Day 6 On the Ice

Day 6 on the ice

We woke up again to the usual ugly weather, blowing snow and crazy wind – nasty nasty nasty.
But first a word about last night – I think in all the weather, the drift, the arctic ‘treadmill’ as it is called made life a bit miserable – so we had a treat. Keith had reconstituted dried apples, I caramelized them, et voila – quesidillas became crepes a la Ross (no a la mode – though we could have reached outside the tent and added plenty of snow). Then came the Baileys (Dale) and Laphroig (Keith) – all in all we went to bed feeling pretty satisfied.

Back to today – we started out
9 nautical miles but only made 6
89.16!!!!!!!! East 138

The other group that went out at the same time as us is somewhere near us but we can’t see them – apparently 2 of their team left the ice by chopper yesterday – we don’t have details but hope they are well.

It was a major day of rubble – basically as you know we are on the arctic ocean – huge pans of ice that are floating – kind of like a jigsaw puzzle with space between the pieces. So these pans float along till they meet another pan and then crash, boom, they make rubble – i.e. they push up on each other and make giant sized ice cubes – some shoebox sized, some volkswagen sized – and we have to go through them……so skiis on skiis off – all morning long. In fact we did about 4 miles of work to make about 2 miles of distance in about 3 hours……

Also lots of open water – which leads me to the next challenge – apparently my horoscope today says something along the lines of relax by the water – well I had other plans – I didn’t quite swim – but I came close – there was a small tilted pan of ice, some slush and unfortunately I caught a tip and down I went – left leg in up to thigh – Dale was behind me and was about to rescue me (what else is new?!) when I told him to stop as I wasn’t sure if the pan would hold me, my sled and Dale as well. I tried to find purchase and put my left arm in to above the elbow. Slowly I was able to extricate myself – and all I could think of was thank God we did the dip in Ely or I would probably have panicked instead of just taking my time. Got the full slushy – lots of water in my boot – Keith (Captain Keith) said keep going – we had to get off the pan. about 5 minutes later we stopped and the team went to work. Keith found my spare liner and sock, Dirk took my boot and sock off, Michel gave me warm drink – they rubbed my foot to life, redressed the sock and spare liner and away we went – best way to stay warm is to keep moving! Now we are in the tent and I am just fine!!

Michel provided the biggest moment of humor today – there was about an 8 foot drop off into powder and he decided to do a ski jump launch – but face planted instead – I thought Keith was going to wet himself he was laughing so hard.

Finally a bit of magic about 1 hour from camp – the sun came out – we could finally see the landscape – gorgeous, somehow like the moon, shadow, sunlight low on the horizon – everyone much happier for it.

Dale has coined the best expression so far of the trip – day in day out like taking a hammer to your head, get up the next day and HIT yourself again!

Whose idea was this trip anyway?

Perhaps tomorrow could be dull????

The sun coming out

Navigating the jugsaw puzzle

Doing the rubble dance

Which way should we go?

13 Replies to “Day 6 On the Ice”

  1. what a team! you guys are doing amazing. hope the drift stops soon, so you can get to the north pole faster. and try to keep dry 🙂
    The Halls

    P.S. The imagination needs to be more vivid when you are by the water – lawn chair drinking pina coladas

  2. i take it the swimming is not all that great up there??FYI was the day Phil (almost 85) skied Hawkeye Lake in the morn and swam in the afternoon (not long)..wind not howling however!!i like the hammer analogy..keep the Baileys flowing..may your drift take u closer to destination for a change!! love fitz

  3. Dear Dale and Team – we have been following your journey on a daily basis, with great interest; much impressed by the audio posts! Don't sweat the destination, you have already accomplished so much with your team in what is starting to look like a game of Snakes and Ladders! Wishing you drifts to the North. Keep your spirits high and your feet dry!
    Much love, John and Anne

  4. Amazing pictures. I can not imagine swimming under those circumstances would be any fun but nonetheless it adds drama. 🙂 Hope your spirits continue to be high and may the drifts change to the North. Be Safe.
    With you in Spirit.

  5. Great stories. Keep the adventure details coming. From here…Fani got a heart. Off the vent 10h post. Doing well. Thought you would like to know. ea

  6. Dear Heather and team,
    We are following your progress with interest & amazement. At first we couldn't figure out why you had to spend 90 min getting back to where you were 'til we realized you were on moving ice. We liked the wedgie story but the slushie story had us a little worried. Erin wants to know if you've seen any wildlife – especially birds or hares. May the winds be at your backs.
    Love Martina, John and Erin

  7. How beautiful it looks up there! You guys are doing so great… I heard something today that made me think of all of you and how much inspiration you are giving all of us at home: “If you believe, you can move mountains with dreams…” So here's to keeping on believing you can do it – hell, you got this far! But keep safe – and no more swimming! 🙂

  8. your question at the end of the blog – who got the idea of this trip. I think her name begins with an H. We could have a contest and see if anyone can guess. Be safe – M&D

  9. Michel,
    j'ai Ă©tĂ© très heureuse d'entendre ta voix, mais aussi dĂ©solĂ©e de constater que les conditions sont aussi difficiles. Manifestement le pire est passĂ©, mais votre trip me parait bien dangereux!!! Rien de surprenant, mais il est tout de mĂŞme troublant d'imaginer/voir ces blocs de glaces flotter ainsi avec vous tous au dessus… très costaud radeaux en quelque sorte… !!
    Dis mois suis curieuse … Savez vous quelle est l'Ă©paisseur de la glace qui vous porte?

    Bravo pour votre progression et pour votre courage Ă  tous!!! Merci +++ piur les magnifiques photos!

  10. j'ai oubliĂ© de vous envoyer plein de soleil qui ici illumine de tous ses feux et nous caresse de ses rayons chaleureux bien que printaniers. Le temps est bel et bien aux plantations et aux tondeuses…
    J'espère que cela vous rĂ©chauffera le coeur…A très bientĂ´t

  11. Hi All
    Heather your little slip sure got everyone's attention. You are a brave soul.Glad everyone is so able to rally and keep skiing. Quite incredible. All eyes and thoughts and prayers on you all. Don't know Fani, but wonderful news about the heart.

  12. Dr. Ross!! I am so glad to read you're okay! I remember you telling my class the story about how Mr. Shippam saved your life on your last trip – it's amazing how everything comes full circle!

    The adventures sound amazing, and it's really inspiring to see how much you're doing for your patients through this mission.

    Wishing you all the best! I hope the weather improves and you all can enjoy the beauty of the North Pole soon!


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