Polar Training - Day 7
19 January 2018 | Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba
In traveling to remote locations, I've seen and heard my fair share of wildlife Still, it is one of those experiences that never gets old. Last night, after following wolf tracks as we skied for much of the afternoon, we heard a single wolf howl. Later in the night, a chorus of four other wolves joined in. It was incredible to be so close and I wondered if they might come into our camp for a closer look. In the morning, there were no new tracks.
Today was the last full day of this year's Level 1 Polar Training Course as well as the warmest. I know I keep talking about the weather and ice conditions, but we've had a pretty wild swing from severe cold warning to just barely below freezing. Today was the first day in as long as I can remember where I didn't ski with in my Zeal goggles and nose beak.
With temperatures so warm, we had a somewhat casual breaking of camp. It may be surprising for you to hear, but at 20 degrees Fahrenheit, 'hanging out' in our polar gear becomes fairly easy. Warmer temperatures make socializing easier as well and it's been fun to not have to suffer-fest through the simple act of packing up our MSR tents. Janice and Brad took it upon themselves to spell out POLAR on the Garmin GPS, a task that Brad, a physicist, and Janice a geographer, took upon themselves with great vigor. Dirk, their third tent made offered up his services to assist with some of the other tent takedowns. It was hard to pack up and go and we lingered in the snow for a little while longer savoring the camaraderie that adventure brings.
Everyone has their system's dialed and we started skiing at a brisk pace back south. I watched as everyone fall into line. We managed to make good time until the we hit a large pressure ridge that extended for nearly a mile. On our way North, we had skied over a low section effortlessly. Now, with the warmer temperatures, water had seeped up created a long section of open water on the opposite side. I checked a few more spots, but we would have to go around.
We managed to traverse the back side until the path narrowed enough where we took off skis and post holed through a few blocks and drifts. From there the snow conditions seemed to improve a bit as we hugged the bay versus cutting straight across.
We pushed hard and eventually made it back to the cabin where we set up on the ice for one last camp.
Image: The Polar Team