Polar Explorer Eric Larsen
Day 6: Level 1 Polar Training
Eric Larsen
17 January 2020 | Lake of the Woods
The temperature dropped throughout the night bottoming out to a not-so-balmy -26 degrees Fahrenheit. Despite the cold, everyone was warm and comfortable in their sleeping bags.

We sleep in a two layer sleeping bag system that help insulate us and keep us dry (from frost build up). The inner bag is the -20 F Polar Ranger that I codesigned with Therm-a-Rest. The outer bag is a roomy 32 degree synthetic bag. By using two layers, the inner bag remains well lofted throughout the night and the outer bag helps protect against frost build up. Iâ??ve used this system down to -55 on the Arctic Ocean.

Probably the worst part of the day (for me) is waking up. Our sleeping bags are so cozy that I donâ??t really want to get out and face another cold day. Worse, the inside of the tent (in more humid Arctic environments) is covered with frost. So, each morning our first task is to brush the walls of the tents and clear all the frost off. It usually falls right on my face. Itâ??s uncomfortable to say the least.

While the temperature was bone-chilling, it was a calm and sunny day and we were able to ski quite comfortably throughout the day. At times like this however, I feel like Iâ??m on the moon or Mars. Weâ??re totally ensconced in our polar gear and no part of our bodies are exposed. There is nothing that sustains life here and we have to bring everything that we need to live and survive along with us.

We are also at the stage in the training where I get to â??let goâ?? a bit more. The group is adjusting to the ins and outs of this type of travel and fine tuning their layers and systems. The margins are very thin here so Iâ??m always a bit on edge - like an over protective mother hen. That said, the group is doing so well that I had everyone take a turn and navigate.

Our route is now circling back around to Warroad and we ended the day by quite literally skiing into the sunset.

Everyone remarked how warm it felt while setting up camp and when I checked the thermometer it read -6 F.

Image: Just another day on the ice
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