat on our sleds and ate ice cream on a frozen lake... with all of our polar gear on...
Yesterday, we had seen wolf tracks and today we saw them were again. This time a few of his or her friends joined in and we followed the packs' tracks for nearly a mile.
Finally, we found a nice patch of snow for camp and set up for the night.
We have one more night left on the ice and it's hard to think that this experience will soon be over. But for now, we'll finish melting snow and then a much-deserved sleep.
Image: polar selfie