Location: Cambridge Bay
Hello to you all!
I’m writing this final blog from a beautiful, crisp sunny morning here in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut.
As I sit here in the comfort of a friend’s home , a marked contrast to a few days ago when I was struggling in a 70 km/ hr wind and minus 45 windchill to put up my little Hilleberg tent, I marvel at how local residents and ancestors have adapted to the extreme environment of the Arctic.. How communities such as Cambridge Bay live continuously on the edge of survival and thriving in such a fragile environment.
Extreme winters with darkness, cold and prevailing NWesterlies a constant challenge makes it very difficult for many to spend a lot of time outdoors in wintertime.
Some people still try to get out as much as possible but for most , winters involve spending most of winter indoors.
This is bound to have an impact on people’s physical and mental health.
There appears to be a higher than average percentage of more extreme, complex medical problems among this resilient community… no doubt the harsh environmental conditions play a part.
It is a big disappointment to have to finish this expedition prematurely.
After a year of planning it was over in 5 days.
It was by far the shortest expedition I have ever done.
In the bigger picture , it was the right decision and I am very appreciative that I was able to make it back self supported without having to involve search and rescue and potentially put other people’s lives at risk.
I could have gone on further but risked turning the expedition into a disaster.
At the pace I was traveling, there was a good chance I would not have made it in time.
I was traveling at about half the pace as last year in Siberia and was pulling about 25 lbs more this year.
In my opinion , with the availability today of sat phone communication , there is the increased potential for people pushing the limits in more remote ,extreme environments to rely on rescue services being readily available if needed
This is very inappropriate and risks the lives of the rescue team as well as costs to the system.
My back pain will recover with time… the memories of being up here in this magical environment will persist.
The hospitality and friendship of the local people I will always cherish.
Many thanks to you all…. Brent and Ian in particular.
As Shackleton remarked to his wife after returning from Antarctica
“ better a live donkey than a dead lion”.
Many thanks to you all for following !!
Let’s see what tomorrow brings.
Hobnails, Scellig, Tommy the tent, Sally the stove, Freddy the food, Foxy the fuel, the Siku twins