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New Land Expedition: Fun facts

  • Apr 22, 2013
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The New Land 2013 expedition is following the route of Norwegian explorer Otto Sverdrup across Ellesmere Island, Nunavut. This blog was written by John Huston.

A few days ago we passed the quarter pole of this expedition. And, in honor of that occasion, we have a bunch of fun facts about our trip and our life on the ice that we want to share with you.

First, though, I’ll give a quick recap of our totally amazing day yesterday coming down from the height of lands between Trold Fjord and Bay Fjord, Nunavut. On the way, we went through this cool rock-carved canyon with about 40-feet (12.2-metre) walls. In many places, it was only 10 to 15 feet (three to 4.6 metres) wide. And then it widened out until we got into a kind of a riverbed that was a braided stream more or less.

On the way down, we saw 28 rabbits, three musk ox skulls — all with their horns, two of which were attached to all the bones of the dead musk ox. Who knows how long they’d been lying there. Yesterday, we also saw five wolves, two of them howling to our dogs as we exited the height of land near our campsite, which is kind of a big open valley area. And then three more ran past our camp only 40 yards (36.6 metres) from where we camped right when we pulled in at the end of the day yesterday. So that was quite exciting. Today we had a real simple day: very straightforward travel back on the sea ice, and we’re now headed northwest and then north up to Eureka.

Okay, here are the fun facts about our trip:

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The team caught sight of these wolves running through the camp (Photo courtesy of New Land 2013).

Favourite lunch food: We have this instant soup that we add bacon, parmesan cheese and butter to, and then we add hot water from our Thermoses.

Favourite meal: Toby’s Cajun bacon super-grease stew, bacon being the main ingredient and the grease from that bacon.

Coldest temperature: -35 degrees Fahrenheit or -37 C

Warmest temperature: +16 degrees Fahrenheit, which is -8 C

Highest wind speed: 30 knots

Our coolest animal encounter or wildlife encounter:
1. We had three wolves running by our camp within 50 meters last night.
2. The second coolest was witnessing an Arctic fox kill a seal pup from a distance, but still that was pretty miraculous.

Number of cameras out here: seven

Gigabytes of film shot so far: 300 gigabytes so far

Number of blisters: 2

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The New Land 2013 team is all smiles (Photo courtesy of New Land 2013).

Our favourite kitchen item: Our non-stick 3-litre MSR pots, and of course, a wooden spoon — you’ve got to stir stuff, otherwise it burns

Average hours of sleep each night: 8

Favourite kind of clothing on the inside layer: our Devold Wool Expedition Zip Necks and Devold Wool Mesh Underwear

Favourite outerwear: our Bergans of Norway Antarctic Expedition Pants

The time John and Hugh have spent listening to iPods: 0 minutes

Our dog’s nicknames:

  • Little Larry
  • We call Napu “Paddy,” because of his green harness and his red fur
  • We have Queen Elle for her attitude
  • And we have “Axel the Machine” who seems to claw the earth past him as he pulls; he’s just a total beast of a strong dog

Times a dog has peed on a camera: Once. Good boy, Napu.

The best wildlife spotter: Toby

First person in his sleeping bag every night: Hugh “Lightening Man” Dale-Harris

First person dressed out of the sleeping bag every morning: me, John

Favourite spice in the spice kit: cayenne pepper, which we’re running a little bit low on right now

Favourite expedition travel gear: our Asnes Waxless Amundsen skis

This blog was originally published on forwardendeavors.com. Read more blog posts from New Land 2013.

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