New Land Expedition 2013: Dog and Ski

ski dogsWhen we set out on this trip, we knew the dogs would help, but we didn’t know how much. And the answer is in these ski conditions they help big time. And that’s the kind of the magic of skiing and use of sled dogs in combination. And it’s that combination that Otto Sverdrup and other Norwegian explorers who are his contemporaries discovered and played with and kind of created one of the modern modes of polar travel: the combination of Norwegian cross country ski technique and running Canadian Inuit dogs because the pace of each, it matches just perfectly. And we experience that every day out here.

We’re getting pulled. Each skier has a dog out front of him pulling, and the skier’s in the middle, and the sleds trail behind. So it’s those 3 items. And the dog does some work and the person does some work and often it’s in combination. So there’s kind of a synthesis going on, where we kind of have a magic travel, that is part of polar exploration history and part of our trip that is just super fun to experience and very, very efficient and very team oriented. The dogs are working, they love to work and so do we. So it’s that magic of dog and ski that is still alive today that is propelling our expedition northwards right now on Eureka Sound. The dogs have paid off just huge. They’re giving us huge travel distances and relatively short hours.

Tonight’s photo is of Napau. He’s one of our 4 sled dogs. He always skis with Toby as Toby has a special relationship with him. And you can see here in this photo, he is super-enthusiastic to get started. So it’s a good example how sled dogs just love to do what they do, which is pull and pull some more.

This evening we are camped right on shore near what we believe are Thule culture tent rings. It’s a little river right here, so it would have been a good place in the summer to camp out. And we think the Thule culture was anything from 400 years ago and back before the Middle Ice Age. It’s pretty cool to be camped where some other people camped a long time ago. Very good travel conditions. Our sleds are getting lighter, our dogs are getting stronger, and we’re having a really good time out here. Thanks for listening everybody.

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About the author:

During the late winter and early spring of 2007, John lived in Baffin Island, Canada, for 100 days. There he worked as expedition manager for the Global Warming 101 – Baffin Island Expedition. While documenting the local Inuit experience with climate change, the expedition connected school children in the States with their counterparts on Baffin Island.


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