After 62 days on the ice we ended our journey in Eureka, Ellesmere Island on Friday. In Eureka we were welcomed by sponsors, Will Steger Foundation friends and Sam’s family. As much as it was sad to leave the High Arctic that has been our home for almost an entire winter it was great to see new faces and dear friends. We are now in New York where we will start to present our eyewitness accounts and share our experiences from the frontlines of global warming. In fact our most important and also the most challenging part of our mission starts now. We need to try as best we can to use our story in an attempt to empower our generation for the time’s most important issue. We are in New York until Wednesday when Sam, Sigrid, Will and I are bound for Norway where we will continue this work.
Traveling from Eureka to New York presented me with the biggest contrast I have experienced in my life. During the last three months we have experienced one of the last true wildernesses on the planet, however, the High Arctic is changing due to our use of energy in the great urban centers such as New York. At the same time the solutions to how we can save the High Arctic from the extremely serious consequences of climate change are found in our great cities. I know that all the talent, innovation and common human spirit that we share in Norway, the U.S., Britain and Canada, can help us find and develop functional solutions to the greatest challenge of our time. As much as it might seem overwhelming to be faced by the complex issues of global warming our generation also has been given a glorious opportunity to collectively do the right thing. We have here a magnificent chance to develop international cooperation and to make our mark on history with positive connotations.
My experience in the High Arctic has motivated my greatly to start this work and I am looking forward to sharing my witness account to as many people as possible over the upcoming months.
Looking back at our trip we moved through a few separated phases that all individually made an impact on me. From Resolute through Wellington Channel and across Norwegian Bay we traveled through enormous masses of rough ice and were constantly reminded that we were in polar bear country. We had in total six encounters with this magnificent animal and the tracks were countless. Four of these encounters were in camp and luckily the bears were more curious of us than aggressive.
Having crossed Norwegian Bay we reached the remains of the Ayles Ice Shelf after 28 days of hard travel. The Ayles rose dramatically out of the rubble sea ice and was a fantastic though sad sight. An 8m high ice cliff that stretched hundreds of meters in each direction welcomed us when we reached our destination. From Ayles we worked our way through the rubble ice of Sverdrup Channel and we then rounded the treacherous west coast of Axel Heiberg Island. From this point on, until our arrival at Eureka on Ellesmere Island we experienced the truly amazing wildlife and nature of what can only be described as an Arctic eden. It is essential that the muskox and wolves of this region of our world can continue to roam on Axel Heiberg and Ellesmere.
It has been great to write dispatches and I look forward to sharing my experiences further with as many of you as possible.
All my best,