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People & Culture

New Land Expedition: Over timeless lands

  • May 26, 2013
  • 449 words
  • 2 minutes
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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.

The past few days have felt timeless in many ways. We now travel from 9 p.m. until about 4 a.m. every day. The transition to nighttime travel has been seamless, thankfully, and we haven’t felt the typical jet lag, so we’re happy about that.

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Explorer Toby Thorleifsson during the 56th day of the trek.

Nighttime travel means that we have the sun at our backs as we ski south. Since the sun is low in the northern sky, it casts a gentle light that is just so special to experience. It’s hard to describe; it’s sort of like the light that you see before the sun starts to set. It just lights up mountain peaks and the ice in a really, really nice way.

Night travel also plays with our minds, so we lose sense of our typical chronological reference points. Sometimes we lose track of where we are on the clock and the calendar and feel kind of lost, not in a bad way, but it’s a funny feeling.

The land up here feels like a place that time has forgotten in some ways. People rarely travel to a lot of these parts. It is largely an animal world, and in the past 48 hours we’ve been experiencing that. We’ve seen three wolves very close to camp, a huge herd of musk ox that included 31 animals, including eight calves. We’ve also seen at least 41 Arctic hares in the past 48 hours, including one huge group of 23. We have seen wolves so many times that sightings seem almost commonplace. The fact that the wolves look like really big dogs also adds to that effect.

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In the span of 48 hours, the team spotted more than 40 Arctic hares.

Temperatures are pushing up closer to freezing point, but so far snow has held out and the skiing is very good. Today we skied through a whiteout of fog all day, and that can be numbing to the mind, but can also be enjoyable if you’re patient and in a good mood, as we were today.

Now it’s about 7:15 a.m. We’re having our dinner shortly, and then we’ll go right to sleep. Our goal these days is to keep the tent as cool as possible when the sun is high in the sky, which is when we’re sleeping. Okay, more to come soon.

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


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