Trail Dispatch – Mushing with Ed Viesturs



mushingwithed_02.jpg Coordinates: 69.59.226 N, 70.02.305 W
Distance Traveled: 25 mi / 40 km
Temperature: -4 °F / -20 °C
Wind: 0-5 MPH / 0-8 KPH
Cloud Cover: Clear skies with passing clouds
Sunrise: 3:35 a.m.
Sunset: 9:45 p.m.

We are among mountains again… and mountaineers. Ed Viesturs is getting a crash course in mushing and I’m lucky enough to be crashing along with him. After 12 days in the village, our dogs, plus two more, are raring to go. Stopping and starting are often eventful affairs, especially over sea ice with minimal snow. The snow hook pops out of its hold, the dogs take off before your ready, and your hot cocoa goes flying through the air.

Just for the record, Ed is a champ. He takes it all in stride, with the competence and confidence of someone who has climbed Mt. Everest (six times!). We covered some ground today, in miles and in conversation. When I asked him how he came to this expedition, he told me it was a toss-up between a seventh trip to Everest or an expedition with Will Steger. His interest in the Arctic and polar exploration began as a kid when he read about Amundson, Scott and Skackleton. He had followed Will’s expeditions for years and was excited to travel with him to Baffin.

mushingwithed_03.jpgI had to grill him about climbing Everest, of course, and how he got to where he is today. Leaving veterinary medicine wasn’t easy, he said, after 7 years of school. It took courage to go after a life much less secure and predictable. But he’s never regretted it and has found a way to make a living doing what he loves. As am I, I thought, looking around at the spectacular scenery that surrounded us all day.  Clyde Fiord continues to get more and more beautiful by the mile. We passed mountains and glaciers, huge cliff faces and scree slopes. The sun was warm, almost too warm for our dogs, who were thirsty for snow and ate it when they could get it. We stopped in a large swath of shade to give them a break. Tomorrow we will enjoy the last of the flat, fast trail, as we get ready for a climb upwards towards the Barnes Ice Cap.
Good to be back on trail. Good to be in this beautiful place.
Abby

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